Wilburforce - 9:05 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)
I don't see anyone as a victim... Google organic results are absolutely free
That isn't quite right. Google's "absolutely free" results have acheived a virtual marketing monopoly. People don't look in Yellow Pages anymore. As someone implied in an earlier post in this thread, they don't even look on Amazon for their product (they use Google to find it on Amazon). Google has become the way people find things. I can't replace the organic results with some other form of marketing, and it isn't a question of cost. Even if I get my brand name to the public by peak-time TV advertising, the public will still find me by typing my brand name into Google rather than going to the bother of typing my URL.
Having achieved that position, they have pulled the rug from under a lot of people who were there not by complacency, but because they recognised the fundamental importance of Google organics for their own product placement.
It is disingenuous for Google to claim a crusade on behalf of relevance and white-hat SEO while following a different agenda. If a tourist asks me for directions to the post office and I lie to him, the fact that I haven't charged him for the lie doesn't make much difference: he is still a victim of my deliberate misrepresentation.