Barron's Bear Sniffs Google

4:45 PM -- Updating my own bit of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) skepticism, Barron's reporter Jaqueline Doherty, who presumably knows a lot more about stock prices than a tech guy like me, joined the naysayers in a powerfully reasoned piece this morning. (See The Google Effect and Google Is Overvalued.)

Bottom line:

    The share price could well be cut in half over the next year as the Internet giant grapples with growing competition from Microsoft and Yahoo!, increased pricing pressures in its online ad sales and mounting concern about what's known as click fraud.

"Click fraud" occurs when a bot or a "click farm" follows the link to a paid ad on the Internet, hundreds or thousands of times, 24 hours a day. It's a growth industry that undermines Google's very business model. Like many of the analysts Doherty interviewed, I think Google has a very powerful technology with lots of attractive new revenue streams. But I don't think it's worth 500 bucks a share. (See Google-Eyed.)

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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