The discussion kind of went off on a tangent of big brands having an unfair advantage, but the core of the discussion was originally around how these big brands are abusing their clout.
1.Google News decides the topic "widgets" is now relevant and begins featuring stories related to topic "widgets" on the front page of GNews.
2. BigBrandX notices that Google News is featuring "widgets" as a topic and quickly writes a story on "widgets" and publishes it.
3. Google News sees BigBrandX's story on "widgets" and immediately features it as the top story on the GNews front page. It stays there for 20 - 45 minutes after which GNews rotates in another story from someone else.
4. BigBrandX sees that its "widgets" story has now been bumped off the front page by someone else and then republishes exactly the same story with the same title all over again.
5. GNews sees that BigBrandX has a new story on "widgets" and immediately pushes it to the top above all the other stories.
6. The same story from BigBrandX has now been re-featured and gets another 45 minutes as the top story.
7. Process repeats over and over until the topic is no longer on GNews.
Many have said they have seen this also but many said they are unsure.
Then senior member, wheel, steered the discussion into the brand debate:
First, kudos to any 'big brand' that has an SEO on hand that's bright enough to do this. I expect that most companies that qualify as a big brand are simply to stuck in beauracracy to do anything even close to this. If they've got someone kicking butt on this, give the SEO a raise.
Secondly, the only thing stopping any one of us from doing the very same thing is nothing other than having Google evaluate us as a brand.
Rather than complaining that 'brands' or some other identifiable trait of your competitors have an edge, don't we see the opportunity to do the same thing ourselves?
Even if these media outlets do well in Google News, if they abuse it, they should be treated with less authority.