>> Would google pass it's own content test? Is 3 adverts at the top of each
set of search results really what a user wants to see? (along with
another load of ads all the way down the right hand side of the page)?
Good point. Google has always done it's best to assure that people don't unfairly weasel their way to the top of the SERPs by buying incoming links......unless of course they're willing to pay Google enough money to get there, in which case it's fine.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the business model and the logic, but it's kind of hypocritical to say the least.