Handshake.Com Launches Local Merchant Site

Handshake.com launched as an online
“matchmaker” that allows consumers to put their local service jobs out to bid
to local merchants.

At the same time, Handshake.com said the operation makes it simple for local
merchants — from caterers and carpet cleaners to auto detailers and massage
therapists — to offer competitive bids for those jobs, even if their
business does not have Internet access.

“Handshake.com has been designed from the ground up to be the best way to
find local service merchants and get all the necessary information, tools and
assistance for getting projects done,” said the company’s president, Micah

Operating on first round venture funding supplied by Idealab! Capital
Partners, Handshake.com is initially offering local services in five
categories: Events & Parties, Health & Beauty, Home, Automotive and Moving.
Handshake.com has integrated a method for including the large numbers of
local businesses still without access to the Internet.

In addition to quickly
delivering information on pending jobs to local companies via e-mail,
Handshake.com said it will distribute the same information by fax, and in
some cases, by phone.

“Limiting a consumer’s selections to only those merchants who already have
e-mail or a Web site still excludes a very large portion of the local small
business population,” said Rosenbloom.

“We want users to be able to make the
best all-around choice for their needs, not just choose from the best ‘wired’
local businesses.”

Site features include background information on service merchants and
customer reviews of how well they have delivered in the past, as well as
advice on selecting merchants and buyers’ guides to help users make the right

Using a proprietary version of the so called “reverse auction” formula,
consumers only have to enter the information about their service jobs once on
Handshake.com in order to get back numerous competitive bids from local
service merchants.

Handshake.com distributes a single, detailed description
of the job to all viable providers in the local area
at the same time. Bids from merchants are then forwarded to the consumer
who can compare prices, merchant availability and relevant recent experience.

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