You can donate to the W3C through their “W3C Supporters” program. By donating over $1,000 USD, you get a link from this page. No problem, right? Well…
That page is has a Google PageRank of 9. And apparently they’ll let “supporters” pick their link text, because there are hyperlinks on that page like “SEO Company,” “Wedding Favors,” “RSS Feeds,” and “ski holidays.”
So, effectively, the W3C is letting people buy PageRank, because I’ll bet fully half the companies on the page couldn’t give a rip about the W3C mission. According to Performancing, some people are pissed about it. A PR9 link for $1,000? Was this the best kept secret in SEO?
(And, for that matter, do we do the same thing? There are a bunch of text links down the right side of this page. Are these people buying PageRank, or are they legitimately trying to reach the Gadgetopia audience? How do you find out?)