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Zoho Meeting’s key webinar features include the ability to synchronise with integrated applications such as Google calendars and a live chat function, but whilst the system has some nice add-ons, some improvements could be made on the speed of connection (and therefore the overall delivery of the webinar). It also offers one of the cheapest payment options around, but if you’re looking for massive numbers in a webinar then you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Zoho serves over 7 million users, which certainly shows that it has a dedicated following. It utilises a cloud-based business model which allows its customers to take advantage of a number of special features and over 25 apps that you won’t find elsewhere. Registering is particularly easy as you are able to use an existing account with Google, Yahoo or Facebook, although – of course – when it comes to paying you’ll still have to set up a payment. This makes things quite convenient, though, as it means you can access a variety of apps and sites using a single account. It also has cross-platform support so you shouldn’t have many issues when switching between machines, or encouraging webinar attendees to get involved.
This webinar service offers two sorts of package: a free basic package, which only allows 2 participants to meet, and a paid system which depends on how many people you want to host. At the lower end of the attendee capacity things are perhaps slightly more expensive than is expected, at over $2 per person. However, if you are looking to host around 100 people then the prices drop significantly and are very competitive when compared to other webinar services. You can try these packages for 30 days for free, and corporate subscriptions allow you extra features such as user management, portal management and re-branding. The re-branding is particularly useful if you want to give a professional feel to your webinars by including things such as a brand logo. Subscriptions are also just one month long, so it is quite easy to change your contract if you decide you want to host more or fewer attendees. Another feature worth mentioning is the ability to charge for tickets to attend your webinar using PayPal, which is a good way to make some money back, or even turn a profit.
It’s worth checking the list of apps that Zoho has on offer. Many of them are similar to those you’ll find elsewhere, whereas a few are a little more unique. In particular the system works behind proxy and firewalls, so won’t be interrupted by them and you won’t have to keep reconfiguring your settings to make allowances for protective systems. It also supports multiple monitors and has automatic zoom functions, so that none of the information you’re presenting will be lost in the transmission.
A major down side to Zoho is the lack of video streaming, which means that you can’t present face-to-face, which is really troublesome if you want to promote a product or simply want your audience to be able to see you. This is probably why Zoho is relatively cheap in comparison to its peers. Screen sharing can also lag through the browser, although might be improved if it is run through the downloadable desktop app.
Zoho.com has a lot of features and a generally easy-to-use system, but it does suffer from a few crippling drawbacks. However, if you’re looking to host relatively small numbers of people in your webinar and have no use for video streaming then this is a very affordable option.
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