This paper will explain some of the advantages and disadvantages to the ODR scheme.
One of the advantages of ODR over other dispute resolving methods, such as face-to-face arbitration, mediation and litigation is the cost factor.2 This factor is especially important, as many of the cyber disputes involve small dollar amounts. Many online problems would never be resolved if it were not for cost-saving. Inherent in this analysis is that the parties involved in the dispute do not have to hire attorneys, nor do they have to travel, which can add up to considerable costs in traditional dispute resolutions.3
Therefore, ODR has a great social implication, in that it ensures that everybody in the on-line world has access to justice. The prohibitive expense of litigation is a hindrance to this basic principal, because individuals without financial means cannot afford traditional litigation. But in the wonderful proletariat world of on-line dispute resolution, everybody has a fair shot in getting their disputes resolved, as the costs are minimal and attorneys are not necessary. It might be the great equalizer.
Two different entities exemplify the cost-benefit analysis examined above: one is the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, which is the dominant dispute resolution service provider with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number (ICANN) under its Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).4 This entity is basically the go-to service for individuals with a domain name dispute, and has resolved some 9,000 such disputes since its inception in 1999. The other method examined is the SquareTrade, which is an ODR method that predominantly assists buyers and sellers on Ebay.5
In the ICANN and UDRP systems, a complaint by a trademark holder is deemed served upon the holder of the domain name if it is sent to his registered e-mail address. If the holder of the domain name