Is Google punishing dirty linkwhores?

They call Google's Web search results "organic" for a reason. Why? There's a lot of manure in there. In fact, there's a whole industry dedicated to helping webmasters redesign their pages for Google's PageRank algorithm. But to Google's taste, some search engine optimization, or SEO, goes too far. Google has a particular distaste for popular websites that accept money in exchange for linking to less popular websites in order to boost the latter's search ranking. Google's beancounter, naturally, would prefer that you pay Google for sponsored links instead. Now comes a report that Google might be punishing websites that accept paid links. Most disturbingly, several of them are popular blogs that cover the business of blogging and search engines — the very sites most likely to cover this news. Is Google, even inadvertently, suppressing its critics? Here are the most notable companies on Google's hit list.

Suspected linkwhores and their new Google PageRanks (PR), compiled by Search Engine Land:

(Disclosure: Autoblog, Engadget, and Joystiq compete directly with blogs owned by Gawker Media, the publisher of Valleywag.)