Click Till You Drop

The Internet has become a shopper's paradise, stocked with everything from wine to cars. Business will never be the same

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That notion--of personalized content and advertising--has been a kind of Internet holy grail for years. Now, finally, the Web is delivering. Its tens of thousands of sites can match your needs and desires as quickly as your Pentium can get online. It's possible to get everything from custom newspapers to electronic newsletters that alert you to sales of items you've always craved. Futurists used to call these services "The Daily Me," a play on the idea of daily newspapers. But customized websites are delivering something more like "the instant me"--real-time collections of just the information you want, which you can use to shop, buy a stock or plan a last-minute trip. In our 20th century consumer culture, it may seem almost too good to be true: the latest and greatest products, custom-made and delivered whenever you want! And how to pay for all this online bounty? We hope you've bought some Yahoo stock.

--Reported by Patrick E. Cole/Seattle, Wendy Cole/Chicago, William Dowell and Aixa M. Pascual/New York and David S. Jackson/Santa Clara

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