Affordable Video Conferencing

By on Nov 11, 2010

(Dimdim was acquired by Salesforce.com on January 6, 2011, and is no longer available.)

As more people purchase webcams, the ability to connect with them via a video conference call becomes a reality. There are a number of web-based video conferencing services. Today, I’m going to highlight one I like: Dimdim.

Dimdim is fun to use and has a surprising number of features. Because Dimdim is browser-based, it is platform-independent. There are three versions: Free, which provides up to 20 meeting attendees; Pro, which supports up to 50 attendees and allows for custom branding of meetings as well as reporting ($25 per month), and Webinar, which supports up to 100 attendees and provides Events for up to 1,000 ($75 per month). You can give Dimdim a free try for 30 days without having to give credit card information.

Dimdim is very user friendly without sacrificing features. After sign-up, you automatically create a meeting room URL: http://my.dimdim.com/ username. To get up and running, the site has two Instant Action buttons: “Schedule” to plan a future meeting and “Start” to get a meeting going.

Clicking “Start” instantly opens a Live Conference room. The page requests access to your system’s camera and microphone for video broadcast. Three options are presented: share computer screen, share whiteboard, or share a presentation.

It’s easy to invite attendees: copy the meeting URL and place it into an email, an IM, or on a social networking site. When a meeting is scheduled in the paid versions, a widget can be embedded into any of the major social networking sites. It was simple to post the widget to my Facebook profile. The embed code is made available to the host, so the widgets are customizable.

Dimdim’s most touted new feature is the myScreenplug-in for desktop sharing. You can also record a meeting. You will receive an email notice once the recording has been processed with a link to the recording.

Dimdim is a well-designed Web conferencing service. Experiment with the free version with your co-workers next to you or at another location. Then start offering it as an option with your clients. You may be surprised how many might like talking with you via a web conference.

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