londrum - 2:51 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)
i dont think search engines can be treated the same as normal businesses. i think they deserve extra scrutiny because they are fundamental to how the web works -- especially when one of them has a near monopoly.
its like this: internet users are wandering around in the dark, and google has the only torch. if they dont shine the light your way, well, you need to work harder and get yourself into the beam - fair enough - but when they chuck a big black blanket over your head, that is unfair. you may as well go and jump inside a 100 feet hole.
if you try and strap a flashing light to your head, to get some attention, google will come along and bust the bulb.
that is what google are doing when they penalise you for no good reason. buying text links (i cant think of a better example, but im sure there's more) is an example of them penalising businesses for no good reason. we all know why it came about: it's because they don't have any reliable means of sorting the good links from the bad, so they've just decided to punish those that cause them the most difficulties, stamping them out -- problem solved.
and this has now become an actual rule of the web, a real law. if Bing or Yahoo announced tomorrow that paid links were okay, then no one would pay a blind bit of notice. But if Google said it, everyone would get their checkbooks out. Google law supercedes everything else. and the perfectly legitimate text link industry, kapput! bye bye!
Google has become the judge and jury of what is right and wrong in SEO and website promotion.
there's something very wierd going on here, when people are perfectly comfortable in letting a bazillion dollar behemoth like google decide what is right and wrong, but baulk at the idea of our very own government taking a look. the government has our best interests at heart! google do not.