1script - 4:56 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)
The push for less ads could not have started at a worse time than in a middle of a holiday shopping season. Neither Google nor webmasters would benefit from that. However, we've all seen examples of companies, big and small, not doing what's in their best interest. I also don't see how less ads on OTHER sites would help Google long-term if that's a short term hit they are taking now to gain something later. You could have argued less ads on THEIR sites would be more appropriate but no such luck, ha?
What is it, Google trying to cool the overheated Internet marketplace? If that worked, they would be the ones taking hits now and in the future because if they kill the little guys (OK, I admit, everyone has a different definition of "little" in this case), less people would use a search engine. If all that's left of the Net is Amazon and eBay and a few other megasites - you don't need Google. You'll just head straight for the megasite you want and search for what it is you want right there.
Anyhow, I think that this newfound aversion to ads stems from them using human raters more often and closer to the output of the algo than we realize. Humans hate ads, nothing you can do about it and you're guaranteed to get more negative ratings if you have more ads. Might as well embrace it if you depend on the output of your Internet rater sweatshops so much.
In addition to that, after reading the leaked rater guidelines, I see an interesting detail in there: the samples given describe a Ukrainian rater logging in and rating English sites. What do you think they will more quickly respond to: the amount of ads and the overall look of your site or what's actually written in there?
Google is becoming a big Web design pageant. Great for your Web design business! Not so much if you thought your content matters more than how your site looks...