In the Friday Google webmaster hangout on Google+ John once again addressed Thumbtack quick reversal of the manual action and added that it is often the case that many large and big brands do have manual action issues as well as algorithmic issues they have to deal with for a long time.
But beyond that, John Mueller from Google said that it isn't uncommon for a site to play games for years and then it finally come back to bite them years later and they have to fix the issues and it isn't overnight.
John said, "maybe they’ve been building up for years and years and finally it kind of bites them that they’ve been doing things wrong for such a long time."
I've seen this to be the case many times but telling someone that when a competitor has been spamming Google for years and they still rank well is something that is not easy.
The conversation began around 28:39 minutes in, here is the video embed at that time followed by the transcript.
I wouldn’t say that’s the case. There are a lot of situations that don’t get picked up by the SEO blogosphere and there are big brands that do have problems with manual actions, that do have big problems with algorithmic changes.
Just because nobody is talking about them doesn’t mean that they’re not fighting hard to try to resolve these issues.
Some of these have to wait just as long as other sites, so it’s not...
I totally understand it looks weird when you look at it in the press and say oh, well, this site got a manual action here and I got a result here, but there lots of sites that don’t end up with the press like that that have the same problems and they have to fight it much longer to kind of really resolve the issues that maybe they’ve been building up for years and years and finally it kind of bites them that they’ve been doing things wrong for such a long time.
Forum discussion at Google+.