A poll from SERoundTable suggests strongly that the disavow tool is
useless for the majority of people suffering with penalties:
Of course anyone on this email list will be only too aware of that
since we have been saying for many years that the disavow tool is only
successful when negative SEO is involved and generally instead bad
links need to be actually removed.
DO YOU KNOW! We have the best bad link removal tool in the world!
Not only will our tools find the bad links for you but they will also
find the contact details, then post messages to the webmasters using
the contact forms demanding action. This tool has to be seen to be
believed, and every good SEO Agency worth his sort will use our
Automatic Link Removal Tool if they have any sense!