SOHO Infrastructure: Comparing Webex Meeting Center and Gathering Place for doing Mac-hosted web conferencing

Ahhh, the joys of setting up infrastructure from scratch. We need a web conferencing application that can be hosted from either a Mac or a PC and it turns out that despite the fact that there are somewhere close to a billion web conferencing applications out there, there are only two that actually work from the Mac: Gathering Place or Webex Meeting Center which can only be found in their Small and Medium Business section of their website.

These appear to be only two real options:

Gathering Place

  • Cost: $29USD/user/mo with no ongoing commitment and a 14 day trial.
  • Pros: Simple, easy, loads quickly, draws faster than Webex, and allows the viewer to resize the screen they are viewing (to shrink it.) Includes voice calling inside the session. Minimal feature set (in this case, a plus.)
  • Cons: The software crashes whenever I quit it on my Mac. They don’t know why. Minimal feature set. Limited kinds of sharing compared to Webex.

Webex Meeting Center

  • Cost: $90USD/user/mo and requires a 12 month minimum commitment. What planet are these guys living on? I mean, the application is nice but I’m not sure it’s THAT nice.
  • Pros: Full-featured application that lets you share a desktop, an application, a browser (when you go to a webpage, your viewers go to that webpage in THEIR browser – good for showing YouTube videos or high-bandwidth sites.)
  • Cons: Expensive.

What about Gotomeeting.com or Microsoft LiveMeeting?

Gotomeeting can’t be hosted on a Mac. LiveMeeting can but only if you use Safari. Bleeeccchhh.

What about some of the new, lightweight conferencing applications?

Vyew is completely unusable and honestly just baffling. It doesn’t work properly on the Mac at all.
Yugma crashed when I tried it too.

This industry is AWFUL.

(6) Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nice summary, Troy!

    I’d add that WebEx’s Mac tech support varies:

    • There are several subtle flavors of WebEx. Because of this, it is REALLY hard to find the right department, let alone a Mac-Savvy support person.

    • I have met SUPERB Mac tech support people in the system – sometimes.

    • WebEx has its own intermittent crash-on-exit problem on the Mac, and it is much more disruptive to exit from. The WebEx team was VERY persistent in helping me track down the bug, but I was driven to distraction by their convoluted troubleshooting practices – too much like being a beta tester.

  2. Avatar

    Hi Troy,

    This is Karel Lukas from Yugma. Thank you very much for trying Yugma, and sorry to hear that Yugma didn’t launch for you. Please contact us and we’ll get you up and running in no time. One of our key strengths is our cross platform compatibility – and we have very good support for Macs, including Core Two Duo and Power PC’s. (Note: As part of our commitment to cross platform support, we just launched Linux compatibility this week.) Additionally, we invested a lot of time making the installation process as simple as can be. So let’s please give it another try. I think you’ll be impressed.

    Thanks much,

    Karel Lukas

    COO, Yugma

    support[at]yugma[dot]com

    http://www.yugma.com

  3. Avatar

    Hi Troy, I’m with the Vyew team and have many Mac users using Vyew. What OS are you running and what web browser? I was just playing around with Vyew today on a Mac using Firefox and Safari and it works fine. Please contact us at support@vyew.com with the issues you have and we’ll get them resolved asap.
    Thanks,
    The Vyew Team

  4. Avatar

    You might also want to look at our GroupWorld.net web conferencing product, which works on Mac, Windows and Linux:

    http://www.groupworld.net

    Price is US$24.99/month for unlimited rooms and 10 simultaneous users. You get audio, video, screen sharing, powerful whiteboard, full session recording/playback, and lots of customisation options.

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