Forget what the techies are predicting for this year. What are the moneybag people saying?

Merrill Lynch has released its annual Top Internet Themes for 2008,

It makes for interesting reading.

Internet trends to watch:

- Online ad spending goes up due to the presidential election ad ramp up (starting around March).

- Along those lines, also look for better ad targeting technology that will jack up the prices of online ads (you get what you pay for: better targeted ads, higher prices).

- Increased attention to mobile marketing.

Catalysts to watch for that will spur on these and other Internet trends:

- The Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas (going on this week, as I write this).

- The 700Mhz spectrum auction starting later this month.

- eBay fee structure changes that go into effect also later this month.

- The television writer's strike, the Presidential election all leading to more advertising on the web.

Not mentioned.

Three words: economy, economy, economy.