Time To Upgrade Your Webinar Tools?
Is it time to upgrade your online meeting tools and capabilities? The most popular tool has been GoToMeeting, developed in July 2004 by the Online Services division of Citrix in Santa Barbara, California, using the remote access and screen sharing technology from GoToMyPC and GoToAssist to allow web conferencing. The later release of GoToWebinar (GTW) in 2006 and GoToTraining in 2010 expanded GoToMeeting capabilities to accommodate larger audiences.
Do you have any other technology tools ten years old? Most likely no, and for a reason. Technology improves at a rapid pace and delivers more capabilities, more features, more benefits usually at a lower cost.
As a 6+ year GTW customer, I have hosted or presented well over 1,000 sessions. As time has passed, I found myself wanting to incorporate new thinking and capabilities in my presentations but have been held back by GTW limitations. It is just old tech. It serves its original purpose in a functional way most of the time, but not kept up with the capabilites in todays environment. Then back in March of 2010, GoToWebinar raised prices significantly to the current $499.00/month for a 1,000 seat license.
Adding video, though somewhat limited, was nice but seldom used because of problems in broadcasting and recording that are more than intermittent for my taste. And too many times at the end of an hour of conversation and sharing, I discover that there was a problem with the recording and all is lost for customers that want a replay or other purposes. Ever happen to you?
I have been buying most every tool that has come out in the “webinar” category for several years now. I differentiate “online-meetings from webinars based on audience size limits, with my cutoff at 25 people or less for an online meeting tool and over 25 moving into the webinar category.
Over the last twelve months there has been a significant breakthrough in thinking, approach and capabilites that have come available for webinar events.
For webinars here are those that I own, have used and recommend based on your purpose, experience and capability.
- Google Hangouts on Air – this is developing into a significant driver in this segment. This service is free, offering unlimited viewers, live video feeds for up to 10 speakers, automatic recording in HD of the event and storage in your YouTube channel automatically.
- Webinar Ignition – this is my preferred tool for anyone that has a WordPress blog. It provides rich signup forms with multiple capabilities, integration into the email service of your choice, live event broadcast, replay pages and the ability to create an “evergreen” webinar that users can sign up and watch on an ongoing basis. Because it is all hosted within your WordPress site, all the traffic goes to your site, vs. going to some other location, thus pr0viding more traffic to your site. It uses Google Hangouts on Air as the delivery platform, but you can also use UStream, LiveStream or other video-streaming services. One-time flat fee for lifetime use and the ability to host paid events.
- Webinar Jam – is similar to Webinar Ignition in its approach and features. Two prime differences are that Webinar Jam does not require your own website, as it hosts everything on their site. Also, they price their service as an ongoing monthly charge or annual payment. You also have the ability to host paid events, ideal for training and private courses
- Hangout Plugin – This service was one of the first to market using Google Hangouts on Air as the delivery vehicle. I own it but found that it’s features more more confusing and cumbersome to setup and running a live webinar was too complex for my taste, especially if I was presenting AND producing the event. One time flat-fee pricing is used for this tool and requires a WordPress site to run on.
I know there is a lot to consider when choosing a webinar platform and there are significant features to understand.
Simple recommendation for most of you:
I may be an affiliate of some of the links in this email. That means I receive a commission if you purchase something after clicking on my link. I only recommend products I love or people I totally trust. You never pay more, and sometimes I’m able to negotiate special discounts and bonuses. However, you should always do your own research and due diligence.