Google intervened very rapidly in the My Decor Eyes debacle, a site that actively seeked negative advertisement because it managed to use Google's algorithm to its own advantage.
It based its whole search strategy on the fact that negative reviews attracted direct links which in turn brought in more traffic. You can read the complete story which prompted Google's decision to act against DecorMyEyes.com here.
The issue here is that Google effectively took the role of the legislator and Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, describes the thought process that caused the "Decor My Eyes" affair to jump from being a niggle to a top priority assignment.
There are three facts that jump out of Singhal's post yesterday; first Singhal and his team were "horrified to read" about the "Decor My Eyes" story, they "immediately convened a meeting" to look at the issue and have identified "hundreds of other merchants" that in their opinion provide an extremely poor user experience.
It shows (a) the NYT still has immense clout and (b) Google is firefighting the whole issue of scamming and online reputation, reacting rather than being proactive (c) Google is walking on egg shells since it is currently being investigated by the EU because one small company, Foundem, complained after it was demoted from Google Search.
Who are these hundreds of companies mentioned by Singhal? What if they all started to sue Google for demoting them or for dragging their brands in mud? Will Google go aggressively against bigger companies in the transport, utilities and telecom sector? Interesting times indeed.