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 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.