I designed 70 plus websites all for outdoors related industry. All had their own separate domain names and hosting. All linked to each other. All were doing EXTREMELY well in Google. Last month all but 2 were went to the bottom. It so happens that the 2 that did not get punished did not link correctly because I had done the links wrong on them and they just had a bunch of links that did not work.
Observation: It is interesting that Google would rather have a website with 50 plus DEAD links than one that linked to pages they thought violated their cross link rules.
Question: I wonder if they sites will ever be able to move up again or will they be bottom dwellers for life. About the only they show up now is if a person does an "exact Phrase" search or is extremely specific. These websites are still listed but just way way down.
I have redone 12 of these websites and will monitor but would be interested in hearing from someone with similar experience to find out if sites that get moved to the bottom (all are 0pr but not greyed out) can be revived or any other ideas or input.
Just for further info I am a website designer and I designed these series of websites to sell ads on (<snip> could buy ads that linked to their own websites) and as incentives for <snip> to use my web design services. In other words if you let me design your <industry> website I'll give you free ads on some of these other websites.