I don't know much about the Google, advertising, ranking, all that stuff.I now understand why you were so apprehensive about making significant changes to AWF...
The damage done to UA by a botched upgrade is probably irreversible.
But from the rest of it I tend to agree. I almost feel bad for UA, but they seem to have really wanted to follow a path of "doing it themselves", rather than going with more of a packaged solution. Now the threads containing reported bugs is filled with "We will get to this as soon as we can, we are stretched thin" type of stuff ..... It looks awful and is less functional, even from a Guest perspective when I try to poke around the boards, as I've done routinely for years (without logging in).
Jon I think you strike a wiser balance - I'm sure there is still PLENTY of work that you have to do, but you also leverage known, trusted platforms, which is smart. UA's move kind of looks like ego ruling wisdom and it didn't turn out so great.