I recently attended a meeting with some fellow bloggers and some reps from an ad network we all use to monetize our sites. We were talking about ways to increase traffic, and some of the bloggers mentioned reciprocal links, giveaways, guest posts with author links, etc. I mentioned wryly that those practices were frowned upon by Google, even though some sites seem to get away with them just fine. Half-joking, I said, "But sometimes I think Google just doesn't want anyone else making money online."
To my surprise, the reps from the ad network agreed vehemently. They are, of course, in direct competition with Adsense, and this was their perception of Google as a company.
What do you think?
I believe Google has dominated the web so thoroughly in past years, and they don't want to let that go. I don't know if I believe they actually sit around thinking, "Dagnabit, someone else made a few bucks online today! How can we stop this outrageous turn of events?" But I do believe they use the engine to manipulate other companies and websites (Bing "what google did to Yelp"). And the natural side effect of that predatory behavior is naturally going to be that Google gets and keeps more traffic than anyone else, and traffic pretty much equals income online.