Instead of being tied to PageRank and the lack of toolbar updates, what if a strong independent third party produced a webpage rank (call it WPR for short). This WPR would be very similar to PR, in that it would calculate the value of a web page based primarily upon the backlinks to it. Of course, it would have to have other criteria, to ensure it does not infringe upon the Google copyright.
The WPR ranking system could be advertised as strictly an SEO tool. In other words, the value of the tool would be purely for search engine optimization purposes and not something that the general public would have an interest in. Nor would it have any relation to ranking well in the search engines.
So what would be the use of WPR, you ask? Want to have a good idea who to link to? Use WPR instead of PR. Want to buy or sell text links without fear of a search engine penalization? Buy and sell based upon WPR instead of PR.
Keep in mind that this would not be like Alexa ranking - it would not be dependent upon having a toolbar installed, and therefore would not be manipulated. I think if the right people with the right resources could accomplish this goal, it would be of great benefit to webmasters. That is my off-the-wall, kooky, SEO idea of the day. Make of it what you will.
Oh, and if you decide to create WPR, I would appreciate being your number one beta tester. 🙂