We do operate several city specific websites where our URL is something like "CityNameNiche.com" and most of our sites are 10+ years old.
Until mid March we were pretty lucky and never got hit by any of the those animals (Panda, Penguin etc) and traffic to our sites has been steady for years. No major up/downs.
With the latest mid March update, we took 40-50% hit on all of our sites and even though our domains are still ranking high for the exact domain keywords, it seems like we lost many of those deeper links pointing to individual businesses. DomainName.com/businessName
I really think Google screwed up on this update. We never participated in any shady SEO and our sites are legit/trusted sites with millions of users every year and even the listed businesses are actually paying to be listed on our sites.
Just because the domain name is matching the city name and the niche, it doesnt mean we are some spammers. We paid top dollars for some of the domains just to have clean, easy to remember and city specific domains. All .com, no hyphens, no link exchange, no BS.
Jesus, if I have a directory for city specific niche (lets say doctors), I cant think of a better name than CityNameDoctors.com. What kind of spam is that? If I sell blue widgets, of course I want BlueWidgets.com. Whats wrong with that?
Anyway, we took a risk and starting today, we forwarded one of the sites to a new domain. I'm not sure what to expect as the original domain has been around for so long ...
BTW not sure what we are going to tell our customers ... maybe something like "sorry, Google doesn't like CityNameDirectory.com anymore so we are switching our website to RandomDomain.com".