The tendency of web visitors to ignore banner ads, even when banners contain information visitors are actively seeking.
The term banner blindness was brought to the attention of the Web community via the 1998 study "Banner Blindness: Web Searchers Often Miss Obvious Links," by Jan Panero Benway and David M. Lane.
It is worth noting that "blindness" is only one of the obstacles encountered by the typical banner. Ad blocking software does not even allow graphical advertisements the opportunity to be actively ignored. Also, some people surf with all graphics off, while others merely disable animations. Even when visitors are able to receive banners, slow ad servers often fail to deliver banners in time to reach potential viewers.
Why Are Users Banner-Blind?
Journal of Digital Information (July 31, 2001)
Just How ‘Blind’ Are We to Advertising Banners on the Web?
Usability News (Summer 2000)
The Top Ten New Mistakes of Web Design…
#10 – Anything That Looks Like Advertising
useit.com : Alertbox (May 30, 1999)
Commentary: Banner Blindness, Human Cognition and Web Design
Internetworking (March 1999)
Banner Blindness: Web Searchers Often Miss ‘Obvious’ Links
Internetworking (Dec 1998)