tedster - 7:19 am on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)
I've seen algorithmic penalties against this type of link immediately reversed after a reconsideration request. Of course, those weren't high profile businesses, either.
At this point it looks more like we have a PR battle than an academic attempt to improve relevance. I hope journalists consider the consequences of any future reporting deeply. Otherwise their interventions may end up BEING the story rathe than covering it.
SEO is a new discipline, and it's not well understood or even very mature. Search engines are a new technology, and they are also not generally understood and undergoing rapid evolution. Journalism should benefit the public understanding of both areas - rather than cast dark shadows for the sake of gaining readers.
Don't forget who owns the WSJ - and the Google problems that we've already seen from that direction. The current opportunistic stream of SEO articles feels more like a propaganda war than true journalism.