10:54 AM

2.28.07 GOOG leads Net stock recovery

All Internet stocks took a beating along with the rest of the market yesterday, but the free-fall has stopped and several stocks are no worse off today than they were at yesterday's close. Standing out from the crowd, again, is GOOG, up 3.45 at midday to $452. MSFT was up a quarter percent and YHOO was running just about flat with yesterday's close. AMZN and EBAY were also up slightly. AAPL was up a full percentage point to just shy of $85.

Part of the bounce for GOOG must be the news from Nielsen/NetRatings that more searchers used Google last month than a year ago, up from 48.2% in Jan. 06 to 53% in Jan. 07. Yahoo searches fell an insignificant amount, from 22.7% to 22.2%. The real loser was MSN, which went from 11% to 8.9%.

Even better for GOOG: A federal judge ruled yesterday that the search company has a First Amendment right to refuse advertising for any reason, just like print publications. That might settle the question once and for all to whether they're a "media company." (More coverage to follow on the decision.)