Occassionaly I get requests for paid text links. I only have a very few as I am picky about links. Some have stated their offer upfront. Others say they pay competitive compensation but want me to state a price first.
I don't know what competitive compensation would be in $ or terms nor have I been able to figure out how to research it.
Any information or guidelines would be most helpful.
It all depends on the metrics of your site, the metrics of the page you're linking from and the topic of your site.
If I were in your shoes I'd probably come up with a rate card based on previous offers and on what you'd want to receive. For example -
Link with URL anchor text on a "links" page - $5 per month. Link with optimised anchor text on a "links" page - $10 per month. Link with URL anchor text on homepage - $50 per month Link with optimised anchor text on homepage - $100 per month
Don't be afraid to ask for more money than you expect to get.
It depends on the amount of traffic you can deliver, on the profit margins of your niche, and how many solid backlinks your site has.
Traffic A site with a large amount of traffic means it is a healthy site. This increases the value of the link. A site with minimal traffic will show up on QuantCast.com and Google Trends for Websites. Those sites do not show exact traffic levels, but they will give a hint as to whether a site is healthy or not.
Profit Margins This refers to what the conversion rate is worth to the advertiser. If you are in a low margin business then there isn't much budget. Review affiliate payout rates on Commission Junction to get an idea how much money is being made in your niche.
Your Backlinks In addition to traffic, this metric should be in place. It's not enough to have one or two PR 6 backlinks powering your PR 4 or 5 on the toolbar. A quality website that can demand more for their advertising will have a large amount of backlinks from relevant sites that feature good content. No-follow links from blog comments don't count.
It's not enough that a site publisher got themself an interview on the local morning show. It's not enough that the site owner has a masters degree in Communications or Marketing. The price of advertising does not depend on the quality of the content or how much effort you put into the site. All those factors matter only in that they are part of what goes into building up the relevant metrics, which are traffic and backlinks.