Whitey - 11:09 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: Whitey at 11:14 pm (utc) on May 26, 2013]
I'm just trying to establish if others are seeing a clear line of demarcation where every. single. result. is a brand until #X, and then the indie sites begin. If so, this tells us something about the algo and what it's doing, which I thought is what we're all here to learn.
And for all the Google defenders: if Google actually is putting brands up front on purpose, it does not necessarily follow they are "being evil." If you followed how Congress grilled them about piracy links and links to businesses that ripped off consumers, it sounded like Congress expected Google to drop the algo altogether and personally screen each link with a thorough private investigation into their business practices before indexing it. I can totally see Google responding with, "Good grief, guess we'd better make sure the domains that wind up at the top have been thoroughly screened and can be thoroughly trusted."
Links and link management are a failure. Eric Schmidt practically admitted it when he talked about the cesspool of results and that "brands were the answer" - well I think BIG brands are not the only answer, and no determined small/business owner on the planet with any substance and self belief is going to coin that phrase lying down. What small/medium business want's to be under the brands in a land of opportunity. Listing the top websites in any vertical as a fixed occurrence would take a well organized group of workers a week to compile. Probably Google already did this editorially - who knows. Google is not producing rocket science here. And it's the small/medium business' that have the real deals - they just need the vehicle to deliver. And Google's current technology doesn't hold a mortgage on the air we breathe. Something will happen.
[edited by: Whitey at 11:14 pm (utc) on May 26, 2013]