Dimdim is viable free WebEx or GoToMeeting alternative

Image representing Dimdim as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

We recently had reason to search for an alternative to the overpriced [read: not free] web conferencing solutions such as WebEx and GoToMeeting. A quick Google search revealed a relatively new service that claims to be “the world’s easiest web conference” and 10 minutes into our tests, we believe it.

Firmly grounded on an open-source platform, complete with GPL source code, Dimdim offers an enormously robust service at no cost. While other companies offer a time-limited free demo, Dimdim offers the their service for free for up to 20 simultaneous users.

The biggest problem with WebEx was the download. We’ve been on meetings where participants using Macs were left out in the cold, and we never even hoped – much less tried – to get it to work on Linux. Dimdim offers its service based solely on Flash and claims to support Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. We usually have bad things to say about Flash, but this application is a perfect use of the technology.

Not content with simple presentation sharing, Dimdim offers desktop sharing, chat, whiteboard and document sharing. That’s not all. Also included in the free plan is VoIP and a free teleconference phone number. To top it off, the free version allows the presenter to share his or her webcam to provide video to up to 20 meeting participants.

It’s tough for us to remember the last time we needed meeting software to support more than 20 participants, but if that’s necessary, Dimdim can certainly scale up to large enterprise needs at a fraction of the cost of the competition.

The features aren’t exactly easy to find on the website. Here’s the hookup to see features offered and a comparison between the free and paid plans.

Are you stuck with WebEx or GoToMeeting? Have you kicked them to the curb in favor of Dimdim or another service? Let us know in the comments.

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Aaron Traffas, CAI, ATS, CES

twitter.com/traffas | aarontraffas.com | aarontraffasband.com

Aaron Traffas, CAI, AMM, CES, is an auctioneer from Medicine Lodge, Kansas. He is currently community evangelist for Purple Wave in Manhattan, Kansas. Aaron serves as the current president of the Kansas Auctioneers Association and in the past has served on the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute Board of Trustees. He is a past instructor at CAI and co-wrote and instructed the ATS designation course from NAA. He currently instructs the Internet Auction Methods course offered by the NAA. An active contract bid caller, he has competed in multiple state auctioneer contests including placing twice within the top 5 in Kansas.

During the summer, Aaron operates a farm in south central Kansas. Aaron is an active singer and songwriter and the Aaron Traffas Band‘s latest release, Enter: The Wind, can be found at iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

  • DD Ganguly

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for the post. I wonder whether Dimdim can be used for auctions. Something like a shopping channel on TV. If you have some thoughts and would like to discuss please drop me a note.

    Warm regards,
    ddg
    CEO
    Dimdim.com

  • Aaron, great article. I wasn't aware of this company but it sounds like they might finally be giving the established companies some competition! As you mentioned WebEx and GoToMeeting can be very pricey!

  • Thanks for the comment. I'm truly impressed by your company and I look forward to trying it out whenever I need such a service in the future.

    There are many service providers competing in the real-time bidding space in the auction industry. The difficult part is that latency is huge, as the difference between a bid being received before the auctioneer says sold can be sub-second. What kind of latency is associated with Dimdim's video abilities?

  • We just caught the tail end of the webinar, but we're using DimDim all the time (based on your original recommendation). The others were too expensive and crashed our machines, but this is easy and no-fuss. Not impressed with the whiteboard, but that's a tiny footnote. I appreciate the work you do in bringing useful products to our attention.

  • Thanks, Carl. I've been really impressed with Dimdim myself, more so after the weekly public training webinar yesterday. It's really and truly simple and cross-platform. I was always frustrated when I couldn't use Linux with Webex, but I can with Dimdim.

  • Joshanderson

    Those are very good tools, however, in many cases those platforms are used just to allow the team to review the same document together in real-time and “be on the same page”.
    The recently launched free site http://www.showdocument.com does exactly that, quickly show documents to friends and colleagues.
    It allows web meeting and co-browsing on any document, user uploads a document and invites friends to view it with him live
    All the participants in the session see each others' drawing, highlights, etc.

    Josh

  • Joshanderson

    Those are very good tools, however, in many cases those platforms are used just to allow the team to review the same document together in real-time and “be on the same page”.
    The recently launched free site http://www.showdocument.com does exactly that, quickly show documents to friends and colleagues.
    It allows web meeting and co-browsing on any document, user uploads a document and invites friends to view it with him live
    All the participants in the session see each others' drawing, highlights, etc.

    Josh

  • If you're looking for a program that doesn't require your clients to download anything, you should check out RHUB Web Conferencing. Here's the link: http://rhubcom.com/v4/web_conferencing/home.html

    • RHUB belongs to the 3rd category, web conferencing appliance

  • Thanks for the Info Aaron, I found it very useful. I've been intensively testing all kind of web and video conferencing solution in order to deploy them in a ISP environment.
    Unfortunately, there are only few solutions that can be scaled up to thowsands of subscribers and is even wors if we're talking about half of million. Moreover, none of them are able to offer servers that can be integrated into own infrastructure allowing service providers to offer web conferencing services to high numbers of users.
    Recently I found a solution that claim to overcome such things by having a very scalable and redundant design, lots of features and affordable prices ( http://www.hermix.com/solutions.html ). Also, they do have an interesting approach even for enterprise environment. What is particulary interesting to hermix.com is the fact that they are able to offer access to all features during a webconf session. As an example, you can have in a single session up to 15 participants, but all of them are able to send and receive video and audio in the same time, to do presentations, to work collaboratively on a document and so on.

  • Hello I am very impressed with this blog, thanks for sharing.
    I will stop by soon …

  • gucci2sale

    Thanks for posting this. Very nice recap of some of the key points in my talk. I hope you and your readers find it useful! Thanks again. gucci2sale.com

  • donmoore18

    I took a look at show document and there seems to be a problem with the movement of my curser. I played this with two computers side by side and since the aspect ratio on the two monitors were different the cursers were in the wrong place. i.e. when i moved my host mouse the curser showed up on a different spot on the 2nd computer.

    I really need something that allows me to work on a spread sheet AND doesn't require my guests to download anything to log in. Any ideas?

  • I sure haven't experienced any cursor issues, though I admittedly haven't ever done anything where synchronization of cursors would be required.

  • Don Moore

    I took a look at show document and there seems to be a problem with the movement of my curser. I played this with two computers side by side and since the aspect ratio on the two monitors were different the cursers were in the wrong place. i.e. when i moved my host mouse the curser showed up on a different spot on the 2nd computer.

    I really need something that allows me to work on a spread sheet AND doesn't require my guests to download anything to log in. Any ideas?

  • I sure haven't experienced any cursor issues, though I admittedly haven't ever done anything where synchronization of cursors would be required.

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  • WebEx and Gotomeeting are hosted service.

    Most hosted solutions are priced per month or per year. Some of them don’t
    require download. So it is easy to deploy, but insecure.

    The software-only products require installation on a computer. The up-front
    cost is usually high. you need to buy several licenses and pay to upgrade it
    from time to time. You also need to have a dedicated computer to host it to
    avoid disruptions from other applications and extensive time to setup and
    maintain.

    In addition to the above two types of solution, the 3rd option is
    hardware-based solution – web conferencing appliance. Compared to the
    previous two solutions, appliance does not charge monthly fee and the upfront
    cost is low because appliance comes as a complete hardware and software
    bundled and pre-configured package. In most cases, it is also easy to deploy
    (plug-and-play). as for the maintenance, most of appliances have
    self-updating functions, so easy too.