Looking for great webinar service providers
May 8, 2007 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Got any webinar (online seminar) service provider recommendations?

I am looking for companies that offer webinar services (i.e. real time viewing of a shared presentation online while in a conference call). I am just getting started with my search, but here are my pie-in-the-sky parameters:

*size flexibility (services from <1 0 computers up to>250) as the service will be used both internally for meetings between offices and externally for presentations to large groups of people.
*Compatibilty with Microsoft Office suite (the first few I've looked at offer their own presentation design... If I know my staff, I know they are going to be much more likely to use the thing if they can just plug in their existing powerpoint.)
*Is this even possible? The ability for multiple users to edit a document in real time while others view it?
*on demand use (no scheduling!) for at least the small meetings.
*Cost is always a consideration (we are a national non-profit) but we are realizing that we'll save money in the long run if we go with a professional service.
*Our staff is not super high tech, so it should be easy to use and easy to administer.

Any great ideas? Services you've used and loved? Bad companies to avoid?

Thanks in advance!
posted by paddingtonb to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
WebEx will allow most of those things, except perhaps editing a document while viewing. My company uses it in all of the ways you describe (small groups, large client-facing meetings, integrated with Office, using their own ppts, fairly easy to train...). YMMV. You'll also hear about Macromedia Breeze, probably, but I've not used it.
posted by nkknkk at 10:50 AM on May 8, 2007

What nkknkk said: WebEx is very good and satisfied 98% of your requirements.
posted by unixrat at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2007

My husband did a large, important webcast to 10 sites around the state with WebEx. He had trouble getting the WebEx applet working at all 10 locations, and spent an incredible amount of time (over the course of 2 weeks) on the phone with WebEx's support team. They worked hard to help him out, but it was a huge hassle to troubleshoot 10 different locations and in the end he had to go with his Plan B because the video link for his Plan A didn't work out.

A few more providers for you to consider:
Onstream Media
posted by junkbox at 11:23 AM on May 8, 2007

We're a national non-profit association and use webex for online meetings and webinars delivered to our members. I think you can even edit the document while viewing, and set it to automatically email the finished document to all meeting participants. (There's a way to basically have webex display whatever the meeting host is doing on his/her computer and that includes editing a document.)

I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but we've used webex to deliver probably 25 or more educational webinars over the past 18 months, with a total of over 1,000 participants (most webinars were 10-50 people). There are the occasional tech glitches, and I don't work directly with the people that manage these webinars so I can't tell you any more than that.

I think we went with WebEx's educational licensing which costs a bit of money but allows us unlimited connections.
posted by misskaz at 11:39 AM on May 8, 2007

I've used WebEx and it's very easy to use both for the person running the webinar and the attendees.
posted by tastybrains at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2007

Personally, I've have a lot more success with GotoMeeting.com than with Web-Ex. The Web-Ex applet seems to be a lot more trouble than GoToMeeting. The cost factor favors GoToMeeting greatly. Web-Ex is not cheap - at least it wasn't in a corporate setting.
posted by COD at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2007

Seconding GoToMeeting over WebEx. The tech is much more "transparent" which is good when working with less tech-savvy audiences, and the cost is not even comparable. GoToMeeting is easily an order of magnitude cheaper if you use it regularly at all.

The entire suite of GoTo products (GoToAssist, GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting) seem top shelf quality for bargain-basement prices.

Unless you plan on going VoIP, you'll also need to work out a sweetheart deal with a national carrier for (toll-free?) conference telephone lines. I got very very good rates from XO.

Also note the new Live! services from Microsoft are priced aggressively and have the advantage of being integrated with all your Microsoft applications.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:13 PM on May 8, 2007

Check out Adobe Connect (formerly Macromedia Breeze). I think it's far better than WebEx in many respects. It doesn't require any client other than Flash Player, so you're more likely to be able to get set up without technical problems (needing admin rights to install the WebEx client, etc.) It does all the same stuff as WebEx, as well. Enjoy!
posted by me & my monkey at 2:03 PM on May 8, 2007

I found gotoMeeting clunky, and you need to be on windows to host the conference.

vyew has this idea of a "book" that you show people, but it also is more of a presenter model. (one person drives, lots of people watch.)

I needed a tool which would allow for me to show images and move a shared pointer. I ended up writing something in flash and using flash media server to synchonrize the client swfs. Sounds insane, but it took less time than I spent evaluating all the webinar/web conferencing tools!

also, i can't believe anyone would setup a blog on this topic and not be shilling a product, but this actually looks impartial: http://bestwebconference.com/
posted by kamelhoecker at 7:02 AM on May 9, 2007

Adobe Connect seconded here. My professor uses it to host his online classes and it's just amazing. We can have live streaming video and audio, plus pushouts of whatever content he chooses, plus a live chat where students can provide content and links, and then it's all archived so that we can refer to it later if we missed something in that night's class.
posted by Lynsey at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2007

« Older Looking for good universities for baby boomers who...   |   internet-savvy Austin therapists Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.