Gulp: Recession starting to pinch Internet advertising

In the United States, online ad spending eked out only a tiny gain in the fourth quarter, rising to $6.1 billion from $6 billion a year earlier, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau…

GroupM, the media buying division of the advertising company WPP Group, said last week that it expected ad spending on the Internet to rise by 6.7 percent globally this year. That compares with an expected 4.4 percent plunge in overall ad spending…

“When we emerge from this crisis, we will not have anything like the growth rates we had been seeing,” Smith said of online advertising. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes just an average performer.”

But a lot of the growth on the Internet is expected to occur in relatively underdeveloped markets, which are playing catch-up with more digitally advanced countries like Britain. There, said Adam Smith, the London-based futures director at GroupM, online ad spending is likely to be flat, at best, this year.