seaworthy - 11:51 pm on Dec 22, 2011 (gmt 0)
This is the main sticking point for me - the simple fact that there is junk being served up in the search results. Panda can reiterate until the cows come home but if the SERPS are jumbled then the desired outcome isn't reached and something has to give eventually.
I can only speak for the physical products/ecommerce side of things, but a couple of things I have noticed are
a) A huge bias towards exact match domains, or even domains with the keyword plus a few other words. Whether it be a prefix or several suffixes. This is nothing new I know but these sites are still low quality (1 page, poorly formatted text, large amounts of white space and/or ads, thin/spun content, poor link profiles etc) and ranking above authority sites like CNET, Consumer Reports, etc. Saw a couple of emd.ca's too.
b) Lots of international sites ranking in Google US or AU. I'm from Australia but I'm getting a lot of co.uk domains using google.com.au and similarly for Google US. A lot of the stuff you would be accustomed to seeing is back on page 2 or 3. It's quite irritating.
Now this has been going on for a while of course, but surely they are doing more harm than good? I understand there is a bias towards Amazon and whoever else in a lot of searches but even these sites are being trounced by shady EMD's or related sites with a co.za extension that were registered in the last 6 months.