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"Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today is Friday, Friday
We we we so excited
We so excited
We going to have a ball today."
-- "Friday" by Rebecca Black
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) is starting to seem a lot like Rebecca Black's notorious viral video that has amassed more than 100 million views on Google's own YouTube.
Both are attracting attention for all of the wrong reasons these days. Black's cheesy video of Patrice Wilson's bubblegum pop anthem has more critics than fans. The same can probably be said of the world's leading search engine as antitrust regulators and frustrated shareholders take a battering ram to Big G.
Last night's quarterly report isn't helping.
Google posted a lower-than-expected profit as bubbling costs ate into its otherwise impressive 27% top-line spurt.
Earnings grew nearly 20% to $8.08 a share, short of the $8.13 a share that Wall Street was targeting.
Why isn't net income keeping pace with revenue growth in this seemingly scalable model? The income statement reveals all. R&D costs soared 50% as Google invests in growth initiatives outside of its paid search stronghold. Sales and marketing costs spiked 69% -- with G&A expenses climbing 44% -- as the dot-com giant ramped up its workforce and initiated pay increases to keep its Googlers from bolting to new dot-com darlings Facebook or Twitter.
Pundits will argue that Google missed its bottom-line number, but that was never the company's handiwork. The online behemoth doesn't provide guidance, and it has been telegraphing its desire to fortify its payroll and make a bigger splash in social stickiness for a long time.
In time, cynics may come to appreciate the strong revenue growth for a company of Google's girth. It's quite the feat, especially since it all but bequeathed China to Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU ) last year and since the latest batch of Internet traffic reports find Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Bing gaining market share at Google's expense.
Google came through with an 18% uptick in paid clicks, and each of those leads found advertisers paying an average of 8% more than they did a year ago. This should bode well for when Microsoft and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) report next week -- especially in Yahoo!'s case, where costs are going in the other direction after inking its search partnership with Bing.
So go ahead and hate on Google the way you ranted about Black's "Friday" a few weeks ago. The stock opened 6% lower on the mixed showing. I would rather see Google miss on the bottom than the top because at least that's the one end of its income statement that it can control.
What would Black think about the opportunity to buy into a cheaper Google that is still growing at an envious clip?
We we we so excited.
What did you think of Google's report? What do you think of Rebecca Black? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.