Canadian Startup Wants Social Media to Resolve Your Disputes

Trying to resolve a dispute with a neighbour, contractor, or even friend? There are lots of disputes that bother us but are too minor to go to court over yet seemingly impossible to agree on. So how do they get resolved?

Online abritration is the latest trend in alternative dispute resolution, says Lance Soskin. Lance is the president of eQuibbly, a Toronto-based startup that has launched a platform for exactly that.

EQuibbly combines online arbitration with crowdvoting and social media to resolve disputes over the internet. How it works is simple: both parties present their side of the story and their proposed resolution, then their Facebook friends and Twitter followers – as well as interested passersby – vote for the winner. (Disputes can also be held in “private rooms” that are invite only.)

The service is free and handles issues as light as “My Roommate Should Buy His Own Damn Beer & Booze” to more serious situations like “My child’s father is not being reasonable [re: visitation rights].”

“If you think about it, leveraging your social network to resolve your disputes makes sense,” says Soskin, who earned an MBA at the Schulich School of Business. “We trust our friends and fellow citizens to provide us with accurate information every time we research something on Wikipedia and TripAdvisor. And we trust them to make the right decision when electing government officials. So why not have them help resolve our disputes?”

EQuibbly is a word mashup of equable, equitable, and quibble (with an “e” for online). Lance, who attended Osgoode Hall Law School and articled with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, launched eQuibbly “after witnessing how painfully slow, mind-boggling complicated, and prohibitively expensive traditional methods of litigation and dispute settlement typically are.”