I just thought I would share a site that I found. Airbnb.com is very interesting concept, I actually found it a couple of days after I arrived back in Auckland. I wish I had used it for my trip, but I guess there is always next time.
Airbnb is essentially a couch surfing accommodation community. You specify which city you are visiting and pick how much you would like to pay per night, then get shown rooms / apartments that meet you specified criteria.
I found the site very easy to use and will definitely be using it on my next vacation. They even have an iphone app to booking your room on the go, very handy for a backpacker. I guess the only real issue is other than the major cities in South East Asia, there is not a lot of choice on the site, but as I mentioned the previous post, this will at least give you a starting point.