EditorialGuy - 6:16 pm on Oct 10, 2013 (gmt 0)
One could argue that displaying a C+ page from a megasite at the top of the rankings makes more sense than displaying a page from a no-name site that could range anywhere from A+ to F- in quality. It may not delight the searcher, but at least it's branded with a familiar name and probably isn't outright spam.
That doesn't necessarily mean that Google has written its algorithm to display megasites on page 1 of its SERPs. IMHO, it's more likely that the megasites are simply benefiting from how the algorithm works and from Google's inability to tell good content from indifferent or bad content.
I'd also point out that the Web was a lot different in its early days (and in the early days of Google), and expectations may have been lower in those days. Back in the '90s, a search on [topic] wasn't likely to return millions of possibilities, and a searcher might have been happy to find anything of value on the average topic. I can remember how delighted I was when I was able to find Geocities hobby sites about travel destinations, dog breeds, or whatever.