Last Updated Mar 19, 2008 3:55 AM EDT
A revised rating system was employed, and quality raters now have eight options for the sites they randomly review:
4. Not Relevant
6. Didn't Load
7. Foreign Language
Besides this, online merchants are also given a litmus test. This from Search Engine Land:
E-tailers will also want to take note of guidelines for how raters consider commerce sites. Shopping carts, return policies, shipping calculators, and gift registries are among the features raters should look for when rating a site as relevant.
The guidelines for the merchants are ostensibly to separate "thin" affiliates from true and trusted merchants. Although the entire PDF is 43 pages long (and its verifiability is still up in the air) - I do think a cover-to-cover once-over can help answer a lot of your questions about Google's latest search marketing efforts. My favorite quote from the document was towards the end, but the whole thing is full of these:
When trying to decide if a page is Spam, it is helpful to ask yourself this question: If I remove the scraped (copied) content, the ads, and the links to other pages, is there anything of value left? If the answer is no, the page is probably spam.
Quality and Raters' image by SMN [cc, 2.0]