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There's depressing news about the state of the online advertising market in the US following the publication of key data that shows that ad revenue fell by 7.8 per cent in the first half of the year.

An independent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that online ad revenue accounted for $3.76 billion for the first half of 2001.

However, that's a drop of almost 8 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The IAB said that the fall "reflected a decline in the overall advertising market during the first half of the year due to the softening economy".

Said IAB president and CEO, Robin Webster: "We believe that the numbers we are reporting today must be viewed in the context of advertising overall.

"While the declines are not insignificant, they are well within the parameters of the overall advertising industry's experience and seen in perspective, they reflect our confidence in the long term value of the online medium," said Webster.

There was no indication as to when the sector was expected to recover.

Separately, a joint survey by Yahoo! and ACNielsen found that consumer confidence in ecommerce and the Internet is growing despite the effects of the weakening economy.

It predicted that $16 billion would be spent online during Q4 despite the problems facing the global economy. ®

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