A peek at Anymeeting, and the art of choosing a web conferencing provider
I recently had the good pleasure of catching up with Ken Hayes and Bob Menzies of Anymeeting, and seeing the latest version and vision.
What I won’t recount here is a list of features you can easily observe for yourself. That said, there are a few points of value to note for those investigating choices in web conferencing:
Specialized platform or one-size-fits-all?
Most web conferencing solutions are designed for meetings where people collaborate as equals (more or less). Many vendors have separate platforms for seminars (webinars) where the tools are configured for that use case.
I don’t think there’s a “perfect” web conferencing platform, and the question for you is, “Which is right for you?”
In Anymeeting’s case, you’ve got one platform. So you can also manage attendee registration, take a payment with PayPal, or do things you might otherwise find useful in a webinar that you wouldn’t do in a meeting.
Free with ads? Fee without ads?
When I blog about a vendor, I usually tell you to call them about pricing, but Anymeeting unabashedly lays out their model on their home page.
One reason you might want to pop out your credit card is that ad networks serve up ads based on the interests of the attendee (meaning you don’t have control over what they see, including, potentially, ads for your competitors).
And let’s get real. The last time you went out for pizza and brews you dropped as much coin for dinner as you’d spend for a month on a productivity tool that will make you or save you money. There’s no such thing as free. Anymeeting gives you a choice.
Pay attention to your “little things”
A value analogy: If you don’t know what you want to do with an automobile, any one of them will get you to the store. As you figure out that you’ll be hauling more children than gravel, the elegance of a van emerges over a pickup. Finally, as you refine your understanding and tastes, you figure out it’s the little things that create differentiation… the stereo, the cupholders, the way it looks and feels, the service plan, the reliability metrics, etc., etc.
Me, I’m a big fan of being able to re-configure the layout of my tools (something Anymeeting does NOT do), but then I found some things in Anymeeting where I thought, “Dang! Nicely done!”
A few of those little things in Anymeeting that might be your cup o’ tea include integration with Google Apps, integration with social media (such as displaying a Facebook badge), and/or asking you as you close a meeting if you want to take the audience to a specific URL.
The bottom line
It’s hard to be cheaper than “free,” and even the paid version of Anymeeting is less expensive than some other solutions on the market. Paying attention to the little things will help you determine what’s right for you (and if I was writing about their competitors, I’d be telling you why some of them do – quite legitimately – justify higher price tags).
Anymeeting’s clarity of vision for who they serve and how they serve them is admirable, and they’ve got some unique hooks in those “little things.” Thanks again for the conversation, Ken and Bob.