MediaPlatform announced last week that they have added payment processing for webcasts via PayPal. That’s great news. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I have been beating the drum for some time, trying to get more webinar/webcast vendors to integrate payment processing into their platforms.
Webinars and webcasts have long since proven themselves as great tools for lead generation and information sharing. People have come to equate a web event with free information flow. But there is a huge potential market for fee-based webinars and webcasts that is being underserved today. Professional training and continuing education, consulting, or professional services should all be accessible via webinars and webcasts for a fee.
The devil is in the details of course. I don’t know any vendor who has come up with a brilliant implementation that covers all the payment scenarios their clients might want to implement. Some of the tricky requests include:
- Let an administrator quickly and easily issue a refund to an attendee.
- Allow different prices or discounts to selected registrants.
- Allow pricing and payment in multiple currencies.
- Let one payment cover repeated access to an archived recording or to a series of live webinars/webcasts. And somehow prevent the purchaser from sharing their access with the world.
MediaPlatform used some interesting approaches to their implementation. First of all, they chose not to skim a portion of collected revenues, which will be welcome news to small businesses who already have to pay fees to PayPal or credit card processors. MediaPlatform charges one initial setup fee to establish a link to your own PayPal merchant account. In this way, funds come directly to you, rather than having the webcast company collect the money and forward it to you by check (some vendors take that approach).
MediaPlatform did not include features for issuing refunds from their system… The hosting company can take care of any needed refunds themselves.
MediaPlatform says that their approach to dealing with different prices or currencies is to let the hosting company create multiple lobby/registration pages for the same event. Each page has its own price on the registration button. It is the hosting company’s responsibility to drive the right people to the right page to get their price.
I foresee revenue-based webinars as a big growth market that needs some innovative product offerings to support it. MediaPlatform gets my commendation for joining the relatively small number of web collaboration vendors addressing the need.