What I want to know is how advertising content is placed onto a server and how that content is delivered from the server to me, the person viewing it. Someone must have written about this somewhere!

there are so many ways to advertise online. The most popular is through google your yahoo. Google is called adwords (do a google search and you will get tons of info on it) and yahoo is I think just yahoo advertising. You create an ad, and link to a website and pay per click. They have special code you can install to find where the click came from, what pages they visited and if they bought from clicking that ad. There are tons of articles on it out there, just go to google adwords and check out what they have there and they have all the info you will never need and pretty much the same applies for most others. You also have cost per impressions (which is how many times the ad is viewed, not clicked, cost per acquisition, which is only pay on an ad when it actually has the buyer go through a set pre determined process such as buying or filling out a form)