About Smartsettle

Smartsettle is a secure online negotiation system for parties seeking a formal agreement. Smartsettle covers a broad spectrum of situations. Whatever your negotiation is about, it can be started here. Our self-contained system called Smartsettle ONE is completely online, designed for two parties in cases that can be simplified to one numerical issue. If your case is more complex and of relatively high value, you may migrate it to Smartsettle Infinity, which is designed for cases between any number of parties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visual Blind Bidding is a process that virtually eliminates the tedious negotiation dance that characterizes ordinary negotiations. Parties are encouraged to start with visible proposals that communicate what their optimistic outcome for the negotiation would be, while leaving some room for concessions. Smartsettle then generates “suggestions” that fall between the initial optimistic proposals from the parties. In ONE, these suggestions are simple uniform grid points. In Infinity, the suggestions are complete packages with values for every issue. Any party may place a secret bid (or acceptance) on any suggestion. The secret bid indicates what that party would be willing to agree to, despite it not being their ideal outcome.
  • They establish the initial negotiating range
  • They are an additional way of communicating
  • They help to elicit greater concessions sooner than if they didn't exist
  • They can be used to recover in Final Session if you were holding back
  • They can be used to bargain the old fashioned way, especially if secret bids don't overlap
  • They can be used to determine the risk of agreeing to the END
All the unresolved issues are negotiated simultaneously so that parties make decisions on complete packages. An agreement is declared at the end of a session if there is an overlap among accepted packages or, in the case of ONE, on secret bids on a single numerical value. If no deal is reached, parties are free to seek other means to resolve their issues without having revealed any confidential information.
If a small gap remains at the end of a session it can be bridged with the Small Gap Closer (SGC) if each party agrees to extend their bid conditional on the other party also extending theirs. If the gap is too large for the SGC then the Expert Neutral Decider will solve the impasse if both parties agree to use it.
When parties use Visual Blind Bidding, Smartsettle is able to speed up negotiations by rewarding the party who moves earliest to the agreement zone. When there is an overlap of the secret bids then Smartsettle gives most of that overlap to whoever was closest just before the overlap occurred, in other words, to whoever made the Smallest Last Move. The same RCB algorithm is also used to split the gap with the SGC and the END.
At the outset, parties must agree on an overall deadline for the negotiations. If the deadline expires before an agreement is reached then the negotiation ends without a deal. Either party can also declare Final Session if they consider that the other party is holding back or is too slow in responding.
If there is no deal in Final Session then parties may use the Expert Neutral Decider (END) to settle the negotiation. The middle value from several Expert Neutrals (usually three) is deemed fair. Smartsettle then favors the party who was closest to fair by dividing the gap on their side using RCB. Users can practice ahead of time against the robot and become acquainted with how the END works before they use it in a live case.
In the absence of any outside intervention, Smartsettle assumes that “fair” lies in the overlap zone. Parties should never extend their bids beyond what they would consider fair.
Starting at an extreme position is not considered collaborative but Smartsettle doesn’t really care where parties start or how much they move from their initial position, as long as their last move is relatively small. Since the RCB algorithm rewards the party that makes the Smallest Last Move it is obviously counterproductive to hold back.
If split-the-difference was used instead of RCB, then parties would realize that there is no harm in holding back and have less incentive to move farther earlier, hoping for a deal sooner. And sometimes that behavior would give them a better deal, rewarding them for holding back.
Instead of talking about each concession and the justifications behind them or criticizing the other party for not making bigger concessions, parties are encouraged to explain their feelings and appeal to objective criteria. A negotiation process called Visual Blind Bidding allows parties to safely identify what they are willing to accept early in the negotiation. Negotiations are accelerated by Rewarding Collaborative Behaviour and virtually eliminating the tedious negotiation dance and other adversarial antics that accompany ordinary negotiations. If no deal is reached, parties are free to seek other means to resolve their issues without having revealed any confidential information.
Smartsettle uses a comprehensive approach to solving negotiation problems, dealing with all the issues as a complete package. For that purpose, Smartsettle requires parties to first create a Single Negotiating Framework (SNF), which is like the final agreement except for blanks representing unresolved issues.
If an agreement does not occur quickly using the Smartsettle interface, parties may also use a robust chat functionality for free ranging discussion. Parties may also upload any type of file to support their negotiation. If these methods are not adequate there is nothing stopping them from talking on the phone or arranging face-to-face meetings.
Smartsettle is applicable to many types of formal negotiations. A few specific areas across the spectrum from simple to complex are Property Assessment, Small Claims, Buyer/Seller Price Negotiations, Auction Price, Debt Resolution, Family conflict, Community Planning, Procurement, Collective Bargaining, Mergers & Acquisitions, and International Treaties.
A facilitator may help one or both sides and is generally there to help with the process and find the information necessary to help resolve the case. A mediator’s role is more intrusive and may be privy to a party’s secret moves if both parties agree.
We really want you to ask the opposite question. How much will Smartsettle benefit me? Smartsettle’s philosophy is to have you share those benefits with us. So, in the case of Smartsettle ONE, there is no fee to practice against the robot or to start your own live case. When you settle, the fee is usually a small percentage of the remaining visible negotiating range at the time of settlement, which is a clear measure of the benefit delivered. This method also avoids the conflict of interest that could occur if the fee was based on the gross settlement value.

If you need a facilitator or mediator, fees for that service are in addition to the base settlement fee.
Training is available if you wish to become a certified intervenor in Smartsettle cases. A few hundred dollars will get you started. Infinity training can easily run into the thousands. Your own generic branded Smartsettle ONE system will cost about $2000 to set up. Customization is extra.

Ask for a quote.

All fees are subject to change without notice.