Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Online Display Ads Headed for the Basement

Silicon Alley Insider’s Henry Blodget sounds an important horn again, namely, outlining in graphically ugly detail why graphical advertising-based online businesses are in big trouble.

In his post, Blodget shows some convincing graphs about past performance trends, including the years after the first bubble burst, from 2000 to 2002, which could augur what is to come for the display business.

That means uh-oh for companies like Yahoo (YHOO), CNET (CNET) and all the many start-ups like Facebook that are focused on display ads as their main revenue source.

Search advertising, he notes, seems to be in better shape to face off the stiff winds to come, although most of that money goes to the dominant Google (GOOG) in this arena.

Money quote:

How do we know online display ad spending will fall? Because by Q2 of this year it had already slowed sharply–to mid-single-digit growth–and that was before things even began to get bad.

According to IAB, the growth of non-search online ad spending (display, classifieds, lead-gen) was 14% in Q1 and 5% in Q2. 5%! That’s before the horrific fall-off in consumer spending in September. We’ll be lucky if non-search spending is up year-over-year in Q3. By Q4, it will almost certainly be negative.

Blodget is predicting a 10 percent decline next year and more in 2010, which is–considering that the entire economy is in trouble this time–probably conservative to me.

As to all those start-ups who have been telling me Advertising, of course as their business plan, it might be time to get another plan for what is to come.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus