I may just dedicate the remainder of my professional career to persuading companies that they should never use Webex Events to run webinars.
You want to run a simple little video meeting? Fine, use Webex Meetings. I don't care. You could probably find a product that is less expensive, more intuitive, and more reliable, but it's just not going to matter that much.
A scheduled webinar is a different beast. You need registration. Customized email confirmations, reminders, and follow ups. Recordings. Reports. That's what Webex Events is built for. And it is impossibly bad at just about every one of them. The product design is hopelessly stuck in the 1990s. Options and limitations are hidden everywhere and Cisco's own technical response personnel can't figure out how things work.
I have blogged about Webex frustrations for more than a decade. Many aspects are so arcane and difficult to understand that there's no way you could follow the description unless you were already familiar with the situation and how everything works. So let me make this simple… Registration sucks. Reporting sucks. Customization sucks. Recordings suck. Don't use this software for your webinars.
I'm at a loss for how to make this sound objective rather than just a knee-jerk, angry opinion. I have details… Lots of details. Too many details. I waste hours and hours of time every week on client webinar administration, trying to get around Webex design flaws. Listing the specifics would turn this blog post into a novel.
As a quick summary, here are just a few of the product design flaws that make Webex Events an unacceptable solution for use with webinars. Note that these aren't bugs. They are just "the way it works." All I can do here is give a very high level reference to the area of deficiency. I could spend all day getting into the details on each item.
1) Registration pages can't be properly customized for layout of items or direct access to the registration form itself.
2) Registration reports may give incorrect or missing information on recent registrations, which then get corrected in later reports.
3) There is no way to get an attendance report showing one record per attendee. You get every reconnection as a separate record. You have to manually consolidate records to find total time in session.
4) Several pieces of information (poll results, chat) only show up in reports when a session is recorded. No recording, no report data.
5) Final session reports may not be available for up to 24 hours after the end of an event.
6) Recordings may not be available for up to 24 hours after the end of an event (with no indication that a recording was even made).
6) User interface controls and commands are different for different devices and operating systems, making it almost impossible to give universal instructions to panelists or attendees.
7) Default configuration (which cannot be changed by account administrators) disables webcam video feeds from appearing in downloaded recordings.
8) Participants cannot resize or move presenter webcam video windows. If a panelist turns off their webcam, the placeholder video window remains, taking up screen space.
9) Email customization requires manual HTML coding and cannot be previewed or tested correctly.
10) Attendees can have public chat discussions that are invisible to event hosts, administrators, and panelists. Chat can't be seen in session or saved in reports or logs, even though all attendees can see and save those messages.
That's enough of a list, and it's just off the top of my head. I could spend more time on it, but why bother? My external perception is that Cisco has no interest in promoting or improving the use of Webex Events. They got saddled with it in their purchase of WebEx* back in 2007, but it's not the strategic part of the Cisco vision. They want a peer-to-peer videoconferencing and collaboration tool that can fit into the overall vision of end to end Enterprise Collaboration featuring multiple solutions, networking devices, and infrastructure enhancements that promote large IT sales. Supporting standalone webinars for business users is a one-off niche operation that is nothing more than a drain on their servers and support resources.
Once upon a time, WebEx was the 800-pound gorilla of the webinar world. If companies had to make firewall exceptions and permit application installation of a solution to permit employee attendance at webinars, they would most likely allow WebEx as the preferred software. But that's no longer necessary. A whole fleet of webinar products exist that run in HTML5 in a browser, with no client installation needed.
I'll say this for Webex. Its one remaining area of competitive superiority is smooth phone and VoIP integration, with a global roster of dial-in numbers second to none. If that's your priority, Webex is still worth consideration. But, man… It better be one heck of a priority to offset all the other limitations.
[* Totally ancillary and unimportant trivia… Wondering why I wrote Webex in some places and WebEx in others? WebEx was the historic name of the company and product that Cisco bought. In 2018 they changed the product family name to Webex, with a lowercase e. That was apparently more important than fixing the product flaws.]
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