Why I Stopped Using Web Conferencing Software

Web conferencing software never works right

Web conferencing software sucksRunning a web hosting and design business frequently requires sharing content or looking at a website together with your client. There are several tools to help accomplish this including WebEx, join.me, GoToMeeting, Anymeeting, and FuzeMeeting.com.

The problem with almost all of these services is that they never work when you need them.

Every. Single. Time.

Consider this scenario that’s happened a hundred times to me and my clients:

  1. You talk with your client and realize that you need to look at the same document or website together.
  2. You schedule a meeting using your favorite premium web conferencing software.
  3. Your client receives the email but doesn’t install the software ahead of time. Understandable; I do it too. Technology should “just work” and they can install it whenever they join the meeting, right?
  4. The meeting arrives and everyone joins 2 minutes late due to an adjacent meeting, bio break, coffee run, etc.
  5. 5 more minutes pass. Your client finally finds the meeting invite and clicks on the link.
  6. Your client is presented with several boxes and when each one pops up they ask you if they should click it. SMH. Whatever it asks you, just click YES!
  7. They inevitably say, “It says I need to install Java”, or “It says that I’m in the meeting but I don’t see anything. Are you sharing?”
  8. 20 minutes have passed. At this point everyone is frustrated and you decide to just manually tell each other what you’re looking at on the screen.

Be consistent

FuzeMeeting.com was very promising however, like other web conferencing tools, it was missing a couple features that I needed.

Correction: I didn’t really need the extra features but it’s important to be consistent with clients. You can’t use 4 different tools for sharing documents, sharing screens, controlling their computer, and another for “quick meetings”.

It’s usually a miracle when you get one of them installed. Imagine telling them, “You’ll need to install this other tool for this meeting because I need to blah blah blah.”

Summary

In the end I still don’t have a good solution. I currently use join.me and it’s already failed 2 out of 3 times so I won’t be renewing. I frequently need to control someone else’s screen but tools like LogMeIn Rescue are too expensive for how little I need to use them.

What tools do you use to share documents or website with your clients? Let us know in the comments!

Bonus phrases!

Here are some other phrases I’ve heard on web meetings. Feel free to share yours!

  • “I’m on a Mac. Is this compatible with Mac?”
  • “I have JavaScript enabled. Do I need Java too?”
  • “You sent me an email? I didn’t get it.”
  • “I don’t have a spam folder.”
  • “I clicked the link and nothing happened.”
  • “A message popped up. What should I do?”
  • “It says ‘Name’. Should I enter my name?”

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3 Responses to “Why I Stopped Using Web Conferencing Software”

  1. Jason January 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    Check out ScreenConnect. They are self-hosted so it keeps the price in check. https://www.screenconnect.com/

  2. John Keith January 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    I totally understand the pain points you describe in your post. We actually started our company to address a lot of these issues. One of the big things is that the root of a lot of web conferencing is screen sharing technology, instead of co-browsing or application-oriented technology. That is, it’s not necessary to share your screen if you’re presenting and collaborating on a document. Once screen sharing becomes an adjunct technology, instead of the primary technology, many problems disappear.

    I think the “web conferencing” market (for lack of a better term) is undergoing some changes as web-based collaboration improves and covers a lot of the web conferencing needs. My pet peeve is actually the state and quality of accompanying audio. I’m going to write my own blog post about how, in 2015, can quality audio still be a challenge?

    Cheers,

    John Keith
    Lucid Meetings

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