I got an email yesterday offering me 1500 bucks if I’d put ten text links to “sponsors” for one year in the sidebar of this site. Lots of other sites have gone this route, so there’s not really any novelty here, other than that I’ve never gotten such an offer, and I never knew exactly what kind of money people were getting for this sort of thing. The arrangement, of course, is straight PageRank farming. The ten links aren’t to actual sponsors, but rather to sites that want to up their PageRank through links from other sites that have already earned their PageRank the hard way (or at least by just being around for a long time).
To make a long story short, I’m not taking the money. I love the Web too much to take money to improve the search engine rankings of spammers.