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Summary:

In today’s world, an increasing number of negotiations are taking place remotely, and with digital signatures being as legitimate as those made by hand, the number of useful applications for revising, organizing and signing documents online is growing. Here’s a selection.

Signature

In today’s world, an increasing number of negotiations are taking place remotely, and with digital signatures being as legitimate as those made by hand, the number of useful applications for revising, organizing and signing documents online is growing.

Contractually

Although new to the digital signature scene, Contractually boasts several impressive features to speed up the negotiation process. You can use their lawyer-reviewed forms, add one of your own, and even customize your forms with their online contract editor, which notifies all parties of any changes made to their contracts, as well as the differences between different versions.

Contractually also goes some way to eliminating confusing emails and other communications around negotiations with built-in questions, requests, and replies that are kept with the contract and that are visible to all participants. Plus, all messages, attachments and change histories are stored with contracts for future reference.

ContractPal

ContractPal calls itself an “electronic signatures cloud” and offers several features to help reduce certain hassles of contract negotiation, like incomplete documents, which are reduced through what it calls a “reflexive questioning engine.”

ContractPal also automatically routes forms and agreements based on content and parameters you set so that you’re not waiting on approvals or revisions. Plus, it can even accept payments.

GoPaperless

GoPaperless is another solution that provides simple digital signing of documents. Not quite as feature-rich as Contractually or ContractPal, it’s an easy-to-use alternative that offers basic “click to sign” functionality with security through layered encryption, password-protected signing sessions and session activity tracking.

It also provides the ability to export to a variety of formats, as well as have multi-party contracts with a controlled sequence of signers.

DocuSign

Another simple and straightforward solution, DocuSign’s basic-level service collects electronic signatures, authenticates recipients and tracks all activity for a document and is available online and through mobile devices, like the iPhone and iPad.

It offers several additional features with its more advanced editions, including collaboration, document routing, and user and group management.

Adobe eSignatures

Adobe eSignatures has been around for a while and was reviewed by Charlie just last year.  It offers perhaps the most basic of e-signing solutions and is free to use. Just upload your document, enter the email address of your recipient, select a due date, and sign the document yourself, unless you opt to sign after all other signatures have been collected.

RightSignature

RightSignature might tout the fastest process for sending electronic documents for signature with its “one-minute send,” but it also offers more elaborate features than services like Adobe eSignatures, such as handwritten signatures, webcam photo authentication, digital fingerprints and iPhone mobile signing.  It also offers a unique “NaviGuide” flag to point signers to the next required field, as well as a checklist and progress meter to show users what needs to be done to complete the process.

EchoSign

EchoSign works in more of an email-like interface and allows you to control how your documents are signed, whether by e-signature or fax. Its “MegaSign” feature is helpful for documents that require acknowledgement from large groups of people, at the end of which a complete activity report is generated showing who has and hasn’t signed the document. This is helpful for things like policy changes and other situations where you need all employees to sign off on something.

What applications do you use for negotiating contracts and getting them signed online?

Photo courtesy Flickr user sure2talk

  1. Useful article. I have a small law firm and we have been running Rightsignature for about a year and our clients love it. Quick and easy e-signatures. I haven’t found anything online that really handles revisions well. I took a look at Contractually, and it’s interesting but not anywhere close to good old Microsoft Word for when you really have revisions going back and forth.

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    1. Hi Phillip,

      Thanks for checking out Contractually. Right now, we’re focused on making contracts easy from start to finish, for startups, small creative firms and freelancers.

      We’re building towards handling more complex situations, in particular when lawyers are involved in the back-and-forth revisions.

      Cheers,
      Martin

      Full disclosure: I’m founder & CEO of Contractually, and also a recovering lawyer. :)

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  2. I’d also like to throw eOriginal into the mix. Not only can eOriginal’s SmartSign offer the same or competitive front end eSigning capabilities as the other companies listed. eOriginal also offers the industry’s most complete and secure back end document repository for complete life-cycle management of all documents. Often times just electronically signing your documents may not be enough, you may also need a system that provides a complete audit trail or meets specific industry requirements, so when evaluating vendors make sure they meet all your needs.

    Full disclosure I work for eOriginal.

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  3. Hi Phillip,

    Thanks for checking out Contractually. Right now, we’re focused on making contracts easy from start to finish for startups, small creative firms and freelancers.

    We’re building towards handling more complex situations, in particular when lawyers are involved in the back-and-forth revisions.

    Cheers,
    Martin

    Full disclosure: I’m founder & CEO of Contractually, and also a recovering lawyer. :)

    Share
  4. Great informative article!

    I will follow Scott, and add Secured Signing, that provides a comprehensive and secure, web-based, digital signature service to customers all over the world. It delivers a full range of signing capabilities combining advanced User Based PKI technology, and an easy-to-use, simple-to-deploy, compliant solution.
    Secured Signing, enables its users to capture their graphical signature, sign and seal documents, and verify them anywhere, anytime, on their desktop.

    Full disclosure: I proudly work for Secured Signing!

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  5. I guess I’m still going the traditional route when it comes to contracts, though I’m using Skype when I’m negotiating with offshore vendors. I’m glad you came up with this list as I’m still stuck in the age of Microsoft Word and the likes. Thanks!

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