netmeg - 2:45 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)
Did you try to mark the relevant text on your pages as ad-sections? There was some kind of markup (don't remember the syntax) to exclude non-relevant text on pages so the ads get more targeted.
I'm not sure that's still true. I went looking for that last month when someone asked, and it looked like it wasn't in the help docs anymore; they may have discontinued the targeting code. With so much interest based advertising going on, maybe it's outlived its purpose.
Any word on if something happened to shut the favicon testing down or is it just temporary(or just me)?
No, they're not showing for me today either. Maybe some glitch that they have to fix.
One more thing re interest based advertising - the reason Google is so into interest based advertising is because it works. As an advertiser on behalf of my clients, I know that advertisers *really* like interest based advertising, because it converts like a mofo. I'm reasonably sure that across the board interest based advertising is quite lucrative for advertisers, publishers and Google. But that doesn't mean there won't be some collateral damage, and some sites won't do as well with IBA as they do with straight contextual. That's unfortunate, but I don't see Google reversing that trend. So disable IBA at your peril.