Well, don't know how "sudden" they were...
I've discovered white spaces that weren't there before in two hubs. Hadn't visited either of them in around a month.
My guess is that HP adjusted some width(s) a character or two. Sometimes that's all it takes for the automatic ad placements to then throw everything out of whack.
Could be wrong about the cause. Whatever. At any rate, something to watch out for.
I just checked a couple of my Hubs paradigmsearch, and I seem to have those spaces also. Maybe it is HP but perhaps Google is making adjustments of some type.
You are right. I think ad length can alter things; in fact, I think I just saw it happen. It's also occurred to me that font changes could cumulatively shorten or lengthen a text capsule by a line or two. That could also be enough to trigger ad-placement adjustment sometimes, which could result in new white spaces.
It's not Google.
Are you noticing this to the left of an Amazon ad? When HP moved single Amazon ads to the right, it left a big hole in the copy content on the left. You have to write more content to get it to even out.
I seem to remember reading on another thread that this is linked to the volume of traffic your hubs collectively get over a 24 hour period.
If the views (over all your hubs together) drop below a certain figure (not sure how many that is), then only one of your AdSense ads is shown at the bottom of your hub. As soon as the collective views go up, the second ad magically reappears.
Hopefully, someone else will add to this thread and be able to confirm (or deny!) this.
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