Given Clickfire’s experience with web conferencing software, we’ve come across some interesting free offers. Most of the time, however, these “free” options come with an Achilles’ heel: you can virtually invite no one to your actual meetings. Sure, it’s nice to host one or two people if you’re a freelancer or a tiny company, but what if you’ve got no budget for pens, let alone web conferencing, and need to host a meeting of seven, eight, or nine?
Well, you’d be stuck, unless you found a provider like Mikogo. But since I’ll be taking plenty of time in this Mikogo review to explain what it’s all about, I’ll let them make the introduction:
Mikogo is a free desktop sharing tool full of features to assist you in conducting the perfect online meeting or web conference.
Take advantage of the opportunity to share any screen content or application over the Internet in true color quality with up to 10 participants simultaneously, while still sitting at your desk.
You read them right – up to 10 participants at the same time, more than three times the previous high we’ve reviewed at Clickfire and certainly an intriguing offer. That is, of course, if Mikogo actually lives up to its own, modest hype and delivers with a piece of software that really beats out the competition. Whether or not it does is the answer we’ll be searching for over the next several hundred words or so.
Sure, It’s Free – But Is It Good?
Mikogo might be home of the free, but is it the best free web conferencing software we’ve seen? We still can’t give Mikogo a solid review if it’s free and offers absolutely no solid collaboration options and is worse for meetings than a simpler software like Skype.
The truth is that most “free” web conferencing tools – while they do indeed come free – also come with a strategic upsell. They want you to check out their free software and then try one of their paid features. After all, let’s say you use their meeting software and enjoy it until you have to give a presentation online to 7 different people. It’s not happening unless you start bringing out the credit card and punching in numbers. Blech.
Yes, It’s Good
Mikogo avoids that basic premise by offering you the aforementioned “up to 10 collaborator” meeting option. But since 10 is still a limit, that means there must be a catch, right? Well, the good news about Mikogo is that it’s not really all about the upsell. Yes, they do refer you to their parent company, Beam Your Screen, on their web site, but that’s about it.
And yes, you will be able to have more online collaborators once you switch to the paid version, but the good news is that Mikogo still does a better job of allowing you more collaborators before you have to switch to paid.
That alone is essentially reason enough to recommend Mikogo over a number of other web conferencing tools out there. If the other pieces of software could only yield you one or two other collaborators total, then choosing the program that allows you ten is a no-brainer. The other differences across web conferencing tools – such as basic features – are usually not a big factor. Many of them simply have different interfaces for accomplishing the same dozen or so essential options.
Features and Other Goodies
Well, I’d still be remiss if I didn’t mention these features, so let’s give that a go. After all, a five-star rating requires a little bit more information than “it’s free! It’s free!” – at least it does here at Clickfire.
First, let’s take a look at the basics:
- Desktop sharing
- Switching the “presenter”
- File transfer
- Recording and playback
- Changing keyboard and mouse control
While most of this technology would have amazed us about ten or fifteen years ago, it’s basically “par for the course” in terms of modern day web conferencing software. Yes, they’re great features to have, but they’ve become the new bottom line in the industry of web conferencing software.
Still, that’s good news. A piece of free software like Mikogo really has plenty of reasons to make you pay for these features but they don’t – not as long as you’re holding a relatively small meeting online.
If you’re a businessman who hasn’t even used web conferencing software before, there’s a chance you’ll not only be wowed by Mikogo’s features, but amazed that you didn’t have to dial in your credit card numbers to make it happen. The combination of these two factors is what really nails it.
So Should Mikogo Be Your Product – Even Above Paid Software?
Now that we’ve pretty well established that Mikogo is the place to go if you have a need for free web conferencing software, there’s a question that remains: what if you weigh Mikogo against the big names in web conferencing, like GoToMeeting or Webex?
It’s a good question. The answer, as always, depends on you and your needs. If you have a big company that requires a lot of collaborators for these online meetings, then you’ll always want to go with something paid just to handle the sheer volume of people who are going to be meeting with you online.
But since Mikogo’s maximum collaborators (10) are not that far off from the 20-25 you’ll see in many paid web conferencing tools, Mikogo still looks like a really solid option.
It’s perfect for the startup business, the freelancer, and just about anyone on the go with a little initiative. Heck, you might want to show it to your boss simply to be known as someone who’s got good web tips. (Just be wary of becoming the “computer” guy at work – we all know how that can turn out.)
Overall, I highly recommend Mikogo for a variety of purposes and acknowledge that while it still has certain limitations, these are about the smallest limitations in a free conferencing tool yet. It blows the other free tools out of the water and even competes with the paid big boys. Do yourself a favor and check out Mikogo today.