Yep, it’s that time again. The sky is falling. Today, we’ll figure out who it’s supposed to be falling on by spinning the wheel of companies that the media feels great, true ambivalence towards and come up with . . . Facebook—no, at the last second, it’s Google. Okay, so let’s dump on Google today.
comScore’s data says that Google’s click growth on paid listings has slowed again:
- January’s clicks were off from December’s by 7.5% (January clicks = 532 M)
- February’s clicks were off January’s by 3% (February clicks = 515 M)
- February’s clicks were up over last February’s clicks by 3%
Can you hear the sarcasm when I say, “Well, geez, if that’s not a sure sign of a recession, I don’t know what is!”?
comScore’s Andrew Lipsman confirmed these numbers to Search Engine Watch. He also commented that “It’s fair to say that all things being equal, February will see sequential declines vs. January because it has fewer days.” Odd that that’s not the headline most people are running with.
Actually, if we assume that all other things are equal, on average, January 2008 saw 17.16 million clicks per day. February 2008 saw 17.76 million clicks per day. If February’s data were normalized, it would mean that February had more clicks than January. But a 3.5% growth rate gets you so many fewer headlines and links, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, comScore’s search engine data indicates that Google’s market share increased from January to February by 0.7 percentage points. Yahoo’s dropped by 0.6 percentage points; Microsoft’s dropped by 0.2. (AOL held steady; Ask increased 0.1 percentage points.)
Of course, the real bad news for Google is that this story is still going to further hurt their already faltering stock price, down 36% YTD. At the beginning of trading this year, they were going for just under $700/share; right now they’re hovering below $445/share—still a recovery from the March 10 closing low of $413.