The band of entrail-raking Wall Street seers, whose own pockets were lavishly lined by talking-up the internet Gold Rush of 1999-2000, is now in full Cassandra mode with prognostications of e-doom.

The latest to cry ‘woe’ is former internet bull-runner Merrill Lynch, which yesterday slashed its already bearish predictions for online advertising expenditure in 2001. The blundering herd now predicts that adspend will be 25% down on last year, with only some $6 billion invested in internet advertising – a staggering $2bn less than its original estimate made only in January.

But, predicts Merrill, AOL Time Warner will shrug-off the negativity about all things cyber as the communications giant harnesses its “unique asset”, America Online, to entice advertisers into its multimedia maw.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily