Much as I feel what Shari has said is not far off the mark, I think she has really not graspedthe right stick here
I agree...it's one thing to say that the sandbox doesn't exist. Anyone can say that.
(though they CAN say it a bit nicer...LOL)
But for people that ARE seeing their sites 'delayed' there's no reason for them to give ANY credibility to someone that says "well I haven't seen it, so therefore it doesn't exist." It simply makes you look silly.
What needs to accompany any "the sandbox doesn't exist" commentary is an explanation of WHY it can't exist and what it is that's happening that makes people THINK it exists.
That's what I was trying to accomplish with this article.
The reason WHY it can't exist is because search engines aren't dumb enough to shoot themselves in the foot and limit their content. Search engines want MORE content, not less. So why would anything think it's logical for them to decide "your site isn't 9 months old yet, we don't want it." That's just silly.
The reason that people THINK it exists is because some sites really do experience a "delay." The delay isn't triggered by age though...it's triggered by a graduated scale of what makes a site "worthy" that just happens to be harder and harder to reach depending on how competitive the market is. That makes perfect sense from a search algorithm point of view AND from a business point of view.
Call it a 'sandbox effect' if you want...I call it "having to earn your way in." Seems like simple business logic to me.