Jennifer Laycock provides an interesting take on NoFollow, blog spamming, paid text links, and the role of the Federal Trade Commission and Google. I do see the FTC taking a more active role against blog spammers, including the covert paid word-of-mouth campaigns one sees that are really no different than the e-mail spam that fills your inbox.
However, she overestimates the likelihood that small business owners are going to be injured because they can’t afford to compete with larger competitors for paid stealth links.
Most successful Internet marketers I know are able to do very well in the search engine rankings without paying a dime for links. Of course, they’re not going to share the how-to with everyone.
I encourage you to seriously consider DoFollow for your blog. UPDATE – See comment below.
If you’re using WordPress, you can take care of the spam issue with Lucia’s LinkLove and Spam Karma 2 plugins while rewarding bloggers who provide substantive comments with the links they deserve.