I own a website called starreviews dot com ... what was a pretty large reviews website with over 100 categories. We were doing over 3500 daily visitors all natural traffic and over $40K a month in commission with no expense. We had crap and duplicate content but it was all unique to us which has been cleaned up. We were doing limited link buying and from a pretty "reputable" company (whatever that means) but that stopped at Panda.
1. Panda hit and we basically abandoned the site. We updated the site when a vendor emailed us but removed 1000's of crappy articles.
2. Site slowly declined to about 500 visitors a day.
3. We cut site to 20 categories last Dec.
4. Penguin came along and it actually seems as though traffic was picking up.
5. Received un-natural links notice (not the sitewide one, just specific pages) (we have done NO seo of any kind in over a year and a half). We have a ton of scraper sites that use our content which I submitted for reconsideration.
6. Daily traffic is declining.
I am NOT an SEO guy, StarReviews is a legacy site that was leftover from a deal that I did.
It is almost unimaginable to me how we can get penalized for unnatural links when we haven't even touched the site in a year and a half. The site went from 3500 a day to 300 ... what more can Google do? We are doing PPC and that is successful but limited.
I am looking for some guidance. In the end I have no interest in learning SEO or focusing on it full time but this is a massive site and would be a shame to abandon.