The main forum page is link galore - http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/index.php
And no, they don't jump out at you, but they ARE distracting. I don't like to read a post and have to be careful not to accidentally roll over certain words.
Any sort of advertising should be visible, but it should not distract the user from reading the content.
I don't really get HOW it's effective either? If I start a thread about cat brushes, and it links cat brushes, I can't imagine I'd ever go back and hover on that word just to see if the link it comes up with is useful? With the Google targeted ads (which I do click on in while at TCS), they are less obtrusive, they are relevant, and I can see the topic of the ad, a blurb about that website, and the web address without having to hover or get annoyed while reading the post itself.
Look at Nikki's thread here for example - http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=128457
. There's 5 content links in her post, and the words linked to are adoption, love, surgery, leg, and physical therapy. And when you hover on the links, not one of them is cat or animal related!! None of them will get clicked on (or probably even hovered over since they are random words), and they distract you while reading the post.
At the moment, there's big visual ads, the Google ads AND the sponsored ads, do you really need to put MORE advertising into the forum? If you're just trialling it to see how it does against the other ads, then decide to take down the worst performing ad, then fine. But if you plan to keep 4 different sorts of advertising, then I really do think you're starting to ruin the user experience.
I'm sorry to be knocking what you're trying, but this is the sort of advertising that should be discouraged from all webpages, otherwise before we know it, the web is just going to be one big advertisement, and no content.