diberry - 5:48 pm on Apr 2, 2013 (gmt 0)
where a penalty is applied to a brand that is very well known and obviously people trust and use, it's an easy decision to remove the penalty once they comply with the guidelines. It might not be so easy to decide if the intentions of an unknown brand are actually 100% legit. The brands have earned that right IMO.
I see where you're coming from here, but disagree in the bigger picture. Google should not be trying to discern intent. They should be ranking content. And while trust should be a factor, Google must also realize that many brands have gained "trust" merely because they were at the top of the SERPs and people tend to assume the top sites must be quality. You get a feedback loop happening there, and again it gives some sites an unfair "trust" advantage based on their ability to spend a LOT of money manipulating the algorithm... which is not a genuine indicator that readers trust them.
That's where I think Google could do better. I think they should be focusing on quality indicators, not spam indicators, and "trust" should be factored against whether these big brand sites got big strictly for ranking high at Google or for other reasons.
ETA: there are indicators Google is moving more toward quality indicators, but at the same time getting more aggressive about perceived spam intent. The two directions don't go together for me. Frankly, as a reader, if a spammy site produces really useful content, please serve it up to me. And if a branded quality site reproduces crapola from other domains that probably was never any good to begin with, please stick it on page 400.