1script - 2:34 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
This otherwise useful discussion had wandered into a bizarre territory where there are two camps, both are saying almost the same thing and yet never agreeing on anything.
I'm kind of disappointed that so many WebmasterWorld members use "in our face" tactics to make money and want to keep it that way.
I don't know if there is one webmaster out there that does not recognize that ads are a distraction, a site usability concern and have to be handled with care. And no one would put ads before content and important site features without at least some consideration. But I want my users to be the judge, not some random (by definition) Google reviewer!
There is another aspect of this ad debacle that I don't see discussed much. The ads are supposed to be relevant! If they are not relevant, they are both annoying to visitors and not earning anything to the webmaster, so they will be removed by the webmaster themselves, no extra push from Google is required.
If the ads are relevant, I don't mind seeing a lot of them. But these days Google's own ads are very often interest-based i.e. absolutely creepy because they follow you around if you had a misfortune to search for something lucrative to advertisers. Interest-based ads are scaring bejezes out of people and they complain a lot. Yeah, you can opt out. But how many people actually do? Google does not want to let this revenue stream go while it's still legal and all of a sudden they want you to go subtle on the ads.
And if I may get back to the issue of those reviewers one last time: when I land on a site about widgets I like, I look around for ads, they serve as catalog pages to me. Someone came up with a new widget, someone made a device to make widgets and so on, I don't mind those ads a single bit and do sometimes click on them to check out the new thing.
Now consider a random Google reviewer landing on a page like that. They care none about widgets. All they care about is amount of ads, size and location on the page. Real visitors say yes, reviewer says no. How do you reconcile that?
Ultimately, the webmaster is responsible for balancing ads with the site's usability. But Google's scare mongering does not help. Instead of publicly recognizing their own responsibility as the largest online ad provider for making ads better, they chose to blame others.
Blame others for letting them show bad ads! It just doesn't get any more weird than that.