I think youre right about the content. Thats what sels a site, thats what gets you links, thats what draws people to your site. but if you dont sell anything, and dont have any revenue stream then you are just pouring good money down the drain. Users understand banners, they dont make a lot but they do go towards site running costs. I think there is a balence. so long as you dont tip the balllence your users are happy to see ads, it's when you start to deceive the user and make them feel uncumfortable, they leave.