Dimdim Upgrades Its Alternative Web Conferencing System

In last week’s interview with Dimdim CEO DD Ganguly and chief marketing officer Steve Chazin, I hinted that the 5.0 version of the Methuen, MA, company’s Web-based conferencing software was nearing release. Well, today it’s out.

Organizations tired of paying high prices to use systems like Cisco’s WebEx, Citrix’s GoToMeeting, and Microsoft’s Live Meeting may appreciate the newly improved system, which costs $228 a year for meetings of up to 50 people and is also available on a pay-as-you-go basis starting at $9.95 per month. There’s even a free version for group meetings of up to 20 people.

Ganguly and Chazin gave me a test drive of Dimdim 5.0 last week, and it seems to do everything a conferencing system should do. Dimdim was already good for things like screen sharing, audio and video chat, instant messaging, collaborative whiteboarding, and sharing documents such as Word and PowerPoint files. One of the new features is faster screencasting based on Flash 10—so meeting participants can follow what’s happening on the host’s computer screen without the small delay in previous versions. The software has also been optimized to work better on slower Internet connections, a feature that may appeal to the hundreds of community and non-profit organizations that have turned to Dimdim as a more affordable alternative to high-end conferencing systems.

The new Dimdim Webinar WidgetAnd the company has come up with a neat system of “webinar widgets,” little interactive advertisements that can be placed inside Web pages to alert people about upcoming Dimdim sessions and allow them to register in advance or join in real time.

With the 5.0 release, Dimdim is pitching its product even more strongly at smaller organizations where leaders might like to communicate with their staff or membership via Web conferencing, but don’t want to pay the $49 per month charged by GoToMeeting or the $59 to $69 per month charged by WebEx. Dimdim’s other big advantage is that it runs inside users’ Web browsers, without requiring a tedious download. (I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I’m invited to a WebEx meeting, I have to download the WebEx meeting manager all over again—and I always forget to do so until right before the meeting starts, which means I’m always late.)

“At a fraction of the price, Dimdim 5 provides more functionality and less headaches at a time when people are looking to cut costs and make their lives easier,” Ganguly said in an announcement from the company today. “With Dimdim 5, users now have the feature sets and functionality they want with no hassles. No longer do they need to deal with complicated and expensive legacy web conferencing solutions or unnecessary software downloads and expensive support.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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