Planet13 - 4:59 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)
...they are simply not looking the big brands way until they have no choice. JCP, OS, BestBuy, Walmart ranking high...
I think that google isn't saying something like, "these sites have big bucks so they get a pass."
I think that quite simply all the PR that these companies do generates a lot of trust among users, who then add comments and ratings to their product pages, makes them feel more comfortable about linking to their pages from their blogs or facebook pages, and in general just do things that google loves.
Plus, since many people in the SEO world say that social "mentions" (un-linked references to a company's name or web site) help in the SERPs, and these companies are ALWAYS in the news for some reason or another, that has to help, too.