Selling links? Matt Cutts has told Loren at Search Engine Journal that it was buying and selling links that ended up getting your PageRank lowered over the past few days.
The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site.
Danny Sullivan adds in the comments that he already knew this was happening. On October 7, Search Engine Land came out with a post warning you that you could get your PageRank lowered for selling links. Fast forward three weeks and we're here.
Of course, there's also the other side (in a blog post that I can't find and link to): why can't bloggers make a little money on the side? Some of them aren't as rich as the Googlers. :P
How many people do you think were really outed by SEOs?
Still, according to a more recent Search Engine Land post, Google's stance seems unclear:
Google is always working to improve the ways that we generate relevant search results and update our opinions of sites' reputations across the web.
Some of the hard-hit sites seem to be pretty relevant, if you ask me. Again, the question goes back to the many posts I've seen where bloggers ask why they should be penalized if they provide quality content -- and sell links. So what? Why slight them?
Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.