austtr - 7:58 am on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0)
There's no argument with being an affiliate middle man as long as there's significant value added.
Sorry Ted, this is one of the very few times I have to disagree with you. For research and delivery of quality information in my neck of the woods, its the smaller independent sites that are light years ahead of the big affiliates in the area of significant added value.
But look at the travel and tourism SERP's, especially accommodation, and all you will be offered is the big affiliates (right behind Google hotels of course). I can't accept that as being a good result for the viewer... because like most affiliates they all offer exactly the same stuff (which is why Google went after affiliates in the first place!)
I'd love to see the site that can displace Expedia, Hotels.com, Trip Advisor and Wotif simply by adding more interest/value for the viewer. IMO there is as much chance of Google ranking its big corporate spenders behind other sites as me growing a second backside.
I can accept that big companies with big budgets and smart people can get to dominate a market sector... always have and always will. What I have a problem with is being expected to believe that this is something other than a commercial foregone conclusion.