One other situation that's been brought up here: if one company produces three competing websites with DIFFERENT info/products/whatever and it's all quality, as a searcher I'm unlikely to notice it's all the same company. I don't care, because I still achieve my search goals.
Fine, so the complaint here is nearly identical content ranking, not domain ownership, which is how this thread was started.
If you read the OP you will hear call to arms against people owning multiple domains and trying to rank them, when the problem is not domain ownership, but ranking of content.
The thread was started as pure rant. There is no question, for example, "Help me outrank these guys", or "what steps to take to improve ranking in these conditions", no, it was just a whine about how 3 websites from the same company were ranked in the top 10. Boo-Hoo. Any webmaster worth their salt would immediately realize that they were ranked NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE OWNED BY THE SAME COMPANY, but despite that. Calling on Google to classify multiple domain ownership as spam is not just ridiculous, but rather irresponsible in a webmaster forum!
Sure, when I search I may get frustrated if the top 3 websites were offering nearly identical content. But this issue has nothing to do with "domain crowding", but with how Google ranks the content, because each one of those websites was ranked individually on its own merit. They could be owned by 3 different companies or by one, it's irrelevant to both me (the user) and google.
Now, the original
thread started with some guy complaining that he visited 3 websites about assisted living and filled 3 different forms only to find out that all three were owned by the same company. Obviously those websites were different enough for the OP not to realize that it is the same company. I agree that this is a legit user
complaint, but what could google do about it? You, as a webmaster, do you want google to limit each person to just one website that is allowed to rank and if you register another domain - it should be banned by Google automatically?