I am amused by the fact that the coined term "webinar" continues to receive scorn and abuse by certain self-appointed watchdogs of business literature. I was just reading a blog comment from someone who saw an announcement of a company's webinar and they found it necessary to put the word in quote marks and add a parenthetical editorial statement ("ANOTHER new word!"). I have seen flaming hate mail written about this poor little portmanteau. It even made it onto one of those lists of "most annoying and meaningless business buzzwords" a few years ago.
Yet nobody seems to give the word "webcast" a second glance. It's constructed exactly the same way, but for some reason it sails through life with blanket approval from the linguistic police. Why is a word connoting a "web-based broadcast" more acceptable than one indicating a "web-based seminar"? I think it must be that extra syllable.
All words are made up at some point. "Doh" has now made it into the dictionary, courtesy of The Simpsons. The common conversational use of "muggles" sets my teeth on edge, but I'm not going to waste my time complaining when I see somebody using it in print.
Give "webinar" a break. It's not hurting anybody. Down with trisyllabic prejudice!
UPDATE (September 9, 2007): Richard Creed in the Winston-Salem Journal (of my very own North Carolina) examines the question of "webinar" from an etymological standpoint, going back to the Greek, by way of Latin, roots. He finds the word to be "a mindless perversion of seminar, a word of legitimate parentage." I suppose the fact that I used the word in the name of my company now says something about me. At least I have legitimate parentage.