Google announced In Pubcon that Content/Ads position on a certain page is going to be a factor in ranking. First off, hasn't Panda already addressed this issue. 2nd. Looking at Google Search page most of the results are under fold while the ads positioned above and colors are merged.
3rd. Adsense keep asking to put more ads on a page.
4th. To what extent this is a factor? 10%? 20%?
5th. Why 2M traffic site/brands with premium accounts can select variety of ad formats while others don't have that option. Is it a fair play?
[edited by: Zivush at 6:16 pm (utc) on Nov 10, 2011]
Now, do you think Google is going to touch Forbes?
Panda certainly did clobber some very big names this year - The Today Show and The Motor Report come to mind.
I'd say we need to remember that a "ranking factor" is not the same as an iron-clad rule, such as "don't do this or we WILL demote you." Rather it's one of many signals that are integrated in a complex ranking algorithm. A site like Forbes has a lot of other positive signals going for it, no matter what they are doing with ads above the fold.