A while back the SEW Blog picked up on the W3C site selling links on a couple of pages with a PageRank of PR9 and a PR7 thrown in for free if you were to ‘donate’ $1000. The main basis of the argument was whether there is a difference between ‘sponsorship’ for a website and just selling links for good old link juice. How can you tell the difference between the two?

Well, John Battelle’s recent interview with Matt Cutts sheds further light on the subject. Matt Cutts explains in the interview –

“The W3C decided to add a “INDEX, NOFOLLOW” meta tag to their sponsor page, which has the benefits that the sponsor page can show up in search engines and that users receive nice static links that they can click on, but search engines are not affected by the outlinks on that page.”

Generally the ‘nofollow’ tag is used in conjunction with the link itself, rather than as a meta tag. In fact that meta tag predates the use of ‘no follow’ as we see it today. SEW looks at how this tag seems to have changed.

Theres more discussion over at Threadwatch too. I just wonder if the likes of SEO Book will be renewing their sponsorship next year?!