AnyMeeting put out a press release this morning announcing that they now allow webinar hosts to charge attendees during the registration process. When setting up your webinar, you can click an option that lets you specify pricing information.
I like the fact that you can set one price for watching the live event and a separate price for watching the recording. If a person pays for access to the live event, they also automatically get access to the on-demand archive. You can also specify discount codes that allow registration at a lower price.
Payment processing is handled by PayPal, and the host must have a PayPal merchant account. Attendee funds go directly into your own PayPal account rather than having AnyMeeting collect the money and send you a check at the end of the month or after the webinar concludes.
Security is handled through a user-selected password. When a user pays, he or she selects a password that is used during access. The system does not allow the same login to be used twice during a live event, so you don’t have to worry about one person paying and sending their login info to all their friends.
Access to the recording also uses the user’s password. This allows users to come back and re-watch the recording as many times as they like. It does mean that there is the potential for evil-doers to forward their credentials to others, but the only way I know of for preventing this would be to implement a “pay before each view” strategy that might not suit your needs or your attendees’ preferences.
AnyMeeting and PayPal both take a cut of your admission price. PayPal’s standard charges are $0.30 + 2.9% of the transaction charge. AnyMeeting takes $1 + 20% of the transaction charge. I appreciate the fact that they don’t try to hide this fact. There is a calculator on your event setup page that shows exactly how much your income will be, based on a given user fee.
The 20% might seem a bit steep, especially since PayPal manages to do all the actual finance work for far less. But this is offset by the fact that AnyMeeting charges no additional fees for use of their web conferencing system. They are supported entirely through small advertising displays in the webinar console. So your total expenditures for putting on an event can still come out below what you might pay for use of an alternative webinar product. It’s a great way to test the waters for running a pay-to-play webinar. If nobody signs up, you are not out any up-front money.
The biggest potential downside I can think of is that your PayPal and AnyMeeting transaction charges are incurred immediately upon user payment. If you later have to refund your user, you lose that “skim money” out of your own pocket. This could be significant if you have to cancel a webinar because of a problem on your side.
I think the AnyMeeting payment feature will be very attractive to small businesses and independent trainers, consultants, and service providers who do not want to pay license fees ahead of time for running revenue-based webinars. Kudos to AnyMeeting for adding functionality that many of the big name, expensive providers have yet to incorporate.