SmallP - 8:50 am on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
@1script has really pinpointed the crux of the matter here. When I first moved Adsense into the "in your face" position suggested to me, the ads were relevant, interesting, useful and discreet - people honestly benefited from them. We made sure that Google could tell what the page was about, found a colour scheme and font size that worked for the site, and placed the ads in a fairly prominent position; as long as we played our part Google delivered relevant, interesting ads, visitors benefited and so did we.
Now the ads are often irrelevant, generic and yes, interest-based and creepy. We have lost control over how they look - the text can be any size, it can be bold or not, URLs can be at the top or bottom, the links now change colour on hover (and we don't specify the colour), sometimes there are 4 or 5 ads and sometimes there's one huge ad and sometimes there are 1 or 2 ads and a gaping hole ... basically the ads have become a real annoyance to visitors and an embarrassment to me.
Which is why I am moving them below the fold as fast as I can, and had begun doing so before Matt Cutts made his comment.