Irish designer Paddy Donnelly, in a nicely-designed article, attempts to subvert the accepted wisdom of the page fold:
The fold is one of those guidelines that has been thrown about so much that it’s now become a ‘rule’ of web design (or maybe more appropriately a ‘ball and chain’ of web design) with web designers blindly obeying without question…
If everything of exceptional quality is pushed upon the reader at the beginning, once they start exploring and the rest of the site isn’t of the same calibre, they’re going to be let down.
I agree—scroll below the fold on most large-scale web sites, and the quality diminishes as you move down the page. I don’t know if that’s because too much attention is paid to ‘the fold’ myth, or because most web sites have a vertical up-and-down ‘rail’ structure… or, if we’re just bad designers.
People scroll. People read left-to-right. We should design for these rules.