maxmoritz - 7:12 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)
Are those searches fully monetized as well (top and right side full of advertisers)?
Yes, they are.
I could be wrong, but I don't think the Google search team is trying to get rid of small businesses on purpose. I think they're just a bunch of nerds who feel they're at war with SEO.
E-commerce sites/niches are some of the most competitive around. So unless you were a big brand you had to buy links one way or another...or you didn't rank. Period. Therefore, the reason you see so many small businesses, particularly e-commerce sites, getting knocked out, is because when Google goes to war against SEO, the small business e-commerce sites are collateral damage.
With Penguin they get taken out due to the necessary link building they've done. With Panda the big brands get a pass...so it's ok for them to have pages with "this product is out of stock" where the key-phrase is in the title and/or H1...but for a small business e-commerce site even if they've got unique product descriptions, if their pages are "low content" (when they SHOULD be due to the similarity of products in some product classes), they're toast.
It's not that Google is trying to get rid of small business, IMO, it's that they don't care. So in their war with SEO they're ok with whatever the collateral damage is, as long as they get to feel like they're winning. To hell with all the people's lives they destroy in the process, not to mention diversity on the web and better shopping experiences for consumers.