cien - 9:50 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: cien at 10:26 pm (utc) on Jul 7, 2010]
"but I'm not really sure how you can say people creating concise, organized product listings aren't generally more relevant to a specific search than organic results can probably be determined algorithmically,"
I'm not sure about that, but the problem is that the listings are not on google.com's search results, they are on another Google real estate which Google will be benefiting from, I believe through Google checkout. Users will then use no other property than Google Base (merchant center) instead of ebay or any other price comparison sites. That's anti-competitive. That's why there are anti-competition laws. Google appears to be using its power to favor their own properties. If Google wants to display the concise, organized product listings found on Google Base, they should display them on the main search engine's results on Google.com, not on another of their properties.
I'm not very good with analogies but I hope you get what I'm trying to say. It's like Bush using his presidential power to negotiate better oil contracts for his private businesses.
If you sell certain products, Google would be forcing you to use their services or get no organic traffic.
[edited by: cien at 10:26 pm (utc) on Jul 7, 2010]