tedster - 4:57 pm on Aug 19, 2011 (gmt 0)
As I see it, there are a large number of signals that Panda looks at and combines into a final rating. So what's at work in one case might have nothing to do with another case.
Google engineers have mentioned "ads dominating a layout" so frequently that I cannot doubt this is in play. The issue is one of proportion, as I see it - do the ads make the content hard for the eye to locate. In other words, if the page is laid out to almost "force" visitors to go to the ads, and it only uses content as SEO bait for search results, then that is not a page Panda is going to like. This will be magnified if other Panda factors are also present.