Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
ComScore released an estimate yesterday suggesting that the number of clicks on Google ads has fallen. Even as Google’s traffic is growing 40%, comScore asserted that clicks were down 7% in January versus December and flat year on year.
The press uniformly covered the story as though comScore’s numbers are fact and not an estimate. “Google hit by economic slump.” “Google growth isn’t clicking.”
Even the SJ Mercury News, which should know its way around a story like this or at least be able to pick up a phone and call some people who know something offered this lame and incomplete gloss: ” Google’s paid “clicks” on search ads fell 7 percent between December and January and have not grown from the previous year, according to comScore, which measures Internet audiences.”
Missing words: “estimated” or “projected.”
Kinda like reporting a pre-election poll as the outcome of the election. And journalists would never do that, right? (Hmm.)
Google’s value fell 7% at one point early in the day.
Compounding the silliness: a little checking would show that comScore’s numbers are notoriously flawed, manufactured from a series of estimates of estimates, interpolations from tiny samples. A stroll over to the desk of the resident newspaper web teams would yield a stream of colorful comments about how clueless comScore is when it comes to guestimating web audiences and activity.
My money says comScore and the hundreds of journalists who reported its projections as reality will end up looking like idiots on this one.
Meanwhile, Brian Morrissey at Adweek reports: “SearchIgnite, a search management technology company employed by agencies and marketers, reports that in the first month-and-a-half of this year, paid clicks on Google are up 45.7 percent compared to the year-ago period. Advertiser spending climbed 40 percent. What’s more, ad impressions rose 60 percent.”
More comScore crow-munching. .
I think the dudes at Google are gonna have a major laugh when they publish Q1 results.