goodroi - 1:54 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
Be careful blindly following your competition. Some sites rank despite having bad paid links.
I had a client spending thousands of dollars each month on paid links. The client refused to believe me that most of their paid links were worthless. So we slowly cancelled them one by one and their rankings never dropped. I didn't kill all paid links, just the ones that my analysis found to be not worthy. I also have first hand experience with good paid links boosting rankings.
You just need to be careful and know the difference between good and bad. If you can't tell the difference then don't go into the forest and eat just any mushroom you happen to find - because you are likely to have a bad day.