Nova Spivack of Minding the Planet asks:
So who IS clicking all those ads? Google and Overture are making gigabucks, but how? This is one of those unexplained mysteries of the Twilight Zone of the Web. Where are the actual clicks coming from? Who are the Clickers? Has anyone actually witnessed someone click on a Web ad?
To which my answer is, surprisingly perhaps, I'm one of the jokers who clicks ads! I tune out simple banner ads and positively detest animated ads, but I do sometimes notice interesting text ads, which I then proceed to click on. Especially in my gmail.
When I'm surfing the web, I'm usually already on some random page that I got to via three different hyperlinks, so I don't want to start yet another thread by clicking an ad. But in gmail, I'm doing something focused (one would think!) and if I see an ad that is equally focused, then I do click it.
And since the time I began clicking on ads in this way, I've actually become even more receptive to text-based ads. So now I click even on obviously out-of-context ads as long as they look interesting to me.