As you’ll see from reading Rand Fishkin’s post on the subject, he thinks it was a Google diversionary tactic that is going nowhere. Is Google just trying to, paraphrasing an unnamed celebrity SEO as quoted by Rand, dissuade new webmasters from attempting to sculpt their own PageRank? It’s possible. But there is a third possibility that neither Rand nor the doomsayers have mentioned. Maybe this new algorithm change is in the planning stage and not yet implemented and Matt Cutts just opened his mouth too soon. Perhaps that is why his PR team doesn’t want him discussing it.
More important than the PageRank genie recently unleashed, I think Rand Fishkin’s subtle clarion call at the end of his blog is a more important issue:
It’s also frustrating that, if true, this now means one can sabotage a competitors SEO by adding many nofollowed links in comments or other UGC areas (by “evaporating” percentages of the PageRank that will flow).
You can do that now if you link to another web property within the post of your own blog, but to use UGC areas for that purpose would take the competitive stakes to a new level. It could lead to cutthroat tactics and legal issues if large businesses used that technique as a bullying tactic against smaller competitors. This is clearly something Google needs to think through completely before implementing. But, as Matt Cutts has said repeatedly, PageRank Sculpting is something most of us shouldn’t worry about anyway.