Virtual toothpicks for eyeballs

I’m sure you know the answer to this:

Is it intentional that, when I visit a page that has an article on it that I’ve been trying to find, and you know sometimes that’s easy and other times not so much… the article remains readable for a moment or two, just long enough for me to glimpse it and verify that this is probably what I’ve been trying to find — before an ad floats in on top of it?

Yes. The reason is the difference between Absolutely No Response and Pretty Much Infinitesimal Response, which to you or me might be a distinction without a difference, but to Web advertisers, who fear they’re getting less of a bang for their buck than Mr. Wanamaker’s fabled 50 percent, it’s the difference between life and death.

The major task facing them today, in fact, is coming up with ads that can get past browser ad-blockers. (I prefer the Fark approach: you hit them with a blocker in place, and they pout at you.)

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