The latest big worry on the horizon seems to be about buying links. Although this is a widespread practice, and some very reputable companies that actually broker links have not been banned by Google, many are worried due to Google's recent alleged crackdown on paid links.
A thread at High Rankings Forum covers this topic from a "newbie" viewpoint, as the member paints his scenario of being worried about buying links. Another thread at SEW Forums recently brought up the same topic, and a member there actually received a typically veiled response from Google about his site including the old
Certain actions such as buying or selling links to increase a site's PageRank value or cloaking...can result in penalization. Please review our quality guidelines at
The topic recently had its own session at SES NYC, covered here by Ben, and Debra Mastaler wisely suggested:
...to be careful of buying links from page that use words like “sponsored links” and so on the page.
This looks to be one of the big debates of 2006...can Google and others accurately figure out if you bought a link without the telltale "Buy Links here" on the linking site?