Thanks tons for the clarification link. One great tidbit of insight there. For instance, if what he says is true, it shouldn't matter nearly so much if you have two 160x600's peeking from the last couple lines of the first screen (something we were personally very concerned about). As website designers, we just need to give readers a good reason to scroll down.
Although still ambiguous as to where the fold is. The description didn't indicate if he held the visual-aid 8x11 paper portrait-wise (perhaps symbolizing the entire webpage) or landscape (perhaps symbolizing just the first screen (i.e. above the fold)).
If we were to take him literally, and assuming the latter (landscape), and just do some quick math: 2 - 3x3in sticky notes = 18sq.in. divided by a 8.5x11in (93.5sq.in. total) means that 18/93.5 = 19.25% is too much? Wow, that is a pretty low ratio. However, if we assume the former then it makes a lot more sense that they simply don't want the total ad space excessive at the top, but still doesn't give us any idea what they consider too much... or the fold. Perhaps it will be a sliding scale of negativity based on the ratio. 0% ads 0 demerit, 20% ad ratio = 20% demerit, 80% ads = 80% demerit, etc.
I sure hope they can recognize things like, that with multi-column table formatted pages, text (or ads) which are 2/3 of the way down the source file can actually be viewed as the top of the 3rd column on the page. Eventually users will get USED to NOT seeing ads at the top and the heat map may change overall.
Hehe, I wonder what they would do if you started every page with your logo followed by 40+ BR meta-tags thus shifting ads and EVERYTHING below the fold? So what if _I_, and G's home page, LIKE a lot of white space - penalize me? Amazing how no one is allowed to place ads at the tops of pages except G now. Or what if you made your logo at the top of every page 1200x800? Or how about Non-clickable or Subliminal "ads" in your background art instead? Great for purely branding.;) (Aw shoot, did I just accidentally start a new marketing craze again?) Hey, [insert favorite pizza or soft drink name] are you listening to me here?
Anyway, there's just SO many things that can throw them off, that I don't think this change will work well.