Michael Gray spotted an interesting quote from a recent interview with Matt Cutts and Ted Murphy of Izea (formerly PayPerPost).
I explained to Matt that in SocialSpark all links required by an advertiser would carry the no-follow tag. I thought this would be a great thing. Matt commended the decision, but then added ALL links inside of any sponsored post should carry the no-follow tag period, regardless of whether they are required, not required or even link to the advertiser paying for the post. That means if Nikon pays me to review a camera and I link off to a site about photography that link needs to be no-follow, along with the link to the blog of my buddy the photographer. His reasoning was that the sponsored post wouldn’t exist without the sponsor paying for it, therefore all the content is commercial and should be no-follow.
Naturally, there's a lot of shaky ground with this statement, because Michael believes that Google should start employing nofollow on all the links you see on Google pages -- such as press releases, partnerships, and the like.
Ted Murphy, by the way, clarifies his stance in the Izea community blog, and Matt responds:
"I support No-Follow for any links required by an advertiser, but why should a blogger be forced to no-follow any other link?"
A blogger isn't forced to do anything; they can do whatever they want on their site. I'm trying to communicate Google's views, so that if a blogger wants to do well in Google, they know our stance. I think all major search engines have taken similar positions on paid posts that pass PageRank as well. I think Google has been pretty clear about our opinion on paid posts that pass PageRank.
So in the end, if you want to do well on Google, you should probably use nofollow on all paid posts regardless of the sponsor from what we're all reading.
Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.