The thing is, web directories and link directories are monetizing and taking advantage of the situation - just like they took advantage of the situation when links were perceived as being beneficial to the buyer. Yes, it is all about perception.
That being said, a new post at Cre8asite Forums has a webmaster posting a response for a link removal request. This web directory is charging $25 to remove one link and $50 to remove up to ten links.
They say the fee is for the "time, energy, and focus to provide you with that desire." Then they follow up to giving advice on ranking penalties, the Penguin algorithm and more.
Sad place we live in these days.
Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto for taking money