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Google Spends Advertisers' Leftover Budgets

Google is quietly rolling out a new program that addresses the drop in click-through growth outlined in a comScore report earlier this week. Called Automatic Matching, the new feature would use up search marketers' unspent advertising budgets. Automatic Matching is currently in a limited beta test and gives marketers the opportunity to opt-out at any time.

Where AdWords gives marketers control of their keyword budgets, the new service gives Google more control. Automatic Matching takes advertisers that haven't maxed out their budgets and expands their list of keywords to include terms Google deems as relevant. Since Google runs both AdWords and the Google Search engine, the search giant would be pretty good at choosing keywords for advertisers-which could raise ethical questions.

Already, some marketers are questioning whether exhausting their ad budgets does anything except boost Google's bottom line. Search marketer Mark Simon, vice president of industry relations for SEM firm Didit is critical of the new feature. "It looks like ... like they're trying to garner every possible click that's available."

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