Now, please note that I do not in any way, shape, or form, oppose advertising. It is because of advertising that we have newspapers and magazines that are as cheap as they are. It is because of advertising that public transportation is as cheap as it is. It is because of advertising that we have, at least in the U.S., television and radio without having to pay a license fee, and without the broadcast media necessarily being a propaganda tool of whatever party happens to be in power.
And it is because it was driven by advertisers who wanted to pitch their products in living color, without rendering massive amounts of broadcasting and receiving hardware functionally obsolete, that the transition to color television, running as it did from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, went so smoothly and painlessly (as opposed to the HDTV transition which, driven as it was by equipment manufacturers who very much wanted to render massive amounts of broadcasting and receiving hardware obsolete, may have been quick, but it was neither smooth nor painless).
But two things:
1. I definitely agree that with both the sidebar and the ad column, the home page is hopelessly cluttered and difficult to read, because the forum column is so narrow.
2. In any advertiser-supported media (including public broadcasting when any form of "made possible by" announcements are given), one must always keep in mind that to the extent that the media is advertiser-supported, the readers/viewers/listeners are NOT the customers; they are a PRODUCT that is being sold to the ADVERTISERS, who are the real customers.