A system and method for targeting and distributing advertisements over a distributed information network includes a client application that displays targeted advertisements on a subscriber's computer and a server that manages an advertisement database and provides advertisements to the subscriber's computer. Advertisements are specifically targeted to the subscriber based on a personal profile provided by the subscriber. The client application periodically accesses the server over a distributed information network to download the targeted advertisements. The client application preferably displays the downloaded advertisements in an advertising window that is continuously displayed on the subscriber's computer and that is sensitive to mouse and/or keyboard activity, even if other applications are running concurrently on the subscriber's computer. Thus, the probability that a subscriber will view an advertisement that is specifically for the subscriber is relatively high.