I had a web meeting with a couple of my clients this week. Normally I use GoToMeeting for this purpose, but the client set it up, and we used WebEx. When I selected a service a few years back, I rejected WebEx in favor of GoToMeeting, because I thought GoToMeeting had the nicest, smoothest, most intuitive interface of all similar products. The WebEx experience this week reminded me why I chose GoToMeeting, and showed that WebEx has not progressed in several years.
I had to download the WebEx software. The download was fine, but installation was a little shaky, and when installation was finished WebEx started, but unlike GoToMeeting, it didn’t remember which meeting link I’d clicked on to initiate the download and installation. Fine, I reopened the email and clicked again on the link. At one point I had to take control of another participant’s desktop, which is intuitive in GoToMeeting: click on a clearly-labeled button. In WebEx I had to right click on an unlabeled icon (without even a tooltip) to request control before the other user could grant permission, and he had to grope around to find the control to accomplish that. The WebEx connection was not as smooth or as quick as GoToMeeting, and the image quality was so poor I could barely read any text. There also didn’t seem to be a VoIP option. The final insult was that when the meeting ended, FireFox crashed.
I asked my client why they use WebEx; the answer was that the boss uses a Mac so they couldn’t use GoToMeeting. Well, a quick trip to their web site showed that this was untrue. So I emailed the client to say that (a) GoToMeeting works for Macs, and (b) the boss should get a real man’s computer.
I have a standard subscription to GoToMeeting, which runs $49/month, and allows unlimited meetings with up to 15 participants. I’ve used it to diagnose problems on client machines, because seeing what’s happening is much more informative than “I get an error”. I use it to demonstrate add-ins and techniques, because I can show something on my desktop, then watch and direct on the users’ desktops, and they learn better than following even a detailed web page. I used it to help my daughter, who’s away at college, clean some malware off of her computer. The subscription paid for itself when one user, who fancied himself as something of a programmer, asked me to walk him through the code so he could document it (he added comments like “Declare Variables”, “Start Subroutine”, and “Set bTest Equal to True”): though remarkably tedious, it was uch better on screen than over the phone..
I’m not getting any benefit from saying this, but I’ll say it anyway: GoToMeeting is by far the best web meeting service I’ve ever used.