Web Conference Pricing Shaking Out

By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-11-15

Pricing for hosted Web conferencing services still runs the gamut—from limited seats and minutes per room per month with per-minute overage charges to pay-by-the-minute services. In general, however, the pricing foci of new Web conferencing systems has been on flat, per-month usage pricing or pairing Web conferencing with other services, such as instant messaging or team work spaces.

The flat, per-month usage model generally includes a package of participant seats available to a named-user host that has unlimited use of the service in that month.

Services priced on the named-user model include Citrix Systems Inc.s GoToMeeting and Convoq Inc.s ASAP. The difference in pricing for the two—GoToMeeting is priced at $468 per year for 10 attendees and ASAP costs $200 per year for 25 attendees—shows that parity in pricing and features hasnt materialized in the market as yet.

GoToMeeting, for example, provides only Web and audio conferencing (where participants pay toll charges to use the audio conferencing bridge). ASAP uses an IM service as the springboard for launching collaborative Web conferencing meetings but doesnt offer an audio conferencing capability.

Both Citrix and Convoq have other pricing options that diverge even further from each other for companies that plan to use the services in very specific ways. For example, Citrixs GoToMeeting Corporate allows five named users to host as many as five simultaneous meetings with up to a combined 25 attendees for $2,500 per year. Convoqs Conference Room licenses cost $3,000 per year for 50 attendees and $5,000 per year for 100 attendees. In both instances, only one host can run a single meeting at a time. Convoq also offers overage pricing to add incremental users for 15 cents per attendee per minute.

Got all that?

One of the more interesting new wrinkles in Web conferencing is the Web & Audio Conferencing feature in the Intranet Suite offered by Intranets.com Inc. Customers of this service rent Web conferencing capabilities based on Netspoke Inc.s Conferencing Hub application, as part of Intranets.coms eponymously named hosted collaborative team-room application suite. The service is priced at $150 per month for up to 25 simultaneous participants. As part of the service, Intranets.com also offers audio conferencing at 12 cents per minute per connection.

Click here to read Labs review of Netspoke and three other Web conferencing applications.

Pricing for the Intranets.com hybrid is a considerable departure from the per-minute model of conference pricing, giving companies a predictably priced method of using Web conferencing for group collaboration.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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