Google has announced that it is to allow open keyword bidding on all pay-per-click terms for its Adwords service.

The search engine giant said the move is designed to bring the UK and Ireland in line with the policy it has implemented in North America since 2004.

Under the current system, only the owner of a trademarked word can buy the attached sponsored links but the new policy will open up the auction process for links spaces.

This means that the highest-ranking and most commercially valuable spots will go to the highest bidder, not necessarily the company that owns the trademarked name.

Critics say that the move contravenes industry rules and fear that the price of spaces will escalate as competition increases and people start to bid more.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Paul Adams, of Ambergreen Internet Marketing, said there would be “happy people” such as small companies selling goods associated with bigger brands and “unhappy people” who will see an “invasion of all kinds of competitors”.

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