Daily Roundup for 2008-04-07

  • Of the many blogs born last May, Patent Troll Tracker seemed as innocuous as any. Its focus: the obscure but controversial subject of "patent trolls," a derogatory term used to describe businesses that make money by purchasing patents and then suing big companies for infringement. The author was clearly no fan of the practice, but his or her identity was a mystery. The "about me" section of the blog noted that the writer was simply "a patent lawyer trying to gather and organize information about patent litigation."  Through regular, copious posts, Troll Tracker quickly drew a devoted following in patent law circles, even among those who disagreed with its point of view. What readers didn’t know, however, was that the blogger was Rick Frenkel, in-house patent counsel at Cisco Systems (CSCO), the Internet infrastructure giant.
  • Ad spending on newspaper Web sites increased to $3.2 billion in 2007, up 18.8% over 2006, according to preliminary estimates released by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) in late March.  The trade group said that online ad spending accounted for 7.5% of all newspaper ad spending in 2007, up from 5.7% in 2006.

  • Last week, MarketWatch quoted comScore data showing a second straight month of slower growth in paid clicks for Google’s main ad-serving business.  A note from Bank of America (BofA) analyst Brian Pitz pointed out that the comScore data showed a mere 3% growth in Google’s paid clicks in February compared with the same month a year earlier.  Pause for a reality check. Growth in US online ad spending is indeed slowing. However, let’s remember that this means smaller increases but still increases. Slower growth is a world away from a fall.

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