tedster - 10:25 pm on Feb 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
It looks like Google is penalizing JCPenney on branded searches.
I'm not seeing that right now - except possibly for cases where "Penney" is correctly spelled but the "JC" is not included in the query.
All of this could have been prevented if Matt would have told the Times to file a spam report
I'm pretty sure that the Times would have printed this story whether Matt Cutts commented or not. They contacted him after they did all the research - probably as a professional courtesy and to offer a chance to do up front damage control. Also note that the Times contact corporate Google ans "Google promptly set up an interview with Matt Cutts."