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In this economic environment even the hot online advertising market is showing declining growth. I just got the latest search share statistics from Nielsen that show that Google has a lot to be grateful for. In October Google did 8.1 percent more searches than it did in the year-ago period.

Just last week Google told clients its digital ads can help make clients recession-resistant, and their pitch seems to be panning out. The search giant conducted 4.8 billion search queries, or 61.2 percent of the market, last month -- which means advertisers sticking with Google's search technology are reaching their target audience.

The rest of the search market didn't fare so well in October -- with 2 percent fewer searches than a year ago. And Yahoo conducted 12 percent fewer searches than the year-ago period. It still has the second-biggest marketshare, but it's 17 percent compared to Google's 61 percent. MSN/Windows Live Search dropped off even more -- down 19 percent. And Ask.com, owned by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp did nearly 23 percent fewer searches this past month, its market share sinking to just 2.3 percent.

One surprise: AOL Search grew 14.5 percent in the month to just shy of five percent of marketshare. AOL's has been criticized as its ad revenue has failed to compensate for the end of its subscription service. The company is still a drag on parent Time Warner's balance sheet, but at least last quarter it made some gains. I'd still bet that Time Warner will sell AOL as soon as it can find a buyer, but the better the company's numbers look, the higher price it should be able to fetch. Nobody's holding their breath for a sale in this economic market, but better to make even meager gains than the alternative.

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