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Online ad spending defies economy

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A new report shows spending on Internet advertising grew at a double-digit rate during the first half of 2008, but that pace of growth trend isn't expected to continue into 2009 -- particularly among companies in the real estate and mortgage lending business.Internet advertising revenue grew 15.2 percent during the first half of 2008, to $11.5 billion, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Internet advertising revenue declined slightly between the first and second quarter, however, from $5.8 billion to $5.7 billion.That could suggest harder times to come. But the 0.3 percent drop between quarters partly reflects cyclical advertising trends, said Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive officer of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which sponsored the report. Industries that accounted for a greater share of Internet ad spending in the first half of 2008 included computing, automotive, telecommunications and consumer packaged goods. Advertisers that accounted for...