That's a pretty interesting article. I think it's funny how the Palka guy from Ask Jeeves says link buying is "Like buying a good write up in a newspaper". I think this is a bit far fetched. It's called doing what you can to make your company/business/service a successful business by gaining more traffic.
Lets say for instance "Hank" was buying links to better his position in the SERPs. Well, Hank listens to this guy and stops his link buying because Palka says they will get banned. Well, then Hank's listing disappears off the top listings because search engine positioning will NEVER stop. So what's so different in being banned or being on the last page of the SERP's because you can't buy links?
I think what is happening here is, these engine guys are a little upset because they over estimated the level of intelligence the general population has. Why not welcome new business? They are helping the economy by creating new jobs. I just don't understand why it matters at all.
I have to admit...I remember back when the internet was fairly new....and it took me a while to go through the SERPs to find a site that pertained to what I needed to find. So their perfect models aren't always so perfect. Sure, they are very intelligent...but I think the human brain will always win.
On the flip side....I think spamming engines is wrong. If you type in a product name and you see a listing that says, "Get 'product' here". Then you click it and it's some doorway page, cloaked page or some other spammy technique....now that to me is what they need to eliminate. The idea of buying links on other similar websites to help your ranking in a category you specialize, should not be any issue at all.
This says it all right here...
He likened a site buying links to a company paying for a good review in The New York Times.
"""You CAN'T BUY YOUR WAY TO THE TOP!!!!! But if you use our pay per click you can and it's ok."""
That's my 2 cents.... heheh