Up, up, up. Everything is up. (Not!)

Up, up, up. Everything is up. (Not!)
Online shopping was up 55 percent last month, according to a report from Goldman Sachs and Co., Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings, and reported in Editor&Publisher online. We spent $8.5 billion online in November. The most popular goods: videos, DVDs, books, music, toys and video games.

Interactive advertising is up. So says the quarterly report by BrightLine Partners, a consultancy that specializes in interactive television advertising. A story in Mediapost’s Media News Daily notes that many of the pieces are falling into place: The technology is working well, marketers are discovering the possibilities, and the campaigns are beginning to reach a mass audience.

Online spending on dating sites is up, and, in an industry first, it’s outpacing spending on porn. That’s the startling finding of a new study from eMarketer as reported in Media Life Magazine. I love writer Toni Fitzgerald’s line, “For the first time in the brief history of the internet, men are becoming more likely to pay to meet women online than to see them naked.”

U.S. surfers will spend $448.1 million on online dating and personal sites this year compared to $445 million for pornography sites and the like. That’s a tremendous switch since 2001, when porn spending was five times as much as personals/dating site spending.

Personals/dating sites are the third-fastest-growing online content expenditure, behind music/radio and personal growth/diet at 48.3 percent. Adult content trails way behind at 11.3 percent growth.

It’s not clear why exactly spending on adult content is slowing down. Some of it is certainly, as Macklin said, that the secretive nature of the industry made it difficult to measure accurately in the first place.

It may also be that pornography was an early phenomenon on the internet, and everyone who wanted to access it already has. Meanwhile there are more and more legitimate content areas available for newcomers willing to pay.

Oh oh. Fifty-plus viewers are down 2.1 percent this season. Those are the findings of a Magna Global USA analysis of Nielsen Media Research ratings released this week. Are they online too? You bet!

One final item on this. The largest known primary number is up. A Michigan State grad student, using a network of linked home computers, made the discovery. CNN reports the number is 6,320,430 digits long and would need 1,400 to 1,500 pages to write out. It is more than 2 million digits larger than the previous largest known prime number. What was student Michael Shafer’s reaction? “It was just a matter of time.”

So there are the ups and downs of it. Friday must be statistics day in the world of new media. One thing is certainly clear: We’re in the middle of dramatically changing times, aren’t we?

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