When most people imagine the process of contract formation, they picture two people sitting down and negotiating, arguing about particular contract provisions and particular contract terminology, and maybe even involving attorneys to draft an "official" version of the contract. Regardless of the specific details people imagine, traditional contract formation generally involves some form of negotiation between two parties where they choose one set of terms over another. In modern society, however, such negotiation happens very rarely. People enter into many contracts on a daily basis, for example, when they purchase goods or services online. Online purchases are governed by computers, which do not allow for dickering. That is, it is simply not possible to negotiate with a computer, as computers can only respond with pre-programmed terms. Despite this limitation, traditional contracting is not dying--it simply has to be rethought to accommodate this digital architecture.
Can We Dicker Online or is Traditional Contract Formation Really Dying - Rethinking Traditional Contract Formation for the World Wide Web,
Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mttlr/vol15/iss1/7