I couldn't agree with you more.
In the fight against spam Google seemingly has become more concerned with "how" a site made it to the top of their results rather than "whether or not" such sites at the top of their results are relevant to the search query.
Do you remember a few years ago when results from a certain directory (to remain nameless) seemed to dominate Google results. And if you clicked on their listing you would get a pop up ad and you would be like, "oh no I just clicked on another listing from "so and so". and you couldn't hit back quick enough? Then Google seemed to set out to get rid of this site (types of sites) from their results because they were often was not very up to date with their content or recommendations.
Well years later now I'm seeing this site (same types of sites) dominate again. The only real difference is the pop up blocker comes out now.
Furthermore, in my industry, the SERPS are additionally full of sites that have not been updated in years. I try to contact these sites about link swaps, but the e-mail bounces. Many of these sites are not even hosted on their own domain. How relevant :(
I really have one question for Google... If my site was relevant enough for the 2 word search combo to be on top of the results for the past 3 years, and during the past 3 years Google became king of search because its results were so relevant, then why all of the sudden is my site not relevant enough for the top 1,000 anymore? What changed about the meaning of the 2 word search combo that all of the sudden made it so my site no longer stood for what those 2 words meant? Or visa versa, what changed about my site that all of the sudden made it so that my site no longer fit the definition of those 2 words?
What is even more perplexing is that I'm still on top for the 3 word search combos that are synonymous with the 2 word search combos I no longer exist in the top 1,000 for.
Thw whole idea of this "broad match" I keep reading about seems foolish imo. Because a search engine should give me a well defined match for what I'm looking for. And in my industry the 2 word search combos are clear as day (when it comes to the surfer's intent). There was no reason to change the results to broad match. The results were not "broken" in my niche. So why were the results "fixed"?
Certainly there are some types of searches where a broad match is required. But you would think a "human being" should identify those areas first before letting a computer apply broad match across the board.
I can't believe Yahoo hasn't just switched to inktomi. I imagine there are a few frustrated surfers who's first inclination is to turn to Yahoo... But at Yahoo they are finding basically the same results. I think they are blowing a big chance to regain market share.
One last comment. I think this algo change affects the economy quite a bit. Because if it takes more time for Joe/Jane surfer to find what he/she is looking for, they may be inclined to give up before taking the time to learn how to improve their own search queries. So it's not always a case of "someone else will get the sale"... If the search results are not good, no-one may get the sale. I can tell you that in my industry the SERPS are so off base that indeed no-one is getting the sale and surfers are getting stale results that have not been updated in years. Maybe my niche is the extreme case. But if not, then things could get very interesting in search land.