I've been to some sites lately which have some pretty fantastic cursors. You probably know what I'm talking about - cursors that have little balls dangling from them, look like a heart or consist of a string of letters waving as if in wind.
The first time I saw these cursors I thought, "that's pretty cool, I wonder how they did that?" The answer was obvious since cursor required download of a special Internet Explorer plug-in.
I see these cursors all over place. I visit a lot of sites, and many of them have some strange or not-so-strange cursors running. Some sites even have a different cursor on each and every page!
What's problem with this? Well, on a personal home page, nothing. In fact, a nice, cute cursor on someone's page about his wife or dog is a great touch, adding some special nicety which makes pages stand out. A little waving flag on someone's page about their Vietnam War experiences is great, and a heart can make a romantic page really stand out.
But on a professional site these cursors tend to be, well, tacky. They turn away visitors for a number of reasons. These don't matter that much on a personal site - after all, most people create personal sites for satisfaction, not to make money or get a high hit count.
Professional sites are different. You want your visitors to stay and read your message, comprehend your data or buy your products. Under these circumstances it is critical that you do nothing to chase anyone away.
Some of drawbacks of special cursors include following.
1) Including special cursors requires download of a plug-in. This has a tendency to turn away visitors right away. People are afraid, rightly so, of anything that pops up a security alert, and attempting to download an ActiveX control will do exactly that.
2) Most of these animated cursors will only work on Windows and only in Internet Explorer browser (and often only newer versions at that). This limits people who will enjoy effect.