Over the past few years, most of us have heard about all the money being made on the Internet. This new medium of education and entertainment has revolutionized the economy and brought many people and many companies a great deal of success. But where is all this money coming from? There are a lot of ways Web sites make money, but one of the main sources of revenue is advertising. And one of the most popular forms of Internet advertising is the banner ad.
A banner ad is simply a special sort of hypertext link. If you've read the How Stuff Works article "How Web Pages Work", then you know how a basic text link works. A bit of HTML code instructs a Web server to bring up a particular Web page when a user clicks on a certain piece of text. Banner ads are essentially the same thing, except that instead of text, the link is displayed as a box containing graphics (usually with textual elements) and sometimes animation.
Because of its graphic element, a banner ad is somewhat similar to a traditional ad you would see in a printed publication such as a newspaper or magazine, but it has the added ability to bring a potential customer directly to the advertiser's Web site. This is something like touching a printed ad and being immediately teleported to the advertiser's store! A banner ad also differs from a print ad in its dynamic capability. It stays in one place on a page, like a magazine ad, but it can present multiple images, include animation and change appearance in a number of other ways.