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Has The Search-Ad Market Already Bottomed Out?

This story was written by Joseph Tartakoff.
That seems to be the suggestion in a report on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) by Citi analyst Mark Mahaney. Mahaney says he hosted a call with executives at four search-engine marketing firmsClickable, Covario, Reprise Media and SearchIgniteand all four said they expect next quarter to show improvement over the first quarter, which they say was dismal. One firm said search ad spending dropped a whopping 20 percent to 30 percent in January and February. (Google CEO Eric Schmidt said earlier this month that he expects 2009 to be a "tough, tough" year for his company.) Already, though, the search-marketing executives say they have noticed a "snap back" in March spendingand expect the business to improve next quarter. Mahaney anticipates a seven-percent first-quarter drop in Google's revenue, but a two-percent increase in the second quarter. Google reports its first-quarter results on April 16.

By Joseph Tartakoff