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Apr 24, 2008

Web 2.0 is Green, Recession-Proof - The Macroeconomic View

How does the recession tie with the green economy and increased shift toward online advertising? In the early 70's, the sudden shift of oil prices caused severe dislocations. Here is the macroeconomic view for 2008.
  • Cause: The double whammy of the mortgage crisis and oil prices created the recession.
  • Effect on goods: Consumers have less money; price of goods have inflated - thus buying less stuff.
  • Effect on services: The marginal cost of online services is free. Consumers spend more time online - playing, socializing, interacting, creating.
  • Effect on gas use: Shift from time spent purchasing goods to consuming online services reduces gas consumption - e.g. commuting costs to buy or work; and eventually publications that depend on gas guzzling lumber, paper mill, print, and mail supply chains.
  • Online ad growth: Online websites grow. Advertisers chase the hot action.
The domino effect of dislocations - economic history repeats regularly.

Web 2.0 Game Plan for the Green, Growth Economy
  1. Consumers: Stay home. Chat by IM, social networks more; play online; telecommute.
  2. Entrepreneurs: Export creative services to the globe.
  3. Publishers: Timetable to end paper waste.

UPS: Dramatic Slowing in U.S. Economy
Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed by 

This is striking stuff from courier company's UPS's earnings conference call:

Chief Executive Scott Davis:

UPS's first quarter results illustrate the dramatic slowing  in the U.S. economy. At our investor conference on March 12th, we told you that volume growth in January had been up 3%. But in the six weeks prior to the conference, it had been negative. We also said if these trends persisted through March, we would not achieve the earnings guidance we had provided for the quarter. [The] trends did continue. Many have become sharply more negative in the last two months. ... The great unknowns are the severity and the duration of the current economic slowdown. Many of our customers have tightened their belts resulting in a shift away from our premium air products to ground shipments. [Emphasis added]

Move along folks. No recession here.

Helping others go green

Official Google Blog by 
Happy Earth Day! I'm sure some of you are wondering how Google is celebrating, and we want to know what you're doing too. We work to make our business more environmentally sustainable throughout the year, but this month, we want to support the hard work you're doing to fight climate change. Last week we blogged about some of Google's new green tools, and now we have even more ways to help you observe Earth Day 2008:

  • Today we're launching the largest batch of new Google Transit cities yet. Travelers in San Francisco, Denver, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Rhode Island and other locations across the country can now use Google Maps to plan trips using public transportation.
  • Google Checkout continues to help you and your friends and family team up and donate to environmental organizations. We have a new video to help you learn how to donate and see how easy it is to map your network of generosity.

LinkedIn Answers: Gas Prices and Telecommuting... from The LinkedIn Blog by 

Rising gas prices have always been a topic of interest on news networks, but today it seemed to be all over CNN, including a news clip (featuring a cameo by LinkedIn's Scott Roberts; after the jump). But I digress - here's the LinkedIn Answers' question of the week, featuring a question on the correlation between rising gas prices and telecommuting...

Is Apple Recession Proof? Find Out Today Wired Top Stories

Apple's Q1 earnings report, scheduled for 5 p.m. Eastern today, will give a much-anticipated clue to the health of the tech economy. Wired.com is providing live coverage of the earnings report.

That Recession? Game Companies Aren't Feeling It

...advertising business malaise? It's still not affecting the video games business, even if Super Smash Bros. Brawl costs $50 at retail. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan predicts video game software sales grew 47% y/y to $850 million in March, which would match February's 47% y/y sales gain. Leading the pack: Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo... Silicon Alley Insider

Ad Recession? Absolutely. Digital Crushed? Maybe.

...2008 Internet advertising growth from 21% to 19%. Next year it will shrink to 17%, he said: "I don't think there's any question there's going to be an impact." At the other end of the spectrum, Web optimists say a mild ad pullback could help digital. "A recession is great; it's going to force people into digital and accelerate the pay-per track... Silicon Alley Insider

Bits: Online Advertising Is a Lagging Indicator of a Recession

...hurting Internet advertising. Unlike the collapse of 2000, this year marketers are cutting traditional media buys and preserving their online spending. NYT > Technology

Google's chief economist waxes optimistic about Internet sector

Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich moderates a chat about the Internet economy with (from left) Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Edwin Garrubbo of the Electronic Retailing Association, Michael Avon of Columbia Capital, and Google chief economist Hal Varian at the company's D.C. headquarters Friday.

(Credit: Anne Broache/CNET News.com)

WASHINGTON--The U.S. economy as a whole may not have the sunniest prognosis lately, but Google's chief economist and other industry watchers on Friday diagnosed the Internet sector as relatively healthy.

During a panel discussion at Google's D.C. headquarters, professor-turned-in-house-economist Hal Varian argued that an analysis of search queries at his company's site mirrors deeper economic trends. Job-related searches are up as a share of total searches, for instance, and real-estate and luxury goods searches are down--exactly what you'd expect in a "recessionary environment," Varian said.

But overall, the total number of searches on any topic continues to grow "very dramatically" from year to year, and e-commerce sales also continue to climb, Varian said.

"The lesson you learn from looking at query patterns on Google is, yes, we're seeing an economic slowdown, but no, that's not an Internet slowdown," said Varian, who admitted that his day job focuses on a more microeconomic task: the economics of Google's advertising auctions. "The Internet is still looking pretty strong, compared to most of these other sectors."

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