ColourOfSpring - 4:58 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)
@ColourOfSpring, I do think we should consider theories that end with "...and then Google makes more money" because that is indeed what they're doing. Not all of these theories will be correct or complete - maybe not even any of them. But what's needed is further investigation (as tedster suggests has already happened in this case), not outright dismissal.
diberry, I'm all for alternate explanations, and I sincerely hope Google aren't simply driving more people to click on ads. IF there are alternate explanations (to the cynical theory), then it points to a more hopeful future for independent site owners. Just....I'd go with the Occam's razor explanation - Google's ad clicks, profits and share price have soared since Penguin 1.0. Even if this was an unintended consequence of Penguin 1.0 (!), it surely must have gotten the moneymen of Google rubbing their hands and thinking - "don't steer off this path whatever happens". Penguin 2.0 is more of the same. Sure, there's not been out-and-out carnage, but nobody (other than outliers) have recovered, brands are even more prominent.
As an aside, a guy at Google Ireland keeps on calling me about Google Products. In the UK, it's going paid-only after 30th June, and he's trying to get me and my clients to switch over. I get the feeling we (small business owners) are being "migrated" to the pay-per-click model.
We need an internet revolution just to survive....and if we don't survive, then a quiet revolution will come about - the Walmartisation of the internet. The internet will be (is?) a facsimile of the modern-day high street with big brands dominating. Then.....think of all of the millions of people employed in small business who go bust, or tighten their expenditure. How will that help Google? Analogy: something as tiny as a bee has a big impact on the environment. Get rid of bees and the flowers aren't pollinated and a whole chain reaction occurs that can devastate an environment. The same will happen if Google continue to dominate and drive traffic while cutting out the small business owner (the bee).