Headlines across the Internet and in every major business publication last week had Google on the rocks. A comScore report on paid clicks...

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Headlines across the Internet and in every major business publication last week had Google on the rocks. A comScore report on paid clicks showed an 8 percent decline from December to January and flat annual growth.

Google’s shares tumbled $22.25 on the news Tuesday to close at $464.19, wiping $5.2 billion off the company’s market cap. It was also viewed as another sign of the economic slowdown constricting the lifeblood of Web 2.0: online advertising.

Then on Friday, comScore posted a blog explaining why that reaction misinterpreted the Internet measurement company’s data. There’s actually a positive trend for Google behind the decline in paid clicks.


While comScore isn’t saying everything’s rosy in the broader economy, the company is correcting the record, in some detail, on what’s going on at Google. Turns out “Google’s own quality initiatives” reduced the number of paid listings “and, therefore, the opportunity for paid clicks to occur.”

Google is also getting more revenue per click, so, “It is entirely possible, if not likely, that the improved revenue yield will continue to deliver strong revenue growth in the first quarter.”

And in the broader economy?

“Separately, there is no evidence of a slowdown in consumers clicking on paid search ads for rest of the U.S. search market, which comprises 40 percent of all searches.”

Duly noted. We’ll see what happens, though.

Quite a catch

The high seas, the extreme conditions, the danger, the payoff of a big catch of Alaskan king and opilio crab. It has all the elements of a great adventure game.

So, no surprise, newly formed Seattle game publisher Greenwave announced last week that “Deadliest Catch Alaskan Storm” is due out for the Xbox 360 and PC in April, just in time for the fourth season of the hit Discovery Channel TV show on which it is based.

The local hooks don’t stop with the publisher, whose offices in Ballard are just a short sail from Fisherman’s Terminal, or the developer, Liquid Dragon Studios, of Bellevue.

According to a news release, “The game was inspired by Sig, Edgar and Norman Hansen — three brothers who have made their living crab fishing on the Bering Sea aboard their family’s fishing vessel, the Northwestern.”

They happen to be Shorewood High School grads. They’ve also been particularly entrepreneurial on land.

Using their fame from the show, the Hansens have launched a line of coffee cups, baseball caps and refrigerator magnets with slogans such as “There’s a right way, a wrong way and a Norwegian way.” Most famous, perhaps, is their lingerie line.

The video game looks like it will stick to fishing.

Not a Sprint car

Even before it posted a $29.5 billion loss for the fourth quarter last Thursday, Sprint Nextel was having a bad month.

All of that loss came from a write-down of assets it gained through the acquisition of Nextel Communications.

Nextel also happens to sponsor NASCAR to the tune of roughly $70 million a year. But the winner of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17 drove the Alltel car.

CNBC sports-business reporter Darren Rovell noted in a blog last week what a disaster having a competitor’s car was for Sprint Nextel. When readers questioned his assertion, he pointed to an e-mail he’d received from Joyce Julius & Associates, a sponsorship-evaluation company.

“They calculated that (driver Ryan) Newman’s win at Daytona was worth $18.3 million to Alltel, thanks to Alltel logos getting 17 minutes and 38 seconds during the Fox race coverage,” Rovell wrote.

We wonder whether that was included in Sprint’s write-down.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.