The LinkLess Internet:
no one links honestly any more.
- all links are suspect.
- links are currency
- page rank is specifically worth money.
- no one links freely
- those that do link freely are considered naive.
- articles that once contained great links - no longer link to story targets.
I don't think google did it by design, but consider if:
- you click a link from a Google SERP
- visit a page that has no interesting off site links
- you turn around and go back to Google.
Google used to say they were about recording the 'random walk' around the web (as stated in the Page Rank Patent). However, as the link has died, the ramdon link walk has died with it. No wonder they had to devalue page rank as an algo input - the internet simply isn't built that way anymore.