It has been ages since I looked at InstantPresenter web conferencing. Back several years ago, I thought it was a little underpowered compared to the competition. I’m happy to report that they have been making improvements behind my back, and it’s working very nicely now!
The immediate reason I took another look was a press release stating that InstantPresenter had integrated payment processing directly into the software so that you can charge for your webinars and webcasts. This is still extremely uncommon in the web conferencing technology space, and I wanted to see how it worked.
It turns out to be simplicity itself. You need to have an active PayPal account already set up and verified for accepting payments. That’s free and easy to do directly through PayPal. PayPal has become the de facto payment processor of choice on the Internet, and it lets customers submit payments without sharing their private financial information with you.
As you schedule an upcoming webinar in InstantPresenter, you simply indicate whether you want to charge registrants. If so, you type in your PayPal account identifier (your email address) and set up the charge amounts. InstantPresenter was clever enough to allow you to create up to three discount codes and associated prices. You can also charge a different amount for watching the live webinar versus accessing the recording later.
As customers register for your event, they are taken into the secure PayPal system to pay, and they get an automated confirmation from the system. The full payment amount goes directly into your account… InstantPresenter does not skim any amount for themselves (although PayPal does).
This makes InstantPresenter immediately attractive for small businesses, consultants, and trainers who want to charge clients for their expertise, but do not have the time, skills, or resources to build online shopping carts and API connections to web conferencing software. It should be a big hit (and I hope will inspire other vendors to set up similar functionality).
I’m not going to go through a detailed review of the rest of the functionality here, but I can report that the software now supports PowerPoint animations and slide transitions (yay!), allows customizable registration forms and post-event surveys, and with a small optional fee you can bridge third-party teleconference lines to the streaming audio to give attendees their choice of how to listen. You can also let registrants choose their own login password for a webinar, which can help cut down on unauthorized access to paid events.
The system runs in Flash, and I’d like to give special recognition to whatever software engineer programmed the initial connection screens for InstantPresenter. They have the best, clearest explanations I have ever seen for how to handle browser prompts for allowing access and clicking confirmations. I can’t imagine an attendee being confused or frightened by the security access prompts that we are all slaves to now.
InstantPresenter is definitely worth putting on your short list when evaluating webinar technology vendors. If you are charging for your events, it should be one of the first ones you test.