If you're like me, you live on the internet for a big chunk of your day. You thrive on the internet. The internet is a big key player of your being, and if there's no internet, you can hardly imagine your existence without it.
This feeling is only going to grow with time. We become increasingly dependent on our online activities. We become increasingly dependent on search. Whereas 20 years ago, we had to do research in, uh, libraries, we can now do it at the tip of our fingertips at any time of day (wearing nothing or everything).
So what would happen in a world where, if you got banned by a search engine, you had some recourse? Imagine that if you got banned from Google, it would actually be illegal? In other words, search engines were not allowed to ban sites without a reason (assuming there is no reason already).
Search Engine Watch Forums members are discussing the possibility of exactly that. And forum members believe that it would be a great idea to take legal action against those search engines who ban you or who lower your position in the SERPs.
But more than that, search engines are becoming viewed as commodities and this can't necessarily be as far fetched as some folks imagine. Could they eventually be regulated by government entities? Probably -- or probably not. In a "probably" scenario, there would be rules on who would rank, where they'd rank, and the like.
I foresee that to be an incredible undertaking
and waste of tax dollars if implemented. Right now, there may be a few unhappy webmasters, but overall, the state of search is pretty good. Bringing in a big player (like the US government) would be a mistake.
There's more to this really interesting discussion. Worth envisioning or not? I still think not. But if you want to read more about what forum members are saying, check out Search Engine Watch Forums.