BeeDeeDubbleU - 7:39 am on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)
poorly placed content, ads given prime real estate over actual content - Where your content is located is a big deal right now. What is your intention for your visitors? Do you want them to browse your site and read your articles, or do you want them to click your ads?
Google tells Adsense publishers to put the users first but they also want them to click the ads so I very much doubt that they would penalise anyone for any particular placement?
FROM GOOGLE: Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This "heat map" illustrates the ideal placing on a sample page layout. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance). All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.