WebinarListings.com has announced its beta testing availability for event organizers to post announcements about upcoming web seminars on the site and for viewers to search for webinars of interest. The venture posted a press release yesterday quoting the founder, Rachel Levy. As you would expect, it is free to post or search for events, although posters can pay to upgrade their listings to featured status (the site currently offers a chance to become a “premium beta tester” with free featured listings). The press release says that there are currently around 100 events listed in the database.
I snapped the following table from the website showing a summary comparison of basic versus featured listings:
I tried out the service by listing one of my upcoming webinars. I found it easy to navigate the entry boxes letting me specify the title, description, date/time, and cost (which is a text entry field, so you could potentially list currencies or discount codes). I found it strange that the site asked me for a Twitter ID associated with my company, although on reflection I assumed that this would be used to help promote the event on Twitter. And I also noticed that paying for a featured listing uses PayPal, but requires you to manually enter the transaction ID you get back from PayPal, which is an unusual extra step for an ecommerce site.
The site requires you to enter a Captcha authentication to make sure you are not a spambot. I entered the code incorrectly and received a terse message on a new page telling me to use the back button on my browser to fix it. When I used the back button, all my fields were cleared out and I had to start over from scratch. That’s rather frustrating!
Upon successfully filling in all the information and submitting it, you get a message that “The administrator will review and approve your Webinar shortly, and you will receive a confirmation once it has posted to the calendar.” While it is admirable that they want to make sure each listing is appropriate, I have a hard time seeing how the approval process can scale to handle large volumes of listings if the site becomes widely used.
WebinarListings.com opens its home page with a sentence saying “This website is a central source for ALL upcoming Webinars, from business to health, from the U.S. to Europe.” But the international aspect may be somewhat inconvenient for other countries. English is the only language on the site and you can only list and see event times in “ET” – there is not even an explanation that ET stands for US Eastern Time. There are no time zone conversions available.
I must point out one sentence that is incorrect on the site’s instructions for submitters. It says “This is the only centralized site that allows you to publicize your Webinar to people who are interested in learning about what you have to say.” (The boldface is theirs.)
Actually, there are several other webinar listing sites that I have covered in this blog (including my own late, great, unlamented attempt at the same concept, which is why I get so picky about details!). Choices for third-party aggregators and search providers include EventSpan, Finervista, Webinar-Directory.com, and WebinarHero while several webinar technology vendors now offer integrated promotional assistance through social media links.
Be that as it may, I am always keen on seeing more awareness of and access to webinars in the marketplace and WebinarListings.com should be a welcome addition. I am sure they will enhance or fix the little things I noted in this review, as that is the whole purpose of a beta period. But the concept and basic implementation looks solid.
UPDATE April 1: I have been corresponding with Rachel and it looks like the Captcha problem I found is a special situation most people would never hit. It only occurs if you have two "Add Webinar" pages open in separate browser tabs. She also pointed out that I completely missed a toolbar at the bottom of the web page that offers instant translation into any of 10 non-English languages. Very cool indeed!