Thin end of the usual nasty wedge... today one small insert, tomorrow?
Although I have never ranked well on FAST, I have always batted for them, admiring the purity of their returns and hoping they would provide healthy competition for Google in the 'non-polluted' search engine domain.
That's all out of the window now of course, with this sell out.
I too noticed the adverts are actually billed under the term "Start Here". Yet another example of an SE deceiving its customers.
Honesty would dictate the word ADVERT. Lip service to honesty perhaps would lead to SPONSORED LISTING. Anything else is pure deception. It is a paid placement.. an advert.
They have to be careful of course. As I have observed many times, once an SE starts to compromise its perceived relevancy for short term click cash, the outward drift of searchers begins. Ask AV and others!
Another sad day for pure search I'm afraid, and in my opinion, the turning point for FAST in the long term.