diberry - 2:06 pm on Nov 2, 2012 (gmt 0)
The infuriating thing with google is that people look at the sites who ARE doing well and emulate what they have done. Copy methods, backlinks etc and get penalised for that all the while, the site that they emulated sits pretty and does not get touched.
I believe this is where some people got in trouble with Penguin in particular. The sites you copy may be doing spammy stuff, so now you are too. And whatever's keeping those sites ranking well despite their spammy methods may not be in place for you.