Unfortunately, none of the SEOs who've looked at my site can figure out what google's issue with it is, and I sure can't either. This site is very similar to my others, which have never been hit by any update. I honestly just don't know what Google's issue is with the site.
So I came up with a better idea: I realized my niche is moving away from Google anyway (not en masse, but noticeably), so I started focusing on other traffic streams - traffic streams I'm betting will outpace Google in a few years anyway (again, just for my niche).
I'm still curious about this Penguin thing, but I'm not desperate to overcome it. I'm doing fine without Google.
Post in the members lounge and I'll take a crack at it.
However, it is worth noting that insider information as to the history of the domain (history of the links as deliverables) are needed. You can't simply take a cursory review of the domain to pinpoint a problem.
My arrogance served Ralph_Slate whether he wishes to believe that or not. It forced him to demonstrate what only he could possibly know and slowly he showed everyone that it wasn't PENGUIN at play. You can't possibly achieve that level of understanding without privileged information.
This is what I learned from Google... only Google (the Webspam Team) know the precise link makeup that they classified as inorganic. All 3rd party consultants are disadvantaged to understanding the framework behind any link and the more links involved the more complex the equation.
We can certainly guess and be right much of the time but if the owner says "I do not have inorganic links"... they presume to know what Google knows... and the end of that statement is "I do not have a PENGUIN problem."
Be that as it may, recovery from PENGUIN is simple... ignore the past and focus on the future. If you believe you have high quality content... make content that is even more desirable than that... you'll never get back to #1 maintaining the status quo.
[edited by: fathom at 5:59 am (utc) on May 6, 2013]