Great post ZydoSEO, and great points you make...
And, who knows, maybe 'for today' Google picks the top 10 answers (results) based on 'probability of getting the right answer with one' for a specific searcher in the first page of results and doesn't necessarily rank them according to anything other than the probability the end user they actually serve (not you or your site) will like one of the ten results?
I'd personally rather look at brands first and then 'Joe Site Builder/Reseller' if I decide to not purchase from a 'house hold name' or if I want more 'offers, opinions, better price', so, from an end user perspective, they've got the results correct for me based on what's being stated ... I don't care what your UI is like ... I want to purchase from a name-brand if possible for 'essentially the same price' otherwise, I'll consider you ... Sorry, but that's reality, and yeah, I know it's harsh, but I think it's time someone started posting more about the reality of what people are likely looking for instead of Google Gaming Techniques.
(I have relatives who love Amazon ... They really couldn't care less what you sell or what your UI is like or even what your price is in comparison ... When they search, they like to see Amazon ... It's the 'right answer' for them.)
Major brands first, everyone else 'somewhere later' sounds about right to me actually ... Again, sorry, especially if that's not your idea of 'the right answer' or what you're used to, but for many people I think they've got it right, because I personally don't care how easy to use your site is, if a major brand-name has the same product for an essentially the same price, I'll buy from the name I know has to 'kiss the a**' of their customer before I'll buy from some name I don't know and doesn't have a reputation I've heard of.
Let me give a 'real life example' ... I used to be a <BigComputerStore> customer, but one day I had an issue with trying to purchase a product on their site ... Their customer service rep. was horrible and told me to go back to the site and try again instead of just taking my CC info and completing the transaction, so I went and did more research and now I buy somewhere else, and when I buy another computer, rather than from them like it would have been, it will most likely be directly from Apple, but when I buy other 'stuff' it's from the other company I found ... You (or anyone else) didn't really ever have a chance until <BigComputerStore> was less than adequate in my opinion, then I looked around and now there's two other 'name brands' I will buy from ... You (and most sites) were only 'in the running' as the 'right result' for me for less than 24 hours ... I don't mean anything is wrong with you or your site, but as a customer I buy from those I have the most confidence will 'take care of me' and if they don't then anyone else has basically 'one chance' at my business ... Honestly, as a searcher I don't want to see 'an alternative' to the business I usually buy from as the number one result, because it's not what I'm looking for or whom I'm looking to buy from...
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:06 am (utc) on Jan 7, 2013]