Webex Review: Connecting, Communicating, Chatting

So let me get this straight. GoToMeeting, considered by many to be the gold standard in the online conferencing world, charges you $49 per month for unlimited meeting sessions. Webex, a direct competitor, also charges $49 per month for unlimited meeting sessions.

Well, it looks like my job as a Webex reviewer is cut out for me: I get to perform what is essentially a direct comparison between platforms, at least as far as price is concerned. That almost completely wipes out the pricing variable and forces us to focus on the other goods that Webex delivers.

That’s good news for me: I like my reviews to be black and white. But I wouldn’t be an effective writer without adding a few shades of gray, now would I? There’s more to the Webex pricing tale than that flat $49/month fee, just as there’s more to Webex as a whole that this review can’t afford to ignore. So if you want a more comprehensive look at Webex’s online meeting and videoconferencing software, you’ve come to the right place.

This Webex reviewer says he likes what he sees.

You KNOW it's good software when the guy on home page is smiling.

First Things First: Are The Two Prices Really Equal?

I opened this esteemed Webex review by mentioning the eerie-similar $49/month price to host unlimited sessions of meetings in both GoToMeeting and Webex. But there’s more to the story, even if we’re simply talking about that same figure.

Consider: GoToMeeting’s $49/month price applies for meetings of up to 15 attendees, a stipulation that people in larger companies will want to avoid. That means the big guys will have to opt for more expensive versions of GoToMeeting and the whole “49=49″ logic suddenly becomes moot.

What about Webex? The $49/month will allow you to host up to 25 attendees, which means it’s actually the better bargain. See? I told you there were shades of gray! (Yes, only a writer can get excited by such things.)

This means that Webex’s offer is the superior one, provided that Webex offers the same types of features we should expect from a top-flight piece of web conferencing software. I know, I keep adding layers upon layers here – soon enough this review is going to turn into Inception.

This requires a more thorough look at Webex’s features themselves. Onward!

Webex’s Features Themselves

You’ll get all the usual core functionality with Webex that you would expect from anywhere else. Inviting up to 25 attendees per meeting, you can do video and voice conferencing, You can schedule a meeting, invite people to that meeting, and sync things up so it’s like you’re essentially working in real-time. It’s a beautiful system, and providers like Webex are part of what makes this possible.

But before I get all gushy on you, remember that you can actually explore this for yourself. I love a piece of software that providers a free trial, and Webex gets those bonus points here. As always, be on the lookout for being signed up to the normal package after the trial expires.

And why are free trials such a variable these days? You’ll see anywhere from…

  • 10-day trials
  • 14-day trials
  • 30-day trials
  • 31.4933218 day trials

Ok, the last one is made up. It’s really those pesky 10-day free trials you’ll really want to be wary of.

I could probably go on and on about more features, but since there’s a free trial available, you can probably do your own research much better if you simply give Webex a whirl yourself. There can’t be a much better Webex review than the one you experience personally, so get to it!

Getting Things Done

Using Webex over GoToMeeting isn’t a bad decision if you have a company of 20 people and simply need to choose Webex based on how many attendees the software allows you to have at the minimum rate. But, if we’re being honest, a meeting of around a dozen people maximum will probably do. You don’t need your IT guy to come to a meeting about how you’re going to market your latest product, after all, or your programmers to join in on a meeting about a sales pitch. Getting things done with the base priceline here is not a major issue whether you’ve downloaded Webex or GoToMeeting.

So what differentiates the two otherwise? Surprisingly, very little. It’s a bit like choosing between two cereals at the grocery store when both cereals have different brands but the same essential taste and texture. In other words, it’s hard to go wrong. Webex delivers on all the core services you need out of conferencing software, and GoToMeeting isn’t any slouch, either.

So how do you make your final decision? I suggest making a list of the different features you definitely want out of your web conferencing software. Then check out the different web sites and see if all of those features are met by their program with the lowest price.

Conclusions

Webex is a great product, but web conferencing is a market full of great products. Deciding to go with any one particular web conferencing software will be more a matter of personal preferences and individual needs than it will have to with my input. If you have larger meetings, it’s probably better to go with Webex and its larger capabilities for the same price as a GoToMeeting.

At the very least, you can mitigate the risk by trying out the free trial and asking yourself if there’s anything Webex is missing that you’d really like to get out of your conferencing software. But once you get used to the idea that you’re holding meetings remotely, you might totally forget that there were ever options in the first place and stick with the horse that brung ya.

It’s not a bad thing. Web conferencing software has the ability to totally change the way you do business, and as long as you go with a quality name like Webex, you probably won’t be steered wrong. Just ignore the temptation to make meetings last even longer now. Even if you like the software, that doesn’t mean you still have to like the meetings.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating

Dan Kenitz

Dan Kenitz is a former professional Search Engine Optimization specialist and current freelance writer, commentator, and all-around entrepreneur.

3 comments

  1. Dan:

    Thank for the excellent and balanced review. We appreciate your point by point commentary and encourage you to consider a few more WebEx advantages.

    The two biggest are mobility and security.

    We have received great feedback from our users on our new set of mobile applications that let you WebEx from nearly anywhere using a mobile device including the Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and both iPads. All are available free to both hosts and attendees (which means you don’t have to have an account to participate in a meeting).

    Users should know that when they choose to meet online, their content is secure because WebEx is backed by Cisco Security. Business meetings often include confidential or proprietary information so knowing it’s safe is an important consideration.

    We truly appreciate this honest review and we look forward to delighting you as a mobile user.

    Sincerely,

    June Bower, VP Cisco Online Business

  2. Dan

    June, thanks for taking the time to offer your point of view. As I’m sure you know, unless we were do a “revisited” article, the 4/5 rating is pretty much set in stone (yes, I am immune to your powers!).

    But obviously Clickfire readers are free to draw their own conclusions. And I’m sure you taking the time to explain your point of view certainly isn’t hurting in that department.

  3. Hi Dan,
    Great review!
    We’ve used Webex to host virtual meetings and webinars for the last 5 years, and you’re right – size does matter! I’m sure we have some type of enterprise level account because we have in-house staff that are dedicated to monitoring hundreds of meetings and training classes every year. I highly recommend their service. Thanks.

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