In short, he blames himself. He said, he got comfortable and lazy and didn't invest in his site because it was doing well. Then one day, Panda came along and took it all away from him but he said he blamed himself for sitting back and not innovating, thinking it will last forever.
It is a pretty amazing post to read and honestly, it is a nice read. Let me share it here, but he shares more feedback in the thread:
We're up 100% (Google traffic) on one site and 75% on another since Monday. That doesn't come close to closing the gap that Panda and Penguin created over the last 3 years but it helps.
The site with a 100% increase (from 600 daily visitors to 1,200) was completely rebuilt. We've actually seen a gradual 1,200% increase since early this year with various other updates. As of today, that's 2,400% traffic growth since January.
The main work done was: [snip]
We pretty much did everything we could think of that would push the needle in the right direction. We spent over $100,000 on the rebuild not to mention thousands of man hours.
On the site with a 75% traffic increase we did much of the same however it was newer and needed less of an overhaul.
Frankly, after all of our work and frustration for years now not seeing an increase, always dreaming of the day when Google would come back around, I still have high expectations for growth to come. Back in 2011, we had 7,000 users a day coming from Google that eventually slipped to 50 early this year. We're back to 1,200 but we'll need to double three more times to attain our former glory.
I will say this about Panda/Penguin and Google's algo improvements in general. I was the first to complain about how Google almost destroyed my business. It has been very hard. We have laid off numerous employees and lost more advertising customers than I can count. It's cost us more than one potential acquirer. Safe to say that Panda/Penguin has cost me personally millions of dollars in the last 3 years.
And I believe, Google did the right thing with these improvements. I got comfortable and when you get comfortable you can get lazy. I got lazy. I didn't innovate my sites. I didn't improve the content like I should have. I didn't police the scrapers and copyright thieves to protect my content. I didn't employ the newest, fastest technology to make sure my users had the best possible experience. I didn't do these things because we were getting $10,000's of AdSense revenue a month without making any investments. I thought that would never change. Why invest in the health of the cash cow if it just keeps producing milk every single month with only minimal care?
Shame on me and every other webmaster that got comfortable. It's like a marriage. You don't get to stop working at impressing your spouse once you're married. You have to keep working at it or one day, you'll wake up and they'll be gone.
I will never let this happen again to my business. I have learned a valuable lesson that I hope I get to use to my advantage before the bankers come beating down my door.
Just a reminder, to take my Panda 4.0 poll if you have not.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto for comfortable Panda