walkman: Thanks for the reply and advice. Yes they are full featured and stand on their own. They actually are the sites we spend the most effort on and have (had) the best SERP's. Our general sporting goods site does not have good rankings (obviously because it's so general).
Thanks for the help and the inquiries.
Here is the message:
Dear site owner or webmaster of example.com,
We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, your site may have what we consider to be doorway pages - groups of "cookie cutter" or low-quality pages. Such pages are often of low value to users and are often optimized for single words or phrases in order to channel users to a single location.
We believe that doorway pages typically create a frustrating user experience, and we encourage you to correct or remove any pages that violate our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
Our general sporting goods store does pretty well because it's our oldest, but a couple of our niche ones are far superior in rankings and sales. Backlinks are best to our niche stores because we work on them the most.
We really don't want to abandon our multi-site strategy. Customers like shopping on category specific sites and they tend to rank better. However there is always a fair bit of crossover product because many items are appropriate for all (think, sunglasses, clothing, accessories etc). We work hard to make each site content rich with unique articles, blogs, videos etc.
[edited by: tedster at 8:18 pm (utc) on Sep 12, 2011]
[edit reason] switch to example.com [/edit]