Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 184.108.40.206
Looking at these blogs more closely, I see that a staggering number of them are using various pay per post programs, where the payment for the link they place in their posts is based, to some extent, on the blog's pagerank.
Two things stand out about this. One, as I've mentioned, there seems to be a crap load of blogs doing this. Two, a lot of the businesses buying these links are otherwise legit, i.e. they're not MAF sites, but law firms and furniture companies and jewelers, etc.
I don't have a problem with bloggers making money, but this seems to have a lot of potential for affecting the serps, and negatively affecting anyone who tries to gain links the non-paid way. For example, I saw that one of my own competitors had purchased a "sponsored post" review of his site, clearly for no other reason than to pick up links.
It would seem stupid to me if Google wasn't working on rooting this stuff out. But how do you do that when so many blogs, perhaps thousands, are doing this stuff?
The point of the whole DO FOLLOW movement is to bypass the fact that most blog software these days automatically installs the NO FOLLOW attribute to the links of people who leave comments on the blog––in theory reducing the incentive for people to leave comment spam, but also reducing the incentive for people to leave real comments (not that I actually buy that argument.)
I don't know of any blogging system that puts NO FOLLOW in a blogger's actual posts, so paid reviews are already getting full benefits from Page Rank, whether the blogger is part of the DO FOLLOW movement or not.
I hope that makes sense.
I agree with Quadrille that this shouldnt' be hard to spot. For instance, I visited one such blog and found a sponsored review of either the police concert tour or cd (can't recall which). Then I visited a blog that was on this blog's blogroll. Lo and behold, this blogger had also done a sponsored review for the same advertiser. About a day later, I came across another do follow blogger who had done a sponsored blog for this advertiser. Shouldn't be too hard to uncover this kind of web if you're putting any real effort into uprooting it.
Yeah, I have nothing but bad feelings about paid reviews in general, though I do believe that the problems it creates for Google are strictly Google's responsibility–– I guess what I mean is that it's no one's job to build their webpages to the specs of Google.
That said, I hate what the whole idea of "Paid Reviews" represents... I'm probably biased, because my main website offers real reviews, and I spend hours every week testing out products and writing these reviews, and I'm not beholden to anybody to write something positive.
I guess to me it seems like this whole process is going to reduce the trustworthiness of online reviews, and that's not something I look forward to.