Just wanting to share some observations, I was restored into Adsense late January 2012 after being banned for showing gambling ads back in Sept. 2010 (even though G AdWords includes gambling sites galore, but that's another issue), so my numbers may or may not be indicative of anything.
Anyhow, ads have been good, even through Panda and the strong-arm tactics of G, saying pages with too many ads would get kicked down (sorry, I am not a techie, so my jargon may not be perfect). Most of my top pages have a literal plethora of ads at the top because the two CPM ad networks I use on my sites insist that vertical ads and banners be placed within the first 500 pixels (above the fold).
So, a big shrug of shoulders there, though one has to wonder how G has targeted these smaller CPM competitors with their algo adjustments. Seems like a serious restraint of trade issue to me.
It might be that my site, though loaded with ads, is designed with navigation that keeps people "thumbing through" or that I'm in an obscure, obtuse niche that doesn't have a lot of competition.
This month has been good, but on the 22nd and 23rd, I had my two best AS days on huge pickup in pageviews, but most of the traffic was coming from Russia, why, I have no idea.
Also, Google has been encouraging me to put more ads on pages. They sent me an email saying I had 581 pages with just one AS ad and could put two more on those pages. They've also sent me two $100 free advertising AW offers in the past two weeks, so, I am inclined to believe that they are fighting for market share tooth and nail.
One other note: I have Amazon ads on my site as well, but they're coming down. Lots of click-throughs (taking away from AS), but no sales. Absolutely worthless to me except if I want to advertise Amazon for free. Not really my intent.
Since I've been an AS publisher since 2003, I've seen many changes and have concluded that it's insanity to try to figure out G or their wonky algos, rules, etc. Kind of like eBay, which has more rules and regulations than the US tax code, which is impressive for a site that's supposed to be "just a venue."
On a political note, Amazon, Google and eBay are allowed to get away with legally dodgy practices without so much as a whimper from our Justice Department and have been doing so for years. Amazon maybe not so much, but the other two for sure. In a real world with honest political leaders, they would have been hauled in for restraint of trade, unjust enrichment and/or anti-trust violations long ago, but our current leaders, I suppose, appreciate the massive campaign contributions and look the other way.
I know what I just wrote may be bombastic or inflammatory, but I've been saying the same for years, all over the internet. Nothing will change. The big will get bigger and us "small fry" will fight to earn every nickel.
Best wishes to all webmasters, who are the vanguard of the new small business paradigm in America and around the world.