driller41 - 8:44 am on May 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
This is a subject close to my heart currently, I have launched a dozen new sites, these are very small 10 page sites targeting very low search volume keywords, 250 per month.
I launched these at christmas, some do ok, on page 1 after a few days - the quickness to index and rank is notable.
I point a few links - twitter is one.
They tend to bomb after 8 weeks, recovery is debateable.
Remember that these are stupidly low search volumes - there are not that many relevant sites above mine to justify a 10 page demotion.
In terms of SEO techniques, they are all pretty similiar, simple HTML code no wordpress for example.
In fact you cannot put a sheet of paper between the sites yet some will rank and some tank.
I would say there is not a simple sandbox, for example a site will stay there for x weeks, you seem to get an airing on page one for 4-8 weeks whilst they decide what to do with you then a roller coaster starts - mostly downhill at the moment, to me it makes no sense to put a site on page 25 for a low volume search term, so I am scratching my head at the moment, I will let them sit there for a while then build some links when they are 6 months old.