Google's New Business Plan: Pray For Leap Year

Comscore measures paid clicks for US users of all the major search engines. Google has recently been on a fairly big slide in paid clicks. Google investors were hoping to see some improvement in January's 0 percent increase in year-over-year performance. The good news? Paid clicks were up 3% in February. The bad news? There were 3% more days in February this year.

Google had 515mm US paid clicks in February, which is up only 3% year over year. At first glance, this appears to be a slight--slight--improvement from the horrific January report, which was flat y/y at 532mm clicks. However, Comscore did not adjust for the Leap Year (29 days vs 28), so this likely accounted for the entire increase.* Both months show a severe slowdown from Q4:

Oct: +37%
Nov: +27%
Dec: +12%
Jan: 0%
Feb: +3% [Does not adjust for Leap Year 29 days vs 28. Therefore pro forma 0%] 

Our source believes Wall Street was looking for 5%-7% growth in Google's US paid clicks and that this report will likely cause the stock to trade down. For basic queries (versus paid clicks), Google US was up 31% and Google International was up 31%.

Basic searches up, paying searches are flat. That's sure to depress investors -- and share prices. But praying for leap year isn't going to solve anything either. You'd do better to pray that big meteorites hit the IRS, your credit card companies, and your ex-wife's house to improve cash flow.
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