Rasputin - 3:33 pm on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)
leads me to believe getting out of the penguin and panda sink hole is very hard/near impossible
I have just been communicating with someone at one of the leading affiliate-publisher-management sites about our reduced performance, and of course mentioned panda and penguin.
They said "Unfortunately it’s something we’ve been hearing from the vast majority of publishers on the network"
Before that I was slightly optimistic about recovery through hard work - better content, getting ancient links removed etc - but if 'the vast majority' of publishers in our niche are affected (and this seems consistent with what I see every day in the SERPS) then clearly this suggests it is a deliberate 'attack', at least on sites in this popular niche, to keep them out of the serps.
Some of us might have poor quality spam sites, but the vast majority? I don't think so.
So I suspect no amount of effort will get us 'out of the penguin and panda sink hole', and hence the very few reported cases of recovery.