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Michael is joking, of course, but here are some stories he imagines might be coming to a publication near you in the next 12 months.

NEW YORK (Reuters – Jan. 29, 2002) - DoubleClick Inc. Chief Executive Kevin Ryan said Tuesday he believes the marketing sector has bottomed. The company cut about 52% of its global media staff last year and Ryan still kept the door open to possibly selling or merging that part of the business. The media unit has been hardest hit by the sharp downturn in advertising spending. "Everyone was over optimistic last year so we want to be cautious this year," Ryan said. "Overall, our read is that it's bottomed. We think there is a possibility it will pick up in the second half but I don't have any hard data to indicate that. We have a lot of clients who say they will increase spending in the second half but it will take a quarter or two to see that."

CLEVELAND (UPI – May 11, 2002) – US Interactive Chief Executive Laura Barnes said today she is certain the advertising sector has hit bottom. “It’s hard to imagine a year worse than 2001, but that’s what 2002 has turned out to be,” she said. “Of course, we said the same thing last year. But this time we really really mean it.” US Interactive has been exploring a variety of strategic options, including converting its remaining 14 offices into a fried chicken chain, or perhaps Jiffy Lube franchises. “We still have faith in the advertising business,” Barnes said, “but in order to maximize shareholder value we have to keep our options open.”

SAN FRANCISCO (AP – September 6, 2002) – eBombast.com Chief Executive Larry Friedkin said Wednesday he is almost positive that advertising spending has hit bottom. “After all, how much lower can it get?,” he asked from his company’s new office, which they share with a local Starbucks. “I mean, according to Web Spending Reports, the entire automotive category spent $121.47 in the second quarter. So if that isn’t the bottom, then I’m almost sure we’re very close.” eBombast.com was financed by several prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms, all of which were reluctant to be interviewed for this article. “We’re turning our attention to other industries, industries that have left the bottom,” one venture capitalist said under condition of anonymity.

NEW YORK (Reuters – December 29, 2002) – WebAdNetworks Chief Executive Melba McClelland said today she is “virtually 100% convinced” the dry spell in advertising spending is finally over. “We’ve had two bad years, no question about it,” she said. “But we’re sitting at the very bottom right now. So we believe there’s no way to go but up. Or we might stay at the bottom for a while longer. But there’s no more bottom to go, because we’re already at the bottom. Unless there’s a deeper bottom. But that’s very unlikely.” As a result of the ad drought, WebAdNetworks has cut the list of sites it represents from a 2001 high of 3,523 to the present 16.

-- Michael Kubin is co-CEO of Evaliant, one of the web's leading sources for online ad data.

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