turbocharged - 9:03 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)
It is what it is - Its got nothing to do with size, or Adwords expenditure, or Google trying to stomp out the little guy. In their quest to cleanse the results of what they dont consider quality, and promote what they do, they have studied and essentially reversed engineered the traits of "Brand".
I would have to disagree with this statement.
In the absence of an algorithmic solution to deal with webspam sufficiently, Google has simply dialed up the value of brand as a ranking factor. This is backed up by the prevalence of domain crowding and the lack of diversity across many keyword queries. Furthermore, brand is now routinely outranking relevance in many buyer and non-buyer queries.
When all else fails algorithmically, as it did, Google hit the panic button and reverted to giving brands more preferred organic positioning throughout the SERPS. This gives the end user listings that they can at least trust in the absence of relevance.
Since Adwords is such a large part of Google's earnings, it is foolish to believe they do not have financial models in place to gauge the impact of each and every change they make to their algorithm. Especially for the top data mining company in the world, this type of analysis should be expected before any change hits datacenters. However, as more paid ads/verticals push organic listings beneath the fold, I suspect Google's financial models have changed to reflect the decreased real estate/importance that organic listings now have.