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.
- Service levels
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:
- Unlimited meetings
- 6-channel video conferencing.
- Integrated calling and VoIP
- Screen sharing
- Presentation upload and sharing.
- YouTube sharing
- Personalized meeting URL
- Mobile attendee accessible
- Google Apps and Outlook integration.
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:
- Facebook and Twitter integration
- Custom registration forms.
- Surveys and quizzes.
- Robust PayPal integration.
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.
- Video features
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.