walkman - 8:44 pm on Sep 20, 2011 (gmt 0)
My argument has to do with the clear & consistent trend that we see at Google, which is to minimize or even erase the perception between organics and paid. It's purposely tricky & duplicitous, and is as wrong for Google as it would be for GM or Prudential or Microsoft or any other public corporation.
No doubt Tedster and any reasonable person sees it. And every reasonable person should agree that ads should clearly labeled as such. Different color background maybe, different font but definitely with - ADVERTISEMENTS - and with the same alignment as the ads...not 600 px to the right. The text color and size should not barely be visible either but in the same color and text as the description, say #333333 and 12px.
This is the only way to remove most doubt and it should be enforced by threat of crippling penalties. Why is it OK to fool people into clicking on ads, especially in such large scale? It's not OK. In fact it could very well be fraud; it harms us and users since what they click might not be the 'best' site (that click money Google got has to be paid by someone.)
Then they are other issues like content vs ads relevance but that's more complicated.