There are certain ideas and content which catches your attention. With me, this idea of an attention economy is intriguing.

Copywriters know the formula, Attention Interest Desire Action. The trouble comes in when you try to apply it. How do you take the attention of a site visitor and turn it into interest?

The web is all about attention ...and that may not be a good thing.

Attention Spans are Short - Interest Spans are Longer
Attention is easily had, show someone doing a backflip. If you do nothing more, the user feels cheated. You used a gimmick to get them to look.

However, show how the shoes you sell absorb the shock and you've done something more. Show the reader the way you tailor pockets so all your stuff and loose change doesn't fall out and you are rewarding attention.

And for every ten copywriters who can recite the AIDA formula from memory, only one will be able to tell you how attention becomes interest. Rewarding attention builds interest.

A Poynter study suggests when people find something that interests them, they will read it. EyeTrack07: The Myth of Short Attention Spans explains "Readers select stories of particular interest and then read them thoroughly."

Do people scan? Yes. Do they read? Yes, when you reward the attention they spent scanning and not until. Think of interest as the attention you get from potential customers.

Related:
Hey Flasher, Stop Abusing your Visitors Flazoom is a flash usability site, which makes it a site a lot of interaction designers know about -- flash designers, not so much. A lot of the criticisms of flash center around catching attention without rewarding attention.

The Attention Economy: An Overview is pretty much just that, a fair overview of the concept.