Anyone who’s ever negotiated a settlement knows all about the posturing, the bluffing, the delays, the overriding fear of leaving money on the table. Sometimes the process can get in the way of the goal — especially when personalities clash. The Internet offers one way around those problems: blind procedures that can arrive at an agreed settlement as binding as any reached through traditional negotiation.

Some Web sites offer low-cost procedures that allow each side to present demands and offers with only the software knowing the figures on the table. Typically, when the two sides are within 30 percent of each other, the system splits the difference and declares a settlement. If the gulf between the two parties never narrows enough for a settlement declaration, then the two sides can walk away without having divulged their “final, best offer.”

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