Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 220.127.116.11
IMHO, it has gone from noticable to... really, really quite noticable.
I hate it.
If I was an advertiser in the program, I'd love it... it is very prominent... gave my attention to an ad in position #6 moreso than what was in position #1... (it'll have less impact as folks get used to it, of course)
It'll also generate less qualified clicks from people interested in the icon, but, generating more traffic from lower positions - with lower CPCs - would be a positive, no?