Chamber of Commerce paid linking

I was looking for some area events at which I could promote some of our services, and came across an interesting little bit of info from the Chamber of Commerce. Apparently, quite a few of these little not for profit organizations are charging for links:

Chamber of Commerce Paid Linking Screen Grab
Buy our stamp of approval

I seem to remember that there was a bit of concern about some of our search queries being diluted by paid links because of mean search engine optimization companies (and their less then white hat techniques). But could this altruistic organization, focused solely on the improvement of job growth and economic improvement be doing the same thing? Is there the prerequisite no follow tags? Someone should look into it.

I’m wondering how many different seals of approval companies are buying. We know retailers are doing it, we know newspapers, online journals, and bloggers are doing it. But how is this any different? What about the verified security logos that are everywhere? Are these larger entities also offering paid linking options from their sites?

Who counts for what, and how many of them is Google really aware of? This doesn’t reek of the hand of an SEO- after all its posted out in the open, for everyone to see.

Matt Cutts, paging Matt Cutts! Save us from the Chamber of Commerce!

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