EditorialGuy - 2:44 pm on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)
big brands like Amazon, yelp, ebay, etc. have had those "characteristics" for a long time, yet it's been only recently that they overwhelmed the search results.
I'm not so sure. A few years ago, owners of e-commerce sites were constantly complaining that eBay overwhelmed the top search results.
Also, let's not forget that many (most?) searches on the Webs involve information, not e-commerce. In my sector, Wikipedia and other megasites that used to be at the top of the SERPs are now halfway down the first page in many cases. Often, they've been knocked down by EMD sites that shouldn't even be in the top 100 search results, or by other large sites like About.com. (I even saw a top result for one competitive keyword that was an index page of New York Times articles from the 1980s.) This suggests to me that Google has been trying to soften any apparent "brand bias," but that the fix has introduced problems of its own.