What I said, and what is true, is that with far more players and an increased proliferation of item trade, we have to factor in how many items are being found by players and how quickly a player can gear up by 'sourcing' items from others through trade and the convenience of the gold auction house.
It's not unreasonable to do so; I think the underlying complaint that people have is not that the AH is a factor in setting drop rates, but that the AH is such an efficient and convenient source of gear that the drop rates in-game are really low to make up for it.
I just got to Hell mode, and I haven't equipped an item I found myself in a long time, probably not since Normal. Nearly everything I'm using, I bought at the AH, save one or two gifts from friends.
Friends who are in Inferno give me the impression the system works a little better there, since with the Nephilem buff you do get a good amount of rares, and you can get a good deal of gold from the AH for them, which you can turn around and use to purchase the items you wish had dropped.
But the net effect is that it really trivializes Normal and Nightmare play, which has effectively been reduced to a ritual of getting as much gold as possible during a play session, and then spending it on upgrades at the end of each session. I'm expecting this to continue into Hell, unfortunately.
This is only exacerbated by the fact that there are no gold sinks; crafting isn't worth the investment, and durability loss hasn't been a huge drain for me.
And I think that's an issue that is worth trying to remedy. The company has taken huge steps in trying to get people to square off against champion packs in order to get the best items, but all I'm looking for is gold and a low buyout price.