ColourOfSpring - 2:38 pm on Jul 27, 2013 (gmt 0)
Amazon is whitelisted and/or has a hardcoded artifical boost in the serps IMO.
Absolutely. I think people tend to over-think and over-complicate how the algo works. It would be simple to whitelist a number of big domain names. You could go through each niche and find 100 or so big brands in each niche. When you're done, you then rank all of these brands manually within the subsets you've just created. Then put these ranking values / flags into the algo and mix them up with the rest of the index - voila - you have mixed in thousands of domains into the index, except they have a special value next to them that boosts them to X degree. Clearly Amazon have a lot of that X. Furthermore, these domains receive some kind of "immunization" against Penguin and Panda (basic flag setting). Google haven't done this in one go - they've done it incrementally, so it's harder to track and gain bad publicity. But I can tell you this: Google haven't finished yet with this.
It's a simple solution to eradicating a lot of spam from page 1, while also hitting hundreds of thousands (millions?) of innocent sites. Sure, Google give us a possible way out of penalties, but 95% of people give up, the other 5% get partial recoveries - the brands go from strength to strength, meaning they can offer even better services/products/usability to users in the future - good for them, good for Google, good for shoppers. Everyone wins....apart from some people :)