He talks about Google's possible concern over paid links and a desire to slap "nofollow" on them because they fall under what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - (yes, USA only), says is "advertising". Therefore, there should be some sort of regulation over purchased links.
I had a few things to say, including
Let Google "nofollow" their own paid sponsored links and see how many advertisers they get.
The comments are worth going through. Everyone has good points and concerns.
Are people getting paranoid or becoming "helicopter SEO's?" (Hovering around too closely.) Why? Is there a blanket fear that a non followed link equates to an entire site not being crawled?
Here at the forums, outbound links are scrambled to protect us and keep the forums in good standing with search engines. This doesn't mean the forums are not crawled. It means links inside posts are not followed. There's a difference.
There are reasons to not want engines to follow outbound links. Search engines created this fiasco when they came up with links as votes. To help remedy this mess, they came up with various ways to stop bots from following certain links. It's a bandaid for a bigger problem.
Dan asks, "Will Google believe me"? in one example. Many SEO's don't sleep because of this fear of freaking out Google. Why have the SEO/SEM industry given search engines this much power and when are they going to say "enough"!
If you offer a paid links model, you offer a paid links model. If it feeds a child or pays for someone's health insurance, just do it and who in the hell should be worried about the Google Gods?
I like Google and love Matt Cutts, but the divide between marketers and sacred search engine ground is widening. Both need each other and Google acting deranged isn't helping matters.
Do you think paid links should be regulated by trade laws and how in the heck is it enforced? The FTC governs the USA. By shooing away income opportunities, site owners will simply go outside the USA.