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Call it the flooded-market,tired-surfer,over-indexed,search-engine-reversal-trend with a side of restructuritis plaguing the overall market...
The same pattern here. GoTo adds partner sites --> clicks go up --> conversions go down --> bids go down as a result.
Wasn't it about the same time that GoTo also "enhanced" their keyword bids so that plurals and singulars were considered the same word? Other kinds of kw blurring went on as well, such as the compound and split-up versions of words now count as one word, etc. All of which makes it harder to target precisely.