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Web ad sales up slightly

Web advertising sales rose 2 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.5 billion, the industry's second quarterly upturn and further hint of a turnaround for publishers. Total ad sales for 2002 were $5.95 billion, according to a quarterly study from the trade group Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the New Media Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Fourth quarter sales were up by 2.3 percent from the third quarter but were down by 9.8 percent from the same period in 2001, according to the estimates.

Sales were down by a 17 percent for the year compared with 2001. The IAB said the slight gain reflects better creative advertising and more uniform offerings from publishers. The estimates are based on data from the top 15 online ad sellers, which historically account for more than 80 percent of total industry revenues.