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Webinar software Review: AnyMeeting

 

AnyMeeting provides ad-supported webinar software which is free for up to 200 attendees.  Businesses can also subscribe to AnyMeeting’s ad-free webinar solutions for a monthly fee.  If you don’t mind ads, we certainly can’t argue with that price – but is it worth your time? We spent a week testing AnyMeeting so you don’t have to.  Read on.

Overview

AnyMeeting offers a relatively wide range of features for webinar hosts.  They have standard features including screen sharing and application sharing, PowerPoint and .pdf uploading capabilities, and the ability to record a webinar.  Interactivity features include polling, moderated chat, and “raise hand” buttons.  AnyMeeting is also integrated with PayPal payment processing so you can charge attendees (if you would like).  For attendees on the go, AnyMeeting enables them to use a phone to conference call into a webinar.  This allows participants to attend, listen in, and speak during a webinar from their phone. You can also post a link in the YouTube bar and AnyMeeting will play the video without activating the screen sharing application.  Make sure to have the link ready to go.  This feature worked well in Firefox but did not work in Chrome (but more on that later).

Experience

Overall, I found AnyMeeting’s interface to be choppy and inconsistent.  While file sharing seemed seamless and simple, Facebook and Twitter integration, which allows you to update fans and followers with posts and notifications relating to the webinar, were difficult to find and utilize.  Make sure to test AnyMeeting extensively and become comfortable with all the features before hosting your first webinar with real prospects (you should do this with any software anyway, but just to give you added warning). plugin From my brief experience testing AnyMeeting with Chrome, webinar attendees experienced a slight but noticeable video and audio lag.  It wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was frustratingly distracting.  Further, the webinar recording feature is downright terrible.  The sound quality was painful at best.  My voice was so heavily distorted that the recording was totally useless.  Recorded webinars are essential for most content marketers, so unless you test this and make sure it works for you, this is a deal breaker.  Even if the recording did work, AnyMeeting only allows you to share the recorded webinar through an AnyMeeting URL, with no option to export the file (majorly inconvenient).  AnyMeeting also does not work very well in Chrome with some noted Java plugin issues (AnyMeeting recognizes and addresses the problem on their site). The good news is that my experience was substantially better with Firefox.  I was able to easily download and activate the Java plugin that allows for screen sharing and YouTube video sharing.  Audio broadcasting was clear and I did not experience any lagging.  Key takeaway: if you are going to use AnyMeeting, use it with Firefox only. recording

Value

With a free option that doesn’t even require you to input credit card information, it’s difficult to complain about subpar quality.  Having said that, compared to competitors, AnyMeeting is a noticeably “cheaper” product with regard to quality.  If you do decide to upgrade, AnyMeeting has the following ad-free tiers: $17.99/month for 25 attendees $69.99/month for 200 attendees If you’re on an inflexible budget, AnyMeeting is one of your only choices for hosting free webinars.  It has many limitations, a steady learning curve, and some distracting ads, but if you can get it working with the right browser and settings, it’s not half bad.  It even competes reasonably well (not necessarily a good thing for the industry) with some paid alternatives.

Recommendation

I’m a Chrome guy and don’t personally find a reason to accommodate AnyMeeting’s limitations to save a few bucks a month.  But if Firefox is your thing, and you’re willing to trade time for money, give AnyMeeting a spin.
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