Unfortunately the article also rewards J.C.Penney with followed links:
Google has responded using what the NY Times reports as “manual” intervention which has resulted in JCP dropping from position #1 to #68 in the SERPS.
This manual change is interesting as Google have said in the past that they don’t interfere with the SERPs and that the results are all algorithmically generated. So did they alter the algorithm, or is there some form of blacklist which is applied to the results?
It’d be interesting to hear a technical explanation from Google’s Matt Cutts on what actions were taken to correct the SERPS to ignore the paid links.