RedCardinal - 7:19 am on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)
@tedster I don't doubt the stats or the reality of what's being described. I do however suspect that Google controlling for conversions is far fetched in the extreme. Controlling/throttling referrals might be trivial for them, but just think about what would be involved with them somehow tracking actual conversion on third party sites. In real-time (or near-real-time). Then applying this as a filter to their SERPs.
I'm afraid that sounds extremely implausible to me. Far, far more plausible that what you're seeing is an actual result of the Ux than anything Google controls.
Lastly the question would be why would they do this? What possible motive could they have for applying the required resources to do this, and what would be their return on this investment?
Perhaps I should have a more open mind?