By Scott Moritz
ComScore numbers once again confirmed that people are searching less and clicking on advertisements at a much slower rate as the economy tanks and consumer spending pulls back. In March, Google's paid clicks grew 2.7% over year-ago levels putting first-quarter paid click growth at 1.8%, a big slowdown from the 25% rate in the previous quarter and well below the 48% pace in the third quarter.
When your revenue engine is almost entirely fueled by Internet searches and ads clicks, it's probably wise to watch your gauges. Analysts' estimates for Google's first quarter have been cut sharply ever since this trend was first spotted in January. But Google fans say the company has been honing its search efficiency and raising prices to offset the slump.
Additionally, some analyst point to Google's ability to increase its U.S. market share to 55% in March from 53% at the beginning of the year.
Google reports earnings after the market closes Thursday. Analysts are looking for adjusted earnings of $4.52 a share on sales of $3.61 billion in the first quarter ended last month. That calls for a top line growth rate of 42% over last year's revenue level.
If the company made adjustments, the chances of disappointing Wall Street will be limited. But if ComScore's numbers are any indication, writes Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider, Google "will miss by a mile."
By Scott Moritz and Michal Lev-Ram
A solid performance from Nokia (NOK) could be the prescription to elevate the warning-weary mood in the tech sector.
The No.1 mobile phone maker is due to report first-quarter results early Thursday, kicking off the hotly anticipated wireless industry earnings parade. Among the players are No.3 phone shop Motorola (MOT), Verizon Wireless (VZ), Apple (AAPL), AT&T (T) and Sprint (S).
Unlike the worries surrounding other big tech names like MOREsmoritz - Apr 16, 2008 8:10 AM ET
By Scott Martin
Novatel's big miss (NVTL) offers a glimpse of how slumping tech spending can pinch a weak player.
The wireless modem maker warned Monday that first-quarter sales came in below its target. Revenue was $91 million, or 9% below its previous forecast. Novatel will release its disclose its full earnings for the quarter on May 1.
Novatel blamed a product glitch for delays in its supplies of USB devices to a MOREsmoritz - Apr 15, 2008 11:16 AM ET
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