I believe that with GVO Conference, with a very impressive list of features and the very accessible cost of only $8.97 a month, I have found an answer.
Our company has signed up as a customer and, because we see this product as meeting a real need in the market, also as an affiliate. But my main interest is in being able to use the product myself for webinars.
In the product comparison department, as a participant in webinars I’ve found WebEx and GoToWebinar excellent in terms of features. I don’t recall experiencing lag or dropouts with either. Friends have told me Adobe’s Acrobat Connect product is also excellent. However, I’ve not found the pricing of these products very welcoming.
I believe many freelance professionals and work at home business owners would be interested in a lower-priced product, with appropriate features and reliability of course.
I’ve tested other services in the past which were free or low cost, but have not found one which works well enough for me to be confident about it. That includes DimDim, now acquired by Salesforce. I was never able to get the free version to work satisfactorily for me, in spite of efforts by the Dimdim people to help me make it work. I suspect our local rather limited broadband was partly to blame, although that does not seem to have been a problem for WebEx or GoToWebinar.
Given the recent acquisition by Salesforce, the pricing DimDim had is somewhat academic now, but by way of comparison, in 2009 their paid (“premium”) service offered unlimited conferences for up to 50 people at a time, for an average US$19.95 a month (according to a post on ZDNet, April 2, 2009).
Along the way I’ve tried three or more other free or low cost services but their lag and/or dropout tendencies made them unsuitable for my professional use.
Starting the dance with GVO Conference
So I was a tad wary when I decided to test out the GVO Conference service. Price was certainly very attractive at a basic US$8.97 a month, the feature list looked pretty comprehensive and I’d heard good things about reliability.
Also helping my receptivity was the availability of 24/7 live support. Believe me, when you live, as I do, in a seriously different time zone from where most of your online services are domiciled (USA) it’s deeply frustrating to realize that you can’t call now because everyone has gone home and won’t be back till Tuesday morning your time and even then you had better get up early because it’s about to be the end of their Monday working day!
I love 24/7 live support!
Moving right along
Overall, testing of GVO Conference has given me confidence that this product really suits our company’s needs. And at $8.97 a month it is more than manageable financially.
There is a full list of GVO Conference features on this page.
Our company has purchased two conference rooms: we can host a conference of up to 50 people in each of those. If and when the number goes above that number, I can upgrade to the next level, with 300 seats, plus an additional 50 seat room, at $44.99 a month, and do that on the fly.
I plan to use GVO Conference for some individual coaching on social media and in a couple of weeks from now for my new free webinar series on social media. In that way I’ll get to use the various features, including the whiteboarding, screen sharing, interactive chat and so on.
I like the fact that participants in my coaching sessions and webinars will not to have to download any new software to their computers to access the webinar (although they will need to have Flash installed – sorry, iPhone and iPad users, talk to Steve Jobs about that).
There is a business opportunity here for people wanting to register as affiliates, but you can buy just the product and as I say my main interest right now is in using the GVO Conference product for my own webinars.
I intend to report further when I’ve used the product for a while and will leave a link here at that time.