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If you wern't using paid links, then do you mind if I ask whether you might have an idea why your site is penalized?
I've long believed that manual reviews play a bigger role in Google than is commonly thought. But I think that they are probably triggered by reaching a certain level of Google traffic rather than a certain position in the SERPs. For example, any site that starts getting 10,000 or more Google referrals per day will automayically be reviewed. (10,000 is just an example -- I don't know the real threshold)
I queried the ban on the Google forum and some of the guys there said it was viewed as just a doorway page for the site it linked to. That sounds the most likely answer to me.
Huh... so when you did the reinclusion request, I am guessing it just said something like "some of the pages are still inviolation fo the terms of service" or something like that, right?
Is it possible it is more panda related than a manual penalty? I guess you were tracking the visitors since you said that you saw that it had been manually reviewed.
Maybe someone files a spam report on every site that climbs to the number 2 spot in the rankings for your keyword and this triggers a manual review.
Do we need to stop our sites from rising too high?