I'm curious whether anyone has in fact seen a large image above the fold producing Panda-like drops when that image is not an ad.
I've recently seen a large linked image that is not exactly an ad - it's a call to action within the site, and it pushes all the text content below the fold. This is the standard layout for every page.
The site seemed to slide through the earlier Pandas pretty nicely. It just got nailed 36 hours ago - but it's not yet clear whether this current update is truly Panda or just some big change to the rest of the algo.
it's a kind of design strategy I think of as the Fisher-Price school. In some markets, it gets insanely high conversion rates. But a high percentage of very low traffic would still be a problem for anyone.