To counter what's been said, the model had been the same hasn't it? The organic traffic was being provided to the "little guys". It's been like that since the beginning of Google. It's only been since Panda that this shift in results created the Wikipedia and "big brands" results.
So Google knows and has known for quite a while what that algo provided in terms of profitability as it existed. The choking off of organic traffic in the competitive and profitable segments for the "little guys" is a new way. From what I'm reading, something went up and that was profit.
Panda is being sold as the content farm killer and will only affect about what, 13% of searches according to Cutts?
The reality is that currently it's a slow extermination. I'm sure a majority of people relying on organic traffic are spoiled and not in the mindset of buying ads to get traffic. Those people will exterminate from those areas and find other rat holes to scurry into. That's fine with Google right? They want quality results.
The reality is that the web is made up of a majority of small websites who run ads or affiliate links. So for Google, what's better? Thousands of webmasters paying for Adwords or a few brand name sites paying for Adwords? I would suspect that 10,000 accounts vs 1,000 accounts, the 10,000 accounts does more for Google in the long run.
Let's talk facts. I've read a few articles about Adwords increases lately or in the post Panda world. If this is the case then there is no consipiracy theory. I completely disagree that the correlation between Google profits/Adwords is not tied to Panda/algo changes. We don't need to say conspiracy theory. Let's look at before and after. There is a choke happening slowly so it will be a bit more gradual to see the full effect. In closing, there is a direct correlation between a algo which raises the quality bar so high that it chokes organic traffic and results in people turning to the Adwords option. Not debatable. So regardless of what makes sense, the proof is in the pudding. If those revenues increased during the Panda algo, guess what. It's no conspiracy theory at all. Period.