Whitey - 12:47 am on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)
Interesting to note that MC said action will be taken against both the link seller and buyer. How that policy stance has changed over recent years, when it was stated that nothing someone else could do would affect your site.
Specific citing of the UK's Interflora advertorials [webmasterworld.com...] ; and the mentioning that sites paying for those advertorials could expect to have action against them. I take it not to be limited to news services, although special mention was made of that.
MC emphasised e-commerce terms appearing in the anchor text, as if to say, this is an easy method to further detect paid linking. I guess relevance, grammar and semantic mismatching are the other easy ways to detect offending material.
From Google's perspective it is fair to say that they want to improve the quality of "news" provided via their services, by removing ugly link text. But it's not consistent with how they monetize their own assets like YouTube .
The other thing is that rather than penalise sites, why not just ignore the links. Google has a clear idea of what are SPAM links now, or is there some other reason why Google feels the need to maintain these types of communications?
So for those depending on publishing for a living, no follow advertising services looks like the only way forward. And that's a big headache for many publishers to tidy up and a big consideration on how many of those sites, and some services, like articles and press release services will survive monetarily.
Since it's sometimes hard to identify an exchange of money or "benefit" a lot of false positives will likely come out of this. But I don't think Google cares, as it's looking at the bigger picture.