Towards the end of last year we marked up our website with RDFa, and submitted to Google, telling them we wanted to be part of their rich snippet program.
2 months later, Google started showing our rich snippets within their SERPs. Initially results were fantastic, as you might expect from the increased CTR that rich snippets should give, and we saw a considerable jump in terms of traffic to the website.
This increase lasted for a week, when we started to see a decrease in traffic. This decrease continued to grow for 2/3 weeks, until we're now at a traffic level lower than we were previously. We've applied WOW and YOY analysis to determine a forecast of where we should be, and we're down considerably. We've pretty much discounted all other technical issues as being the cause of this drop.
So, in my mind, it appears that while we saw a benefit from the implementation of rich snippets, we subsequently saw some kind of penalty or filter applied against us because we increased traffic too much - all through a technique that Google are encouraging people to use.
I was wondering whether anyone else has witnessed anything similar with the implementation of rich snippets? Is this a plausible explanation for what I'm seeing? I'd really hope that Google wouldn't penalise you for using a technology they're encouraging webmasters to use, but it seems to be the only answer right now.