Are Free Webinar Services Actually a Better Deal?

If you have the choice to either pay for a service or get it for free, common sense would have you keep your money in your wallet. But often consumers fear the phrase, “you get what you pay for.” At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be many differences between free webinar services and paid webinar services. What you might need to consider is how these services will affect your range of business.

Free Webinar Services Provide Comparable Features to Paid Webinar Services

Both paid and free webinar services offer customers the opportunity to meet with others from around the world without leaving their office chair. Most offer unlimited meetings, invitations, screen sharing, recording, statistics, text chat, technical support, and conference calling. Some free webinar services, such as AnyMeeting, claim to have more features than several paid webinar services like GoToWebinar and WebEx. AnyMeeting hosts recordings, posts meetings on Facebook and Twitter, and doesn’t require a download for the program. Overall, most of the free webinar features are fairly comparable to paid ones.

Free Webinar Software May Limit Your Attendees

Although most features are comparable, there is one notable difference between paid and free conferencing services. Most paid webinar services can reach a much larger audience than the free webinar services. FreeWebMeeting can only connect up to seven attendees and AnyMeeting can connect up to 200 attendees; whereas, the best webinar software from GoToWebinar can connect up to 1,000 attendees and WebEx can connect up to 3,000 attendees. If you have a smaller target group, this discrepancy may not make a difference.

The Price is Right

While your attendees may be limited with free webinar services, the price may be just right for “smaller” meetings. AnyMeeting can provide a free webinar for 200 attendees, while GoToWebinar charges $99 a month, or $948 a year, for webinars with 100 attendees. For webinars with 1,000 attendees, GoToWebinar charges $499 a month.

If you don’t expect to invite over 200 people to your webinar, you may consider free webinar services. However, they rely on advertisements to keep their services free. Your attendees may or may not mind advertisements that will encroach onto their screen throughout the webinar, but this possible nuisance keeps money in your pocket.

What You Give Up

Most free webinar services can’t reach as many attendees as paid webinar services can reach. Without those attendees, your organization may be losing advertisement and money through membership and seminar fees. Will money saved because of free webinar services counter the money lost because of less “face time” on the Internet?

On the other hand, free webinar services might be the smartest investment for smaller group meetings. Rather than pay a monthly or yearly fee for webinars in which you have a few hundred or less people, you may take advantage of free webinar services that are offering cutting edge features comparable to companies that charge for webinars.

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