tedster wrote: That said, I'd also like to hear from anyone who escaped Penguin, including the use of these two approaches.
The SEOmoz Blog has a post titled "How WPMU.org Recovered From The Penguin Update". The specific situation may not apply to everyone hit by Penguin, but it might offer some clues.
The gist of the solution is that they removed something like 500,000 backlinks with anchor text that may have looked suspicious (footer links in WordPress themes they offered). Those backlinks were on a domain offering community blogs using their themes. The domain was also under their control, though, so they had it easy.