AdGooroo analyst Rich Stokes called the move a "quality purge" by Google to remove its weak accounts. The drop in advertisers was more than offset by a 12.5% increase in ad spending by top U.S. retailers, Stokes notes.
But a closer look might see the 5% drop in advertisers as a bad thing. Given the economic climate, it's quite possible that Google has a host of bankrupt or defunct ad clients that are starting to drop out of the roster.
Don't expect any clear answers from Google on this.
As the gatekeeper of Internet advertising, Google says it's a priority to generate fewer -- but better targeted -- ads. If successful, Google can deliver the highest-quality ad -- one that a searcher is more apt to click on -- and charge more for the quality. That would certainly fit the "quality purge" scenario.However, the concern is that sales growth usually takes care of all the problems. So if Google had to pull a whole lot of levers to cull deadbeats, then the fourth quarter numbers may reveal some weak spots. Analysts are expecting Google to post a profit of $6.50 on $4.92 billion in sales, excluding traffic acquisition costs (or TAC). "The bar is very high for Google, as they are very good at jumping over it," says one money manager who says he's watching the show from the sidelines with no positions. But clearing the bar by a mile might not be enough in this arena to avoid a post-earnings selloff. Reported by Scott Moritz in New York.
>>Google Takes the High Road >>Google's China Fight Unplugs Motorola >>Google Falls Below $600
Follow our tech coverage on Twitter and become a fan of TheStreet.com on Facebook.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV