Reno - 4:18 pm on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)
whatever gave you the idea that any US corp would act any different from any other US corp
EXACTLY! Please, everyone, Google is NOT your friend ~ they are a for-profit, publicly traded worldwide corporation that serves its stockholders first; its executives second; it's users third; its lower level employees forth; and you barely at all. That is the reality and all the "Google is not fair" commentary that they hear will change nothing, as they are clearly determined to unfold their long-term business plan, which is total domination. Fairness has not been an issue with them for many years (at the very least since the IPO) ~ it is profit and profit alone that drives the company, and that, as Leo said, should not be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.
Re the OP, I definitely sense a connection with affiliate links but cannot get a handle on how deep it runs. I have a few affiliate links on most pages, along with other more useful content, and have been crushed by Panda. Is there not enough "useful content" in relation to the links? Is there a ratio I need to uncover?. Do not know. It's confusing because some people here are using affil links with no loss of traffic; others are using them minimally with huge losses. It's a mystery to me, like everything else with Panda. The bottom line is, I'm happy with my sites and feel they are good for my users. If I could determine changes that would make Google happy without my surrender to their penalty-obsessed philosophy, I would do them. In other words, I would have to find those changes to be reasonable. But I'm not playing their stupid-@ss games anymore ~ I did that for too long, and I've had enough.