Mad Money

Measuring Google's Success

Weeks ago Cramer missed a call on Google, telling investors to steer clear of the stock. He based his decision on data from ComScore, the web’s version of the Nielsen ratings, which showed the search-giant's performance to be flat.


Well, turns out there was a problem with that data. ComScore only showed Google’s U.S. numbers, leaving out a booming international advertising business. As ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni pointed out to Cramer Friday, his company hasn’t finished development of its overseas measurement tool.

Fulgoni attributed Cramer’s mistake, one that was also made by analysts, to the fact that Google doesn’t offer guidance. Wall Street is desperate to find any metric it can to get an idea of how Google’s business is doing. In the scramble, some details, such as that ComScore’s data is domestic only right now, are overlooked.

The good news is that Google’s main moneymaker, advertising, is “on fire,” Fulgoni said. Last year’s fourth quarter for the entire online ad industry was up 30% over the same period in 2006, and annual revenues have climbed north of $20 billion.

Google wins out because advertisers cut costs by shifting to the internet, Fulgoni said, where they also “can get more bang for the buck, in terms of a sales impact.”

And while most of the market suffers during a tight economy, that actually has the potential to push more advertisers to the web, Fulgoni said, which is even better for Google.

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