I think you've made an interesting case for people trying to SEO/monetize their boards... but I might challenge with a chicken / egg question. Was the board founded to make money? Or are they simply trying to make money off of their board?
My concern is with the former. Be it a board or other type of web site, when I see a site that has - to my eye at least - no other purpose except to try to make money, that is where I see problems coming. I don't want to be the pot calling the kettle black, here, so let me provide a couple of specific details. I have a phpbb board that I started five years ago. For 2+ of those years we were ad-free. As the board grew, the reality was I could not fund it out of my pocket anymore, so we took on sponsors. Later on someone pointed out that I could use google as well.
Well, heck, I say to myself, let's just see how hard this is.
Thirty minutes of coding effort later and I'm pulling in $100 a month. Am I going to leave that sort of money behind? Heck no. Am I trying to increase it? No, actually, I'm not. My google ads are placed in the worst possible spot: the bottom of the page. I don't have ads in the topics (I hate that). I already have sponsors that take up the banner space at the top of the page, and the sponsors are going to pay the bills because they are fixed income. Google fluctuates wildly from one month to the next. So, two points here. 1. I have google ads on my board because it is so very easy and the money is good. 2. The core purpose of my board is not to host ads but to provide content. I believe that it is for this reason that the board has lasted as long as it has.
So in my rambling way, I'm back to the "I blame google" bit again. I blame google because 1) as I said it is very easy to set up google ads on a site, and 2) because of this I strongly feel the ratio of "ad-based" to "content-based" sides is going in the wrong direction
. If google didn't make it so easy, or if they policed those site to ensure that there really was content being displayed, would it make a difference?
Could google, in some warped and twisted way, be classified as a spammer? Think about it. How often have you (you = anyone reading this topic, not anyone in specific that has replied so far) searched and become frustrated because the bulk of the sites you found were worthless? How many of those sites included google advertisements?
According to the latest financial statement that I found on their web site, google had $721,077K in net income last quarter. They made $92.73 per second (assuming a 90-day quarter). That's $333,831.94 per hour. There is a powerful incentive there to try to get a piece of that pie.
Google 10-Q wrote:How We Generate Revenue
We derive most of our revenues from fees we receive from our advertisers through our AdWords and AdSense programs
AdWords is their program to sell advertising. Adsense is their way to deliver advertising. They sit in the middle and take a penny or two (or more, much more in some cases) from every click, or in some cases for every page view. All I have to do is get a site that someone else is dropping, or even set up a site with good keywords and SEO, and then repeat that process about a thousand times. I have sites that require zero or very little maintenance, and I am skimming just a little bit of that $333K per hour that google provides.
And giving nothing back in return.
I still blame google.