austtr - 5:37 am on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)
OK... can't resist this one.
I've posted a few times in other threads that maybe its all about the money so I'll not harp on that again.
I don't have mountains of irrefutable data to call on, just the signals and indicators that I see everywhere... and I have come to the conclusion that Google has called time on all sites that made a living off Google traffic without owning or operating an actual business.
For years sites like affiliates, advertising platforms, business directories, shopping portals, SEO operations etc etc became experts in how to manipulate the SERP's in their own favour and generated revenue from the "free" traffic they got from Google.
My gut feel is that Google has said "enough... these sites are pariahs and have to go. They add nothing to our search results that isn't available via the merchants own site... and they divert money from our revenue streams"
I think this is why we are hearing so many reports of sites that never come back, despite all the remedial work that is poured into them.
My sites fall into the group that I described above and there were about 10-12 serious players in my niche, all operating similar sites and generating revenues the same way. Penguin took out every single one at exactly the same time. I struggle with those types of coincidences.