diberry - 2:53 pm on Jun 29, 2013 (gmt 0)
In the interests of talking about what works or something, my pure information sites are doing just fine. My Penguinized/Pandalyzed site got another boost around the 22nd. These sites make money on advertising - NEVER Adsense, btw. It's just not the best available for my topics/niches. They do not compete with a lot of spam because they're not built for Adsense terms.
But I don't think it's due to an update. I think it's due to appearance and coding improvements I've been making. Another site of mine that has always ranked well is starting to rank better after I made similar changes. This suggests to me that at least on non-selling sites, the algo still responds somewhat predictably to changes that make sites load faster, look better, appeal more to users.
So maybe those of you who are suffering with commercial sites and looking for ways to diversify, setting up pure information sites that have nothing to do with your commercial sites is a solution. Pick topics that have social media viral potential, and fit into major advertiser niches (NOT Adsense - you can do so much better). That CPM income could buy you time to work on other sources of traffic for your commercial site, or even help you pay for traffic to it.
Because on commercial queries? I agree with the majority that Google SERPs have gotten very strange. But Google's focus on killing the spam only affects those types of queries. Avoid those queries, and yeah, you may need several sites to get the volume of traffic put together that will make you a living or fund a small business, but it can be done. The potential with social media is actually bigger than Google.