tedster... there is no "radical shift"... g has (then again, this is MY view) gone mainstream towards the bucks as an operation. Panda is only five months old. A wake up call to the leeches, first adopters, those who bought into the dream of a green machine... and that is in money, not climate change. Panda is an ABSOLUTE CHANGE in the way things are done. No short term loss involved as this is a defined path.
I'm on the outside in this issue. I do not use or rely on Google. I dropped any expectation year two of g (three of my sites date back to 1996). As stated elsewhere at WW I've always avoided "eggs in one basket", "diversification is the charm" and "bull through with newspaper, radio and tv spots".
Google has some pretty smart fellers on payroll... might even fool a few smart fellers here, too. That "sacrifice" sounds a lot like Bell, Railroads, Ford/GM, etc. That "solid business" requires EVERYBODY PAYS to play... but to get the pump primed you give it away first. Then nudge in some charges, then double down and MAKE 'EM PAY. I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record (and I will stop, soon, perhaps this will be my last post on this) THIS HAS ALL HAPPENED BEFORE.
The LOCAL guys and gals have few choices. This is where it starts.