WebPixie - 6:31 pm on Feb 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
Step back and look at the overall situation. G makes a sick amount of money from Adwords. G dominates the search market and many if not most websites succeed or fail based off of G search position. Buying links directly, site to site, bypasses Adwords, Adsense and G search.
Why wouldn't they penalize both the buyer and the seller whenever they thought they could get away with it?
In the past people swapped links on link pages to generate traffic, now that's "bad" says G. People monetized by selling links and the buyer got traffic by buying a link, now that's "bad" says G. See a pattern?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying G is the big evil force dooming the future. They are just a company doing what companies do which is trying to make the most money they can. They benefit greatly from a climate of fear when it comes to sites creating direct solutions to monetization and traffic which bypass G's products which sell the same things. Using the threat of search result penalties to force more people into using their products is a solid business model.