Planet13 - 6:37 pm on May 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'm not discounting the idea, I'm convinced my site tanked because of this (wasn't Panda though, was 12th Jan - a pre-panda clearout?).
Wasn't that the time of the Scraper update?
If so, possibly google thinks your site is scraping content. Or, you have links from sites that had been scraping content, and the value of those sites went down. Or maybe many others are scraping your content and that is confusing google?
In the very narrow verticals I am looking at, off-topic reciprocals still work quite well, as do paid links in directories. I avoid them myself.
I do use CNVI's service. I can't say with any certainty that it has made a difference one way or the other. I will give it a few more months and decide down the road.
But in terms of link building, Matt Cutts has been saying this all along; Have content that is so GOOD that people will want to link to it. They will want to associate themselves with your site in some way.
and it has to not only be thoroughly researched, it has to be SEXY! It has to be something that gets people excited!
It's like name dropping; everyone wants to tell everyone about their meeting with the coolest guy in town.