Join.me Review – A Free Option for Large Webinars

Update, 12/12/12: For those of you looking for a new webinar service, we recently published a comprehensive comparison of webinar services.

More and more lately, I’ve been asked for specific recommendations for web conferencing/webinar/meeting software. Here’s another new service that seems to be promising.

It’s called Join.me, and the premise is one that I’m sure we can all get behind - “a ridiculously simple screen sharing tool for meetings on the fly.” 

It is definitely positioned as exactly that… a way for teams to meet remotely and share screens so that everyone is on the same page. However, I think it could also be used for those of us who hold webinars, training calls, and teach classes.

Features for Free

  • internet calling (VOIP)
  • screen sharing
  • 250 viewers
  • share control
  • multi-monitor
  • chat
  • send files (to participants or participants can send files to the presenter)

Features for $19/month or $149/year

  • unified audio (internet audio/VOIP and a phone number you and your guests can call into)
  • presenter swap
  • pro desktop app
  • personal link & background
  • meeting scheduler - you can only schedule meetings in advance if you have a pro account
  • meeting lock – close out the meeting to new attendees
  • user management – kick someone out if you need to ;)
  • international conference lines

The Big Question – Does it Record?

One of the most common questions I’m asked when it comes to this type of technology is, “does the service record the webinar?” This seems to be a concern for everyone, but especially Mac users. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

To record a join.me session, you would need to record your screen/audio with something else (perhaps Camtasia or Screenflow). This is still one thing that webinar/meeting apps have not conquered yet. So far, MeetingBurner will record the session if you have a premium subscription.

My Experience

I’ve used join.me, and there were a couple things I really liked about it. The first is that it is really simple.

The icons to control the meeting are intuitive, and even someone who isn’t very tech savvy could understand what to do if they had a question or wanted to call in using their computer.

The presenter’s controls – easy!

The second thing I liked is that with a pro account you can have your own URL – mine is http://join.me/ethicallaunch – which makes setting up a meeting really easy. The pro version will send out preformatted invites that help someone add the event to their calendar in Gmail or iCal.

The Bottom Line

I think this service could be useful for a casual meeting with friends, your mastermind group, or maybe with a client when you want to share the screen or show something you’re working on. I think it would be fine for classes/webinars too, if you don’t mind recording on your own or having someone do it for you.

Another thing to mention that I feel is important is that join.me isn’t a young startup – it’s actually run by the same people who created the site LogMeIn, which allows you to log-in to remote computers to access files or help with tech issues. This makes me feel like they will be able to efficiently deal with support requests and handle the traffic if the service becomes popular.

The biggest plus: Join.me is one of, if not the least expensive (free!) option for having a large webinar. You can have 250 attendees for free! Anymeeting, a similar free service, shows ads unless you go with their higher-end services ($17.99 for 25 attendees or $69.99 for 200).

I think join.me is worth a try if you’re looking for a new service. There is a 14-day free Pro trial if you’re interested in taking it for a spin.

Whichever service you choose, make sure you take the time to test it before your class or webinar. :)  

Which webinar service do you use? Are you happy with it?

Update, 12/12/12: For those of you looking for a new webinar service, we recently published a comprehensive comparison of webinar services.

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  • Sonya

    very usefull info here as  webinar sites are overwhelming to compare. Thank you Stacy!

  • http://RoseanneSchmidt.wordpress.com/ Roseanne Schmidt

    This is great! Thanks!

  • Brian Hernandez

    Thanks for the review. I have tested out the free version of Join.me and am surprised how easy it it to use compared to other services I have tried (TeamViewer, GoToWebinar and GoToMeeting, Yugma). The only thing missing from the Pro account is the ability to record, as you mentioned in your post. I could use my pro copy of ScreenFlow, but worried about everyone seeing the chat window. (perhaps that could just be pushed to monitor #2).

    Here’s two more services I’ve used and like what they offer, including recording in the Pro versions.

    1) TeamViewer—$749 one-time fee with free updates, plus ability to “brand” your own plug-in download. Still too difficult for some of my tech support and webinar clients. …

    2) I’ve also used the free version of Yugma.com for many years and find it simple to use and with pretty much all the features I need in a free program. They offer recording in their Pro accounts (P2 = $9.95/mo or $99/yr, P20 = $19.95/mo or $199/yr, and there’s P50, P100, P500 too). But they tack on “Webinar” and scheduling as an add-on service starting at $19.95/mo, unless you purchase the P50 or higher plan which includes it.

    • http://www.ethicallaunch.com/ stacy

      Brian, so sorry that I missed your comment. Thank you so much for your thoughts and experience!! Incredibly helpful. I will definitely be adding the other services you mentioned to our webinar comparison chart.

    • http://www.ethicallaunch.com/ stacy

      Brian, so sorry to have missed your comment. Thank you SO much for your input and experience. I will definitely add the two services to our webinar comparison chart.

  • david warner

    Thank you very much for such wonderful article regarding join.me webinar tool. Additionally, one may even deploy on premise RHUB web conferencing appliances in order to conduct webinars, web conferences, online meetings, online presentations etc.

  • Adam

    Just did our first one! Very was very easy and worked great. Thanks for answering the question about recording. Wish it could record using the service.

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