The real problem with the ad market right now is uncertainty. No one wants to be the first to bet that the economy is going to recover this year. Until there is a clear signal that the economy is on the mend, the advertising market will be weak and unpredictable.

I strongly recommend getting Emarketer’s free study and forecast of online and offline ad spending. Emarketer does a great job of pulling together estimates and forecasts of advertising from lots of different sources. I spent a lot of time recently looking for ad forecasts and I wish I had known about this study then.

I’d feel a lot more comfortable about the economy and the ad market if we could point to a single reason for optimism other than Bush’s so-called recovery plan or the statement “surely we’ve hit bottom by now.”