dvduval - 10:10 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)
I've been fortunate enough to build strong businesses and user bases for a few different sites/businesses. If google were to go 100% adwords tomorrow, I would be okay. Surely, I would lose some revenue, but I would be okay.
The most natural response to google's changed strategy to highlight adwords, and depreciate organic results is to seek other avenues that don't involve google. As I look around, I see lots of small and medium businesses responding similarly, by focusing on building their own traffic, and turning to alternatives like Facebook. They are building known destinations rather than searchable destinations.
Clearly google is much more commercial now.
I spoke with an adwords engineer just the other day. I mentioned how organic results are mostly below the fold now, and his response was that I should look at the sponsored results because they are so much better now.
I persisted by asking him what he though about small and medium businesses who depend on organic results. Many are losing their businesses. His response was kind of amazing. It was as if he had not even considered that aspect, saying, "Well, yea, you might be right about that".
I think there is a cultural shift at google, but there is also a cultural shift going on in response. I'm not sure if it will bode well for google long term, but time answers all questions.