diberry - 2:46 pm on Oct 16, 2011 (gmt 0)
This has been predicted by so-called "paranoids" ever since AdSense started up: it just seemed inevitable that eventually Google would force you to buy one of the top spots rather than simply handing it over nicely with an algorithm.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Google bided their time, and tested the water with a few tactics that arguably broke US anti-trust laws, and now with Larry Page, they've done just what every other business in the US did a few years ago: turned themselves into a get rich quick scheme. They know the govt is going to come down on them, but in the meantime if they can make a few billion by forcing people to buy the top spots, of course they will. That's what this has all been about.
It is NEVER paranoid to believe that if a company keeps outgrowing its competitors, it will eventually take advantage of everything it can. That's just human nature.