Google’s been lashing out at people selling links recently. In my view they’re acting like a stroppy child. Google are the one’s that changed the rules to make reciprocal linking worth less, and so the next natural progression is for people to start selling one-way-links to people who are willing to pay for them. Now they want you to put nofollow attributes on any links that you sell from your site or you’ll get penalised.
But what’s so wrong about selling links, and didn’t Google already have enough in their algorithm to stop abuse of it with out having to put up a “Grass your competitors” form up.
Presumably if people are willing to pay for a link from a site then it’s going to be a pretty high quality site. In all likelyhood that site is also going to be in a field that is related to the subject of their own site or the link would be less useful. The site owner who’s selling the link is also going to want to keep his outgoing links going to related quality sites so he doesn’t suffer a “bad neighbourhood linking” penalty. If he starts linking to adult and gambling sites then he can expect to get hammered for it anyway under existing algorithms. So he’s not going to start selling links to crappy sites. If he does then he’ll be penalised anyway.
So why are Google adding this extra layer of complexity? It’s like the government wasting time and money making up new laws for political gains when breach of the peace would have worked to nail the offender anyway. Google made up the algorithm and it works fine without penalising people for making a few quid from selling links.