BOSTON — Next time you're on the Internet, don't be surprised to see a bar of soap or a soup can gliding across the screen as you move your mouse.
In the struggle to catch the eye of evermore fickle Web surfers, New York-based Comet Systems has staked a claim to what may be one of the few remaining advertising frontiers. When surfers visit a Web site that uses Comet's software, their mouse cursor is transformed into an advertising image.
According to a study by Comet, traditional banner ads on the Web had a dramatic increase in effectiveness when combined with an ad-enhanced cursor.
Comet representatives acknowledge some of the benefit might come from the novelty of the approach, which might wear off as more and more sites adopt the strategy. But with ad effectivness increased by factors of more than 200 percent, they contend that much of the benefit will remain even after the newness fades.