Looking for the answer in evil profit-led consipracies will have no effect on your ranking.
This is no longer about ranking. It is about obstruction of trade to small businesses and illegal conduct by a major monopolistic corporations.
But i don't blame inexperienced professionals for not seeing the obvious. Only people with more than 12+ years of experience in organics and paid online marketing can clearly see what is going on. The rest will call it "conspiracies".
Hopefully the FTC will put an end to it all soon... i'll be more then happy to continue this discussion with you then and say "i told you so"... but on a second thought, maybe you already know that.
[edited by: xcoder at 12:11 pm (utc) on Nov 1, 2012]