Interestingly enough, the last time I checked, Google’s own AdWords still allowed text link brokers to advertise their systems... not sure if that’s still the case.
Now if this is indeed related to Google battling paid links to battle search engine spam – and Google officially stated they will penalize text link space sellers – then it’s already working for Google. Downranked sites are risking to lose visitors arriving from Google web search, which might be lowering the value of their ad space, and thus their revenues. For instance, Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal in response to his site’s downranking removed his paid links, saying “I made some changes to my template to eliminate the 3 links under Supporters”. Other webmasters may now also get much more wary to accept paid, non-nofollowed text links.
*Update: Others in the comments say StatCounter’s PR might have already down at 8 before. [Thanks Gerald!]
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