E-Shopping: Can You Really Trust Those Bots?

Faced with what once seemed an unlimited number of e-tail sites, Web surfers have shifted the task of locating the stuff they want to shopping robots--a.k.a. bots--which are software tools that instantly scan hundreds of retail sites to find the lowest price for a given product. Some 4 million shoppers used these bots in October, double the number a year ago. "Shop bots offer a real value to consumers," says Barry Parr, a director with IDC, an online research firm. "They're here to stay."

There are 50 or so bots out there willing to do your bidding. Since they all do...

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