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The two guidelines are
1. Ads shouldn't be placed under a title or section heading in a way that implies that the ads are not ads.
2. Ads should be easily distinguishable from surrounding content.
I agree in principle but I could swear I'd heard people say Google recommended placements very much like the ones in the pictures they use as examples.
Has anyone here been told to use a layout like these in the past?
Thing is, this is Google's program, and they expect people will inevitably push these guidelines to the limit in an effort to increase both real clicks and accidental clicks (gotcha clicks).
Yet, these guidelines are intended to not mislead the advertiser's traffic to their site, which wastes publisher's money and weakens their confidence in Adsense. Keeping this traffic as 'clean' as possible is in our interest, as publishers, too.