What the NPR story fails to address is that the guy rewriting all of his product descriptions really doesn't know if that's the problem and is probably just wasting his time.
They act as though it's Yay, Google has forced people to write interesting stuff! But there's no evidence of that, just an assumption.
Pretty shoddy reporting actually, but about on par with all the other stuff being written about Panda.
Had the guy said he'd seen recovery after rewriting all of his product descriptions, then they'd have a story, but he didn't.
Also, this is about more than just generic product descriptions. A lot of sites with 100% original content have been completely destroyed... and there's no explanation why. While many corporate news services which just copy/paste reuters stories (cough*Yahoo*cough) have taken their traffic.
But just to limit the discussion to this one store... should retailers be ranked based on the quality of their products, and not the quality of the freelancers they hire to write BS about their products?