For the first time ever, at least that I've seen, Google has replied to a reconsideration request telling the webmaster that his site was not penalized with a manual penalty. Since there was no manual penalty, there is nothing Google can manually do to help the site rank any better.
In the past, Google did not reply to people who submitted reconsideration requests and did not have a penalty. Instead they just let the email sit idle, delete it or ignore it completely. Now they are replying to some, telling them they have no manual penalty.
Here is a copy of the email as posted in WebmasterWorld:
Dear site owner or webmaster of
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider
for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team.
Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users.
If you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search.
If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
This is good news. Now if you get one of these responses and you know you are penalized, you can make changes, wait for Google to recrawl your site and then hope whatever you fixed made a difference. Because automated penalties will fix themselves automatically when you make the necessary changes and Google picks up on those changes in their crawl.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.