It seems as though something major changed with Google and the infamous sandbox about four months ago. I have no proof, other than my own observations and those of others. The sandbox theory has been around for some time now, which basically stated that new backlinks were placed into a sandbox and would not help the ranking of a site for up to 90 days or so. Just about the same time that Google ceased updating PR, the sandbox seemed to turn into quicksand. Getting a new site (less than four months old) to rank well has become an arduous task. Has the sandbox wait time been increased? Has the lack of a PR update caused it? Is an algo change the culprit? Research is underway to see if any answers can be found. I will report back with any findings.