Shaddows - 4:14 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)
Google used to be about what you want to find, now it's about what Google THINKS you want to find.
Sure, but still THINKS you want to find brands.
Big sites really do have a lot of protection from penalties. I've commented before on the fact that different types of sites get different treatments. An ecom does not usually compete for position with an info site, and it certainly doesn't need as many links for any given position.
Then there is a kind of Superleague which you need to belong to for stable top-3 ranking on competitive SERPs. Get a few competitive SERPs, and you get immunity from quite a lot of "rubbish" on-page SEO, and most off-page SEO.
At the end of the day, keyword stuffing doesn't work. It doen't need dampening or banning because it's useless. It's been a while since I saw a penalty doled out for such pointless dross, unless it contributes to an overall devaluation of quality.