TheMadScientist - 9:59 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)
Hmmmm... Not necessarily, because some of that would definitely have to do with whether a 'bulk of links' is more indicative of 'hot' or if a percentage based growth is ... The more links you have the more people see you (or a reference to you) and the more growth you need overall to sustain a visibility-to-new-link growth rate.
EG If you have 100 links you need 10 new ones to sustain a 10% visibility-to-new-link growth rate, but a site with only 10 links only needs 1 new one to exhibit a 10% visibility-to-new-link growth rate and 2 new links puts them ahead of the site with 100 links already as far as visibility-to-link growth goes.
I think too much emphasis is place on 'links as the answer' and assuming the people at Google would ever only want to show 'brands', because it eliminates them from coming up from the 'one right answer' for the people who would rather buy from Mom & Pop ... I think they have a much 'bigger picture' view than many webmasters understand, because so many webmasters can't figure out what they're doing, so they assume it's all about the links and being big and how many they can get, but to do the 'one right answer' Google is aiming for they have to put quite a bit more thought into it and how they arrive at their conclusions.
The 'one right answer' is more often 'bigger businesses with brand recognition' (but that's not only true on the web), so they're not completely wrong to show bigger brands more often, but to do something that eliminates Mom & Pop from the equation means they're leaving some pretty big holes in trying to find 'the one right answer' for everyone.