New Internet Sites Get Businesses To Bid For Consumers

(San Francisco-AP) -- Lots of folks use the Internet to search for places to buy merchandise and services. But now, there are a growing number of Internet sites designed to get merchants to come looking for YOU. The sites take part in a relatively new e-commerce idea -- ``shopping by request'' or ``reverse auctions.'' In other words, merchants get involved in bidding wars for customers, instead of the other way around. You tell the sites what you want to buy -- then the site passes on the request to a network of participating businesses. The companies then send a custom offer to fulfill the order.