diberry - 5:40 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)
I'm confused about the giveaway - are legitimate giveaways in violation of Google policy generally? Or just under certain circumstances, and if so, which ones? I'm just wondering because there are a lot of top-ranking sites that do legitimate giveaways where you enter by subbing to their newslist or liking them in social media. It doesn't seem like this alone could possibly explain the site getting wiped out completely.
I've thought of one other possibility: hacking. Any chance the site was serving malware at any point and probably didn't even realize it? You said they had "ads for a giveaway" - any chance the ads were carrying something nasty? Or any other part of the site? Most Wordpress hacks leave noticeable trails such as injecting files onto your server. Look for iframes in the source code that you can't see the reason behind, too.
I can't go into too much detail, but I've seen sites I know aren't 'messing up' be either not indexed or removed after a brief period of indexing and the only thing I (and others who have been doing this a while) can come up with is there's just not enough 'uniqueness' or 'difference' there for Google to warrant putting them in the index and a low number of inbound links does nothing to say, "Hey Google, people like this, it should be included...'
Thanks, TMS, I wasn't aware of this. It definitely sounds like there's more going on in this case, but this is good information to have all the same.