It usually takes a while for ads to be properly targetted when first put on a page. However I agree that targetting isn't too hot but I usually find that down to misinterpretation of other keywords - (eg mention a location and you get swamped by otherwise off topic ads for business at that location).
I have had ads back on now for close to ten days so I'm not sure if the poor targeting is related to his, it very well could be. However, that said I am only returning the ad blocks back to their former positions amongst the same content where they were previously displayed for about five years or more.
But I think that as the Adsense team makes all the changes trying fix an unbroken record then I guess we will see more of this.
There lies the crux of the entire matter for me, I think. I have heard other publishers say that times were better for them in the old contextual days and I think the same applies in my case.
What amazes me is just how does Google keep earning more when so many long-term publishers report falling earnings. Yes, I do know some are reporting increases however if one reads around the general consensus is of falling earnings.
I note that Nutmeg is putting forward a point of view which to me seems quite fair and reasonable but which is completely at odds with yours. Yet I am still inclined to agree with you. I suppose there is only anecdotal evidence available to us but unfortunately that is all we have. I have been reading the posts here on WebmasterWorld, other forums and blogs which do seem to correlate with what we have previously discussed regarding changes to earnings over the last eight months or so. I know from own my experience that this revenue downturn is like no other which I have ever experienced in my five to six years of Adsense.
Instead of talking about Adsense and other networks, we need to be starting proactive threads discussing the ups and downs of selling your own ads, other income streams, etc.
Great Post Feedom and I agree that selling ad space directly looks like the next best option. I for one cannot claim to have any expertise in selling direct ads so I also welcome the suggestion for a forum related to this type of alternative income stream.