AlyssaS - 5:22 pm on Feb 6, 2011 (gmt 0)
Its BECAUSE they are SO BAD that google makes so much money - people just cant stay on the scum sites - they click on the ads to get away from the drivel spun and re-spun text and duplicated inaccurate information.
Google does NOT make most of it's money from Adsense on content sites. They make most of their money from Adwords on the search results pages themselves - I think it's three-quarters of their income is directly from the search pages. That's because a) they serve up billions of search pages every day (which dwarfs the pages loaded that have adsense on it) and b) most advertisers prefer to advertise directly on the search pages rather than the content network, because it is more targeted and they get a better quality of visitor.
Anyone who has advertised on G knows that the cost per click charged for the search pages is higher than that charged for the content pages (sometimes double).
Then there is the fact that G has an interest in display advertising (pay per impression) through Doubleclick, which draws in mainstream advertisers like Renault and others to do old fashioned brand-awareness advertising, which in the olden days used to go onto newspapers and magazines. Plus G owns an affiliate network which has plenty of big players signed up (Target etc).
The idea that they are mainly dependent on Adsense on content farms is wide off the mark.