AndyA - 1:43 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
And now that Google can run JS and perform POSTs, I guess they'll even appear to click the ads in some cases.
I can see where that could cause some huge problems, too. Will AdSense disregard ad clicks on AdSense ads from Googlebot, or will Googlebot be programmed to not crawl AdSense code? Some affiliate programs track the number of clicks and compare them to the number of actions or sales, and pay per click based on that ratio. A bot running through a site can get your account closed due to invalid clicks.
I agree that ads shouldn't be cloaked to reduce page size, that could cause a lot of problems. Google will likely penalize sites that do this, determining that the ads are being hidden to avoid "above the fold" detection. Plus, I'm not sure page size really matters so much these days. One site I know of has been listed at #1 for years and the page is huge. They just keep posting new content to the one page, and have done so for years. Last time I checked, it was well over 100K, and that doesn't seem to have had a negative impact on it.