We mentioned this about 10 days ago, and now some follow-up:
— FT has a story that says Internet companies are bracing for a possible fall-off in one of their biggest sources of advertising following the meltdown in the subprime mortgage market. Besides mortgage advertising, the ripples from the financial upheaval could extend to other forms of credit as well as the credit scoring agencies that are also big advertisers online, analysts warned. Fewer companies might compete for search advertising auctions. According to NetRatings, mortgage lenders Countrywide and Low Rate Source were two of the 10 biggest online advertisers in the US in July. Experian Group and Privacy Matters, which advertise to consumers who are concerned about their personal credit scores, also numbered among the top 10.
— The other side of this is provided by Google’s chief economist Hal Varian, who said the company’s $10 billion annual online advertising business is flourishing even as turmoil in the credit markets curbs corporate and consumer spending. Google is less vulnerable because companies will spend more on ads that can be targeted at specific consumers, said Varian, who was hired two months ago to lead Google’s economics group.
— Meanwhile, NYT does a story on how mortgage ads are changing their online tactics. LowerMyBills, which has the most annoying online ads of the bunch, appears to be among the hardest hit, and is increasingly absent from major sites these days. Nielsen/NetRatings estimates that mortgage companies spent $378 million in the first six months of this year on Internet display ads, and many companies also buy search advertising.