Last year there was the vince update where Google made an apparent shift towards favoring brands in the SERPs. Well over on searchengineland it appears Google are continuing on this path. They are now showing recommended brands for a number of high volume keywords:
It’s interesting some people have noticed an impact on their traffic already. We have known for some time that Google didn’t like affiliate sites and this would seem to a step towards giving some of them a right slap in the face.
It may not affect the majority of affiliates, really it depends on how far Google take it. They also show direct shopping results on the SERP’s, all of which is squeezing affiliate sites who are dependent on organic traffic.
One of the things I love/loved about Google is it gives nimble firms/entrepreneurs the ability to compete with large sites who have far larger marketing budgets, it would seem Google is doing everything possible to rectify this.