In March 2012 I received a manual penalty from Google,the "unnatural links" warning. Over the course of the last 12 months I have tried just about everything to have the link removed. I have told them it was due to dodgy seo and also sent about 10 reconsideration requests trying everything from being nice and polite to being abrupt and critising them. The reply I got was always the same......we still see unnatural links...blah blah blah. I then started looking at the backlinks and cataloging them with quality ratings in a bid to trying to clean up the link profile. Then google introduced the disavow tool and I thought 'great', this should be easy now. I submitted a disavow request with all the links I had identified as being 'poor' and submitted it to google with a groveling appology and promised to make sure it didnt happen again. 2 weeks later I got the same....we still see unnatural links?? I was confused, I thought the disavow tool would just make this go away, but it seems not. I then did some more indepth link analysis and submitted a second disavow file, and reconsideration request. 2 weeks later I got the same....we still see unnatural links?? So I did the same thing 2 more times and kept getting the same warning back. By this time I had submitted over 1000 links for disavow out of the total of 4,400 links pointing to the site. I then decided that I had too actually start removing these links because the disavow tool alone was not enough, it seems google wants to actually see some effort. So I used a paid service that allows you to find, catalgoue and then contact the linking sites and submit a "please remove my link" request. I submitted about 20 link removal requests and then then hit Google with another disavow request 2 weeks later I got the same....we still see unnatural links?? I then thought, arghhhhhhh. So I decided to disavow another batch of links and be super super strict on quality, every single link that would not be classed 100% natural and squeaky clean with good content was added to the disavow tool, which was now at about 3,500.....I know, I hear you say thats a lot of poor quality links but some of them where probably fine but I wanted to remove everything that wasnt good PR with good content and no spammy anchors. I then used the service to submit another batch of link removal request, I think I did about another 100 before I got bored submitting them. I then uploaded the disavow tool to google with a final reconsideration request basically saying. "this is al I can do, there are no more links I can remove and virtually all the sites backlinks have been added to the disavow so if you dont accept this then the site will need to be shut down and the company will stop trading" BINGO 2 weeks later I got this. Code: Previously the webspam team had taken manual action on your site because we believed it violated our quality guidelines. After reviewing your reconsideration request, we have revoked this manual action. It may take some time before our indexing and ranking systems are updated to reflect the new status of your site.Of course, there may be other issues with your site that could affect its ranking without a manual action by the webspam team. 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 your site continues to have trouble in our search results, please see this article for help with diagnosing the issue. Thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of our search results. It had taken me nearly a year and approx 15 reconsideration request and the disavowing of over 3500 links and the removal request of about 120, to finally get this penalty lifted. The other good news is that today my site has moved up an average of 50+ rank for each of the keywords i was tracking. They are not back to the pre-slap positions but considering I removed so many links i wouldn't expect them to be, I will now need to start again and rebuild. its been a huge learning curve and if it should happen again I would be much more confident in getting the penalty lifted without needing to spend so much time on it. The key difficulty in all this is finding out which links Google is referring too, it may of been just one in my case but identifying which one was very hard with over 4400+ links pointing to the site.