AnyMeeting is a company that used to be known as Freebinar. They originally pioneered a product that was free, powered by ads. They enable users to host and attend conferences, do screen sharing, and meet over the web. The power of this device is found through its web-based approach. This software-as-a-service method (SaaS) makes AnyMeeting a powerful tool over its competitors.
AnyMeeting was originally launched in 2009 as “Freebinar.” Colin Tuculescu, a 12-year veteran of the industry, was the first person to realize that the web conference industry was not using ads to provide a free conferencing platform. The idea took off, and as of 2012, AnyMeeting reported that over 200,000 registered users were conducting several thousand meetings a month.
After its launch, the Pro 25 and Pro 200 service levels were introduced. These service levels let 25 or 200 people attend a web conference. However, if a client wants to choose the free version, it lets 200 people attend a meeting, but lacks some of the powerful features that paid service levels provide. The free ad-based version, however, provides one of the best solutions for customers in the industry, if they are willing to use the platform with ads.
For a free product, it doesn't get better than this. Moreover, AnyMeeting also provides a free version that in some ways, are better than paid solutions offered by the competitor.
We really liked AnyMeeting's free web-conferencing solution. Here are the basic features that it includes:
The free version does have ads. With anything using ads, we often wonder what we will see. For the free version, AnyMeeting shows the customer where their ads will be placed when they are using the platform.
The Pro 25 and Pro 200 versions also offer these features. With Pro 200, you can take your virtual meeting to a full-blown webinar. We found that the Pro 200 version offers:
Why is AnyMeeting's Pro 200 a great fit? Many of the leading webinar providers out there let you integrate the chat solution into a CRM experience, such as Sales Force. AnyMeeting's powerful Google Apps and Outlook integration, which are free, let you mange your clients.
With AnyMeeting, the Google Apps integration makes live annotations easy. While having an AnyMeeting session open, users can also track changes in real time with document comments. While other web conferencing providers use Drop Box and other storage solutions, we felt like the Google Drive solution makes it easy to best annotate a meeting.
Another feature that we found incredibly useful with this service was the web-based SaaS (Software As A Service) approach used to develop AnyMeeting. While many web conferencing platforms out there do have attendee web portals, many require that the host download an app. However, with AnyMeeting, the host also enjoys the soft experience of using a web-based platform to start the meeting.
Finally, we found that many web conferencing companies out there required that a company download a license for each host. With AnyMeeting, you can add multiple accounts to a license, making AnyMeeting a more affordable alternative if you aren't already using the free version.
The free version of AnyMeeting is a great tool. It lets customers invite up to 200 people to a meeting. However, we were somewhat concerned by the location of the free ads. During your sign on, the ads don't cause too much clutter. However, when using the chat portal, the ads for the free user start taking up space on the screen really quick. For the free user, they will encounter an "ad billboard" on the right of their screen. During the meeting, we found that the placement of these ads might distract the attendee and presenter.
Another problem we found with AnyMeeting is that the first payment tier removes some functionality of the free version. While the Pro 25 version has more features than the free version, we wanted to see a high number of people still let into the meeting.
We also had a problem with the video features of this website. We like the fact that there are six streams of video available for conferencing. However, some of the free versions out there, like Google Hangouts, do provide more conferencing channels (up to 10). We would also like to see HD video conferencing available, as well as other HD streaming for customers. We do, however, like the fact that AnyMeeting offers YouTube streaming. Other competitors don't let you stream videos easily, if at all.
I was a happy customer with InstantPresenter since 2009, a company that AnyMeeting took over in 2016. InstantPresenter provided a reliable, easy to use platform for webinars and hosting of webinar recordings that was an integral part of my online training business. Since January 2017 when InstantPresenter's webinar functionality was sunset, my company has used AnyMeeting, and the experience has been quite unsuccessful in 4 areas: Security, Resource Library, Presentation and Recording Quality. SECURITY: Unlike InstantPresenter, there is no capacity to password a scheduled webinar to assure security. The only password possible is through user registration: when a user registers to attend the webinar, the user sets his or her own password. If the user forgets or misplaces that password before the webinar begins, there is no way for the user to reset the password, and the user is unable to join. Calls to the support group received the suggestion to monitor the attendee list while presenting in the webinar, comparing it with the enrolled students, and kicking out anyone not enrolled. It is ridiculous to suggest that a presenter would be doing this while actively teaching a webinar! The password facility in InstantPresenter was easy to use and reliable. Why can't AnyMeeting provide the same level of service they replaced?? RESOURCE LIBRARY: The AnyMeeting platform allows .pdf files to be uploaded and presented during a webinar. However, this only works when the materials are uploaded to the resource library BEFORE the webinar begins. If there is a need to upload a document while in the webinar, each attempt to upload.pdf files generated an error noting invalid file format. Calls to their tech support team suggested opening a problem ticket by emailing the support group. This was done, with no response. PRESENTATION: The webinar pane has a large open area for presentation with a default sunrise photo in the background. In order to change this to a company appropriate image such as a logo watermark, the change has to be made each time, each webinar; it cannot be made at the account level. The presentation pane has a small video image of the presenter, and another relatively small image of the presentation document. The sizes of these image areas cannot be adjusted, leaving almost half of the screen area unused. This has been discussed with the support team who confirm the status quo on these factors. RECORDING QUALITY: The recordings of recent webinars have an audio/video synch issue, with sound preceding the video in an increasing time lag as the webinar proceeds. By the end of a 2 hour webinar it is a serious issues, and looks very unprofessional. The webinars done by my company recently will have to be recreated in order to be of sufficient quality to sell the recorded version. Again, this has been reported to Needless to say, I am transitioning to a different platform, and will no longer be an AnyMeeting customer. There are other stronger options out there, and I encourage others who seek a reliable webinar service to skip this one.