Andem - 9:25 pm on Dec 6, 2011 (gmt 0)
I actually did an experiment of my own. I moved some of the most important pages of my site to a subdomain. Traffic literally tripled for 2 weeks (almost back to pre-Panda) and then dropped back down to Panda numbers. I suspect the 301s were responsible for the drop, because during the 'honeymoon' period, Google was listing both versions (the one on the new subdomain always first).
I have considered several times to move parts of my site to new domains partially because of my subdomain experience but also out of desperation. I still can't get myself to do that because over the years, I have met people who know my brand and web site address anywhere from new friends across the ocean to people I've met in airport lounges to a member of parliament.
An example worth mentioning in this thread is an ongoing experiment I've been conducting which involves a completely restructured version of a very popular section of my big site. Every single page on the experiment site is a copy of the original with a very small difference: At least one phrase or word has been rewritten (be it favourite -> favorite or 'f00bars can be found at' -> 'foo bars are available from', 'we think you' -> 'we believe you should'). Some search terms rank the experiment of scraped content in the top 10, some below the original, but most are far above what was 'stolen' from the original page. The whois info on the fake is also an alias registered at my brother's address at an address in a different country. Just like the fake's whois info, the scraper site is also hosted in a different country.
Almost like clockwork, each Panda iteration sees my experiment scraper site either completely drop or gain a lot in Google SERPS. Meanwhile, the original site with original content published between 1997 - 2011 with tons of references from government sites, national newspapers, and a huge array of PR5-PR8 sites continues to slowly decline.
Am I really forced to create a new site just because some ridiculous 'algorithm' Google 'geniuses' have developed think I'm not OK?