Shaddows - 2:28 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)
Of course the obvious point here is that google is attacking a competing revenue model
The paper is not competing with Google. It is using a Google-provided badge (PageRank) to engage in behaviour Google specifically prohibits. I'm surprised Google didn't grey-bar them.
A paid link doesn't necessarily mean it's a "spammy link" an argument could be made that paid links offer better insight into the content of the linked document, it could very well be a quality signal
They're not saying its spammy, and they're not penalising. They are changing a fictional number to supress link selling- a practice which they have been vocally against in order to protect one of their key innovations.
Incidentally, they are spreading FUD. Don't assist them by misunderstanding precisely what MC said.
They changed a fictional number, then shouted about it to supress the paid link market. FUD.
See also: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt - Why Google Penalises Paid Links [webmasterworld.com]