I don't see where he said that Google ignores paid links. He did say that the site selling links is penalized by a PR reduction. He did say that the site's links would no longer pass PR. Beyond that? He did not say anything about the sites purchasing links. But he *did not* say that Google ignores paid links.
I meant that Google ignore the link in terms of NOT negatively penalising the linked-to site because it's deemed a "paid link". Have you not noticed everything that's happened in the last 12 months with webmasters trying to remove links?
If Google are ignoring these types of links in this way, then this IS a new policy. Since at least March 2012, they would penalise the linked-to site with an unnatural links penalty. OK not in every single instance, but in many cases they would, and if Matt Cutts is now saying there is no harm to the linked-to site, then that's something new. There is plenty of evidence over the last 12 months to show how links can harm your site. Now it seems they don't (at least for paid links). If paid links aren't triggering some kind of penalty/NEGATIVE value to the linked-to sites, I wonder how other types of links are affected? Are we going back to pre-March 2012 days?
[edited by: ColourOfSpring at 7:27 pm (utc) on Apr 3, 2013]