JoeSinkwitz - 12:05 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)
Blogroll and footer area links have been more of a playground for paid links than any other areas on the the geographic section of website templates; discounting links from these areas, especially those that shift like the days of #*$! COOP, has been a stated interest of Google. I do not recall which interview and which VP of G stated it, but it was rehashed again fairly recently if anyone cares to dig for it and post a link.
Anyhow, I'm not going to disagree that applying fuzzy logic for weighting on the importance of links from certain sections (especially as the overall % makeup of one's backlinks) makes sene from a search engineer's pespective. What I do disagree with is this had the side effect of allowing off-topic and off-language in-text links count for a lot more than they should, in proportion due to weighted discounting of the above mentioned links.
The reason why this might not matter much right now is because the SERPs where I see this occurring the most are still mostly relevant because some large brands I follow are making use of the links from websites written in Russian, about watches, linking to a website like widgets, within the body of text. The casual user sees said brand, thinks it is relevant, and clicks the listing.
This is far from the only change, but is one that is becoming more apparent. Once it gets abused in a mass scale, G will recognize and adapt.