So, Panda is likely not due to lack of content or excess of ads. That really only leaves duplicate content issues.
That's not true. Panda is not just about 1 thing. I think given the fact that many sites that were effected had an excessive amount of ads, plus google changing their adsense best practice guidelines as well as them pointing out in their blog post: [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]
"Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?"
I think it is very safe to say that sites that give priority positioning to ads over content will be at risk of getting hit by panda.
If you read their list of what makes a quality site, it pretty much lines up with my theory. Take a look at these points:
Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
----Lindsay Lohan was locked up how many times?
Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
----Are you producing articles that are all over the web already such as the latest gossip such as Lindsay Lohan getting arrested or are you writing articles about other celebs that dont get as much coverage?
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
----You read a news article or watched tv on a hot topic story. You decide to write about it because its popular news such as Lindsay Lohan getting arrested for the 8th time. You do not present any new facts about the story, instead you point out that same facts as everyone else who has blogged about this story except for maybe throwing in your own personal opinion.
Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
-----Is your Lindsay Lohan article really any better than the other 200 websites writing about Lindsay Lohan getting arrested?
Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
-----You're not the only one writing about Lindsay Lohan getting arrested.
Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
----Besides your opinion, do you point any new facts about Lindsay Lohans arrest that are not already found on all the other gossip columns?
So as we can see I think it's pretty clear that Lindsay Lohan is to blame for google needing to release panda.