Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Thankful Yet? Online Ad Revenue Improving, but Slooooowly.

I’d like to say this is a half-full, half-empty scenario. But the more I think about it, the more I’m thinking the latter.

Internet advertising increased a bit–1.7 percent, precisely–over the past three months. But that’s only when compared with the previous three months, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Compared with the same period a year ago, Web ads are still down 5.4 percent, the trade group said (see chart below; click to enlarge).

iab ad growth

Given that I work for a free, ad-supported Web site, I’m anything but an unbiased observer here, and I’d like to put a sunnier spin on things. But recall that the economy started its freefall well over a year ago, so comparisons to Q3 2008 should be particularly easy to beat. Even the boosterish IAB can only call the numbers a “hopeful sign” at best.

Still, if you’re looking for positive signs, you can take Google’s (GOOG) declaration that the worst is over, and I’ve heard plenty of anecdotal stories from small online players that spending is perking up again–though I’m also beginning to hear that some folks may have been overly optimistic about Q4. We’ll know soon.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik