Update, Sept 2017: We have been using GoToWebinar now for five years without any problems. This justifies our initial research, below, where it came out top.
What is the best value webinar tool that’s both affordable and enables you to present to large audiences? I’ve spent some time trying to find the answer to that question and thought I would share my findings to save you the trouble.
GoToWebinar, WebEx, Infinite and Adobe all have software that lets you present and share your desktop with up to 1000 attendees, but they don’t come cheap. There are low-priced alternatives out there, but are they up to the task? We tried out several, but each had a downfall.
ClickMeeting supports up to 500 attendees and is fairly priced, but our tests showed that it didn’t work on all web browsers.
With a smart layout and a discounted price, ISL Online looked a promising option, but at the time we discovered it has not been tested with over 150 attendees. They couldn’t guarantee the quality with an audience of 500, though this may have changed now.
We also tried Meeting Burner, but quickly discovered that it didn’t allow presenter hand offs – i.e. our presenters couldn’t “pass the mic” between each other.
Of the rest, most couldn’t record the webinar for attendees to access after the event, some required every guest to download the platform (a major put-off for attendees) and others didn’t let you customise the registration page and confirmation emails with company branding, or didn’t enable Q&A’s, polls and handouts during the webinar.
I should mention that we also had to learn some new terminology. In the UK a ‘meeting’ is a small group of people. For the webinar tools (which are mostly US-based) ‘meetings’ can involve hundreds, or even thousands, of attendees. This just added to our confusion during our research.
Of course, not all of the features I’ve listed are essential and if you’re looking to bring in a smaller audience there are some good options: Any Meeting even offer a totally free version (with ads) that holds 200.
But it’s clear why the companies at the top charge the prices they do. The alternatives either do not have high capacity or are missing features. Nonetheless, some aren’t far off and with a bit of development they just might fill the gap.
For now, we chose Go-To-Webinar. For large webinars it seems to be reliable, pretty easy to set up, easy to edit, easy to run, and support is always available if you have a problem.
We managed to get a good deal by negotiating down from their 12-month tariff. We also signed up for their affiliate programme – and though this isn’t a pointedly promotional post, if you click the link above and sign up with them we will get commission.