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Search Spend Growth Drops Below 30%; Mocks the Recession

Take a look at these two headlines:

U.K. SEM Spend Slows, Signaling Market Maturity

JPMorgan analyst lowers online ad forecast, says economic weakness hurting Internet

Time to call it quits as an online marketer and find a new job? Hardly!

Whenever you see headlines like this, be sure to read the entire article. In this case, you’d see that the "weakness" and "slows" in online advertising are still much healthier than other industries; say real estate or the auto industry.

So, what’s up with the state of the online advertising industry? Well, in the UK…

[E-consultancy’s] 2008 search engine marketing buyer’s guide, released this week, predicts that SEM spend in the U.K. will rise by 24 percent in 2008, down from 58 percent year on year growth in 2007 and 65 percent growth in 2006.

Google Sucking-up to Ad Agencies

Stories of Google attempting to steal away big spending clients from advertising agencies have circulated the web for years. It’s no secret that Google is willing to pull out all the stops to try and get a company to deal directly with them. Now, it seems that Google is trying to make peace with ad agencies–or at least bribe them with free stuff.

The most visible part of the new Google strategy is an event called Campus@, which started up in the spring. So far the Campus@ team, which has a core of six employees, has held six events, including one for Leo Burnett, which is part of the Publicis Groupe.

Win Copies of Bryan Eisenberg’s New Book “Always Be Testing”

UPDATE: Winners announced here.

Usability guru and best-selling author Bryan Eisenberg is back with another great book. Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer sees Eisenberg team up with John Quarto-vonTivadar, and Lisa T. Davis to deliver the definitive guide to Google’s web page multivariate testing tool.

I’ve just finished reading Always Be Testing which finally opened my eyes to just how easy Website Optimizer is to use and just how valuable it is for any web site owner. Following Eisenberg’s advice, I’ve not only set up the perfect multivariate web page test, but I also know which variables to test.

Personal Life Media Launches Free, Brandable Podcast Widget

We’ve all heard how widgets are going to be a growth area for advertisers, but you’ve probably said to yourself “that’s all very fine and dandy, but I don’t have any content to actually put in a widget!’

Fret no more, dear forward-thinking advertiser because Personal Life Media has just launched a new customizable widget-creator. With it, you create the branded widget, and Personal Life Media will fill it with great audio content. Personal Life Media is headed by social media legend Susan Bratton who tells us, “So many of our sponsors and prospective advertisers requested a way to showcase our content on their site that we created this widget for them.”

So, just how easy is it to create your own branded widget? Just three steps:

The New York Times Threatened by Google?

The New York Times asks–almost nonchalantly–Is Google a Media Company?

I’d ask the NYT: Why? Are you scared of the competition?

[Google’s] Knol has been called a potential rival to Wikipedia and other sites whose content spans a broad range of topics, including Mahalo and About.com, a property of The New York Times Company that uses experts it calls “guides” to write articles on a variety of topics.

Reading the article, and those quoted, I can’t help but think that this is the NYT telling Google, "we’re watching what you do with Knol, and we’re ready to cry foul, if it hurts our business."

And, just in case the NYT can’t keep Google in check, it’s brought in the rather vocal Jason Calacanis:

Email Newsletter Daily Candy Gobbled up by Comcast for $125 Million

The email newsletter Daily Candy, now going on its eighth year, got a sweet deal this week. Comcast is buying the company for $125 million. Rumors were that Comcast would pay far less – around $75 million and it’s many times over their revenue.

The pithy newsletters focus on what’s hip and fashionable – marketing products to young women – and drawing national advertisers. Last year they expanded to include a kid’s edition aimed at well keeled moms. In 2006 the newsletters totaled around 2.5 million subscribers.

Daily Candy was launched in 2000 by Dany Levy with money from savings ($50,000) and investment capital ($250,000 from family and friends). In 2003, they got a further investment from Pilot Group for $3.5 million and a majority share.

China, Freedom, and the Internet

Let the games begin! The Olympics in Bejing have begun and Tibet monks aren’t the only protesters – the media is angry too. While Chinese citizens may not have freedom of the press or Internet, but their Olympic guests expect it.

And to be sure, the media was promised they would have full access to web sites. But reports are that not only are sites being blocked but that the government is monitoring Internet activity.

The impending Olympic games have increased questions about Internet censorship in China, especially after Chinese officials tried to block journalists there for the games from accessing certain sites, even after the Chinese government assured reporters they would have full freedom to search the Internet, unlike its citizens.