Whitey - 2:52 am on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)
If one our smaller sites has the same issue, we're branded as evil spammers first and have to prove we aren't...two-faced policies.
My guess is that high profile sites receive attention because they get publicity. However, I've no reason to doubt Matt Cutt's words that a lot of big sites don't talk about it.
On balance, an editor from Google would surely say, for something like the BBC , this is a huge site with great reputation and a large staff. We're not going to hold the penalty for minor breaches of guidelines.
Where the reputation of a website is not publically known, and there is an inbalance between real reputation, popularity and breaches of the guidelines [ particularily links, poor content distinguishment ], the smaller site will have trouble getting attention from Google. Realistically, there are probably 10's of 1000's of reconsideration requests a day and not all of them will receive [ perhaps ] the degree of consideration big sites do.
Filing a reconsideration, in the minds of a smaller reputation site, exposes them to risk of editorial whims which fall outside of guidelines and may invite discretion - I don't know how disciplined Google is on the manual front, or how accurate my statement is - but survival can scare good webmasters and siteowners from being entirely honest. For that part Google could probably do more to build community involvement through authenticated processes to better infom individual site owners that demonstrate good intent, or the willingness to change.
Small website owners, are very often hoodwinked by a section of SEO advisors into shelling out money for bad practices. It irritates Google, good SEO's and well intentioned siteowners. Big brands can more easily deal with that by sheer enormity of pressure to correct.
The filing of mass notices of linking violations, where only one page is offending is probably an overkill and causes a lot of unecessary angst for folks who are trying to compete yet comply efficiently. In particular small sites, or an employee in a large organisation.
If Google is now baking in alernatives to links, in the form of UI, quality , brand signals , social authentication it has sufficient commercial cover to be more open about helping siteowners to compete and better administer more adequately in a democratic web . This is probably important to support it's marketing mantra, creating a reactive, vibrant and fresh search experience, especially in areas it wants to encourage participation in.
I do think Google could receive a benefit by further encouraging small site owners to participate at grass roots level, at the same time as it's trying to grow it's business and product. A big brand web, with only Google assetts could become boring.
Special note on context - Matt was referring to penalties. I digressed a bit.