roycerus - 11:40 am on Dec 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
We lost about 2/3rd of our traffic around the same time. The algorithm for site wide penalty is rather flawed specially when its brought in suddenly.
I'll give you our example - we run a user generated content network - now there are probably 500,000 different discussions and approximately a total of about 16 million comments. It's easy to see why it would be impossible for such a setup to all of a sudden start removing thin comments or comments which have grammatical errors.
While Google suggest automatically corrects the spellings and displays the correct spelling results by default - which has changed, as they used to suggest the correct spelling results in a link before. The default has been changed at some point.
The fact remains that we don't have the technology to make such changes when the users comments on our site.
If you can correct it in the query - correct it in the indexed content also so valuable insights are not lost because of the user's spelling/grammar errors. Or create an algorithm to identify relevant insights to the user's issue.
What however puts me off is the lack of feedback to/from Google to Webmasters. There should've been some sort of mechanism to take feedback from Webmasters before making such algorithm changes.
Small publishers like us possibly won't survive this.