@mickymar, I'll guarantee you that those sites do not rank well because they buy Adwords. But they might be able to afford Adwords because they rank well. And even more, Adwords can be a good way to stay afloat through lean organic SERPs if you can get a decent ROI.
Sorry to hear that you and your business decided to hang it up. It happens both offline and online, but it's almost always quite painful.