Most forums have a feature that allow you to automate your signature at the end of each of your posts. So instead of signing off each post with, "All the best, my name here" you can place that in your signature file and it will automatically post that signature after each post. Today, people use it to put your slogan, their company info and links to sites they represent.
I just saw a DigitalPoint Forums thread which discusses some forums allowing members to place Google AdSense block ads within their signature file.
Is this legal, or in accordance with Google's terms of service for the AdSense program. I would think so. Is this use of a signature file what one would consider proper? I don't think so.
Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums.