I received an email from Dan in France, alerting me to the recent launch of a new listing service for live and on-demand webinars. It is online at www.webinar-directory.com
This joins similar online directories such as EventSpan and Finervista, as well as vendor-specific archives of recorded presentations such as Insight24 and the Brainshark Content Network. But as far as I know, this is the first listing portal to be developed outside the United States.
With site development done in France and Spain, there is an emphasis on webinars and webcasts for the European/UK market. Dan says that there are also listings from companies in North America, Australia, and India. Listings are provided by users who upload the key information or through direct relationships with webinar producers. There is no attempt to “trawl” or “crawl” the web for automatic discovery of web events.
Listing an event and searching for webinars are both free activities, but you must register on the site in order to search the listings. The search process for upcoming events starts with selecting from one of nine industry segments. These seem somewhat arbitrary, and may reflect the companies that have supplied listings so far. Once you click on an industry, you see a simple listing of event titles and presenter names. To see details, you have to click on an event title. I found this a bit frustrating, as I wanted to scan the list of events and see at a glance the dates and prices without having to click each one and then return to the master list.
Searching for recorded presentations is done in exactly the same way, but starts from a different section of the website labeled “Archives.”
The home page has large logo click-throughs for several big name companies (Oracle, Google, SAP, etc), but clicking on a logo has unpredictable results. In some cases it took me to the details for a single event listing, in some cases it brought up a list of event titles in the directory, and in some cases it went to web pages on the named company’s website. I think this needs to be standardized and explained.
There is also a keyword search facility that lists titles matching your search phrase. Expanding the search options let me enter a minimum and maximum price as a search criteria, but when I entered a minimum price of 5 (Pounds? Euros? Dollars? There is no unit indication) it still returned a list of free events. This looks like an early stages bug.
Uploading an event presents you with a list of free-form text entry fields. There is no online help or explanation of what should go into the fields, and this has hurt the effectiveness of some of the listings. For instance, there is a box that lets you upload your company logo, but there is no box for company name. So you have to realize that it is best to mention your company in the Title or Presenter fields. Otherwise it will not show up anywhere in the listing. There are also no restrictions on Date format or Fee. So if I am an American company and enter 2/1/10 as the date and 50 as the price, I could confuse Europeans who think the event is 50 Euros on January 2 instead of 50 dollars on February 1!
The idea of webinar listing services is a good one. And having an international focus provides a nice opportunity to address issues that American-centric sites sometimes gloss over. I wish Webinar-Directory.com well as they continue to develop their site. With additional concentration on language translation, currency conversion, date/time conversions, and other international convenience features, this could offer some important benefits.