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Google Paid Clicks Disappoint In March

The Great Click Debate continues, as Google once again recorded poor gains in U.S. paid click growth in March, up only 2.7%, according to the latest figures from comScore. That means that overall, U.S. paid click growth for the first quarter was just 2% year-over-year, compared to 25% in the fourth quarter of 2007 and 48% in the third quarter.

Does this mean that Google bombed the quarter? Nobody really knows, as the company has acknowledged that it was tweaking its search advertising system to cut back on those clicks that weren't likely to convert for advertisers. In that case, the result would be much slower growth in paid clicks-but near-flat? That looks awful compared to near 50% growth six months ago.

Nevertheless, The Silicon Alley Insider believes current consensus revenue estimates that Google Q1 revenues should come in at around 25% in the first quarter. This assumes the search giant's average cost-per-click rose markedly, which of course was the intended goal of the system tweak. All eyes will be on the market closing tomorrow, when Google delivers its Q1 earnings.

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