Under the principle that “you get what you pay for,” you always have to be just a little suspicious of a company that gives away something for nothing. Especially when that company belongs to an industry where you can usually expect a good $20-40/month for the same essential services.
As it turns out, iVisit sort of lives up to those suspicions. But not in a bad way. To be clear, iVisit is the kind of service you’d expect out of a free business conferencing product – less features and less bells and whistles than the paid guys – but still performs its duty well. For the price, it’s still a bargain, and that gets good marks in my book any day.
After all, in today’s subscription-based Internet, whenever you hear a promise like “Meet anywhere, anytime for free,” then you know you’re onto something. Let’s just make sure, in this iVisit review, that something doesn’t hit the common pitfalls of many free services, like upselling, spamming, or general annoyance.
To Free or Not to Free
That is the question, after all. When you’re talking about holding an online meeting, you’ve got two choices: you can pay for your online meeting software or you can go to a place like iVisit and avoid that whole credit card shindig altogether.
To be sure, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method of software acquisition. Let’s consider.
Paid conferencing software:
- Better features
- Bigger meetings
- More options
And, of course, let’s consider free conferencing software like iVisit:
- Uh…not paying
- Easy to download and begin at any time
- Easy to share, since it’s free
- Fewer capabilities and options
- Smaller – way smaller – meeting sizes
- Less advanced bells and whistles
This, by the way, while relevant to the discussion of iVisit, does not necessarily reflect on iVisit in any particular way. It’s just how things are going to be when you compare two pieces of software with this glaring difference.
The question is, then, whether or not iVisit makes full use of its advantages and squeezes out the disadvantages. And therein we reach the true meat in this review sandwich: how iVisit stacks up.
The Ins and Outs of iVisit Teleconferencing Software
Using iVisit, of course, is virtually risk-free because you won’t be paying upfront. Consider it like a permanent free trial of a more advanced software. This actually does occur across a range of technology around the Internet: many services will give you the stripped-down version of its software for free, kind of like a permanent demo.
iVisit’s main attraction is this demo, the inferior version of their own software that still maintains its own appeal by maintaining a solid identity. What is that identity exactly? It’s a simple, relatively-advanced-but-certainly-not-fancy program with a minimalist interface designed to do exactly what you think it will do. It will get you face-to-face, voice-to-voice with your colleagues or clients and it will allow you both to share documents in a relatively easy way. Not much more you can ask for from your web conferencing software unless you’re shelling out some dough every month.
When you consider all that’s included with the free iVisit, you begin to realize this is the right software for you. Heck, if you only ever meet with one individual, what do you really need 20-man meetings for?
This means that iVisit actually does come out looking good. In other words, its features are worth the tiny hassle of downloading and then running the program. When you consider the inherent advantages to this kind of free software – the ease with which you can share it with colleagues and clients – then you’ve found the exact right type of software you’ve been looking for.
What’s more, the budding entrepreneur or freelancer who wants to hold meetings on professional software but not pay anything for it actually has a solid option here. As a freelancer myself, I find that very intriguing indeed.
There’s more to the iVisit story than its free version. You can upgrade to iVisit Premium for a miniscule $5/month or so, and this will win you features like having a meeting with up to 8 users present. You’ll also be able to host meetings that include free guests, which is a great way to bring a lot of people together and is more on par with the paid versions of web conferencing software programs out on the market already.
There’s also iVisit Mobile, which runs you $4.95/month and allows, of course, for mobile conferencing. Some additional features are present here, like unlimited photo transfers and “push-to-talk” options across “any carrier.” Not too shabby, especially if you’re the kind of person who absolutely lives out of their smart phone. If you’ve been dreaming of living the 4-Hour WorkWeek underneath a palm tree with naught but your iPhone, iVisit Mobile should be in your list of tools.
Considering the more expansive versions of iVisit still run way cheaper than the leading competitors, there’s definitely something about this company that strikes me the right way. And considering how easy it is to upgrade should the need ever arise, there’s no reason downloading the free iVisit program right now should feel like such a hassle.
Why 4 out of 5 stars for iVisit? Well, it’s pretty simple: while I may find myself returning to this software to handle my own web conferencing in the future, the strict limitations of the free version do numb a bit of the excitement. Even the paid versions of iVisit don’t come up to the levels of the paid versions of other conferencing programs.
But, for the price of “free,” there’s a lot to consider here. iVisit is an improvement over free Skyping for certain purposes, especially as it relates to business and sharing files. There are a lot of people for whom iVisit wouldn’t make a lot of sense. But in this enterprising age of the Internet entrepreneur, it’s hard to imagine who those people would be. I’m certainly a potential iVisit customer, and maybe you are too.