This has been a few days in the making, but, after having checked a number of different sites, it appears Google used a filter in its last shuffling of the databases to downplay the placement of a site just because of its domain name.
Though the way they did it is still being debated on the various forums, there are two main ways it could have been done.
First the impact on the SERPs of a site purely from its domain name seems to be lessened. This could also be a reduction in the weight given to repeated anchor text - and in many cases domain names are used as the link.
I would appreciate all comments on this one.