Planet13 - 7:34 pm on Jul 30, 2013 (gmt 0)
The challenge for Google and other search engines is in how to distinguish "press releases" from "SEO spam disguised as press releases."
Call me cynical, but I think they gave up on that challenge; hence, the disavow tool.
I don't get from John Mueller's tone of voice that google was particularly worried about recognizing which companies paid for JUST the distribution and which companies paid for rank manipulation.
It seems like they are really only interested in having "freely given" links count towards page rank (as in, there is NO arrangement between the two sites; Zero; None; Nada; Niemals).
It seems like over the last month or so, the attitude of Mr. Cutts and Mr. Mueller has changed from "most web sites won't need to use the disavow tool" to something more like, "If you are in doubt, then disavow."
(Maybe they are just tired of talking about it and that is being reflected in their "tone" and body language?)