I want to add that in every forum that I have read and contributed to, it is always the people who did not have their sites crushed by Panda or hurt by Panda, that are the loudest and the ones that pretend that they know why other sites were affected.
These self-proclaimed intelligentsia can be found in every forum and they may have some valid points, but not one of them knows or understands anymore than the rest of us. Because it is all speculation. Google is not going to tell anyone what determines how they drop a site over another one.
I often hear these same forum experts talking about collateral damage, and they wouldn't know it from a grenade.
There is no collateral damage, it is all performed by bots.
Google's bots do not watch videos and they do not pay much attention to graphics either, only the code that is behind them. Google does not have thousands of personnel clicking from one site to another in each niche category and looking at each page. They do not have the manpower, and the costs involved would be astronomical even for Google. Get a grip.
It has more to do with the bounce rates of the visitors and the longevity of their stay on the site.
The entire Panda process was supposed to enrich the user experience and keep users from going to other search engines for finding relevant content to their searches. It has little to do with imaginary video feeds, pictures that are unique or anything to do with the prettiness of a website. Those elements can be user friendly and can help to keep a user on a site or may send them elsewhere.
It is all about whether the search terms that you are basing your content on is relevant to the searches or not, and whether the content is quality and what the searcher was looking for. Your content may all be brilliant and unique and possess real gems of wisdom, but if the searchers are landing on your web-pages for specific content and not finding it then there is a problem, and AdSense, or other ads are not an issue, or the problem. It is that the content is not what the keyword phrases produced in the resultant search and the users are not happy with the content that they were led to by Google when they typed the search term into the browser.
I mentioned one site that was all about the history of printing and printing presses. This site had an incredible amount of traffic for years and it all but vanished overnight. My guess is (and this is only a guess, I am in no way an expert) is that the site was getting a lot of traffic mistakenly, for printers in general. In other words, for new business computer and home computer printers.
This is my only reasonable conclusion, and until Google can straighten out the differences on its end of what each searcher is really looking for then many sites will suffer and many others will go on being in the search results that really have no better reason for being there.
All I have to say to all of the self-proclaimed experts that did not get hit or affected by Google Panda is good for you but I tire of hearing your expert knowledge and opinions that only reveal your egos and your lack of charm. You know who you are. Your site or sites skated by this time but maybe next time they won't.
I sincerely hope that no one is hurt again and that every site that is good and informative to the public remains in the searches where they belong, but we all know that is not possible.
As for the competitiveness of sites and their longevity and overall authority status. There will always be room for competition on small scales and this is because there will always be bigger sites and commerce sites looking for affiliates to help sell their products and reach more consumers. The tools will change and inventiveness will come into play, but there will be room.
Sure, there will be major affiliates that have deep pockets that will see your success and use it to their advantage, but do not let it get you down. There are other keyword phrases that can be optimized and put to use. You may have to settle for less monetary rewards but hey, it is called free market. Change your content to target the low hanging fruit and the lesser searched keyword phrases and I can guarantee you will see results. Don't let the bullies take away all of your efforts and have all of the fun and rewards.
We also know that Google is gradually losing some of the users that it is so addicted to. So no one is immune from Panda and its results, not even Google.