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How Bad Will It Get, Google?

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Online advertising is a no-brainer for a global slowdown, right? Yeah, but not as much as it used to be. PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) last week reported that third-quarter revenue from digital ads rose 11% year over year, but just 2% sequentially.

I know how that sounds to most Fools; sequential growth can be a red herring for the long-term investor. Here, it's important because it means ad buyers are at least tapping the brakes. Sequential gains were a reoccurring tailwind blowing from Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Silicon Valley headquarters.

How bad will it get? "A weakening economy will continue to be a challenge to all forms of advertising-supported media," David Silverman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said in a statement. "However, the Internet should be better poised to withstand the storm, given its ability to combine performance-based advertising along with broad-based branding."

So Google is still a media mogul, and New York Times (NYSE: NYT  ) , Gannett (NYSE: GCI  ) , and McClatchy (NYSE: MNI  ) are still doomed.

Or at least, that's how it seems. An IAB executive I spoke with last week couldn't say much, other than what's in the group's press release. Nor could she offer context for what digital advertising is working, and what isn't.

Not that we need much. Display-ad leader Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) isn't any better today than it was last week, or the week before. Who needs GooHoo, anyway?

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy gave up on advertising long ago.

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