Here’s a fun experiment for you. Go to the registration page I created for a fake GoToWebinar event:
Click the Country dropdown selector (provided as a standard field in the product). Do you live in Afghanistan, Iran, or Iraq? What a pity… There’s no way to let your webinar host know that. Those countries don’t appear in the dropdown list.
Sounds like quite the embarrassing oversight, doesn’t it? Nope… That’s a design decision. Users have been complaining about it on the GoToWebinar Community Forum for years.
The official response from LogMeIn is as follows:
Our lists are designed to align with applicable laws that LogMeIn is subject to, including export law. For that reason, some countries that are not currently included will not be added. Others that are not subject to export law may be added in the future.
Many people have pointed out how ridiculous this statement is when applied to simply providing a text entry in a factual list of where a webinar registrant is located. It has nothing to do with technology export.
LogMeIn has dug in their heels. The most recent response (July of 2019) was:
If you are in the USA, you can discuss this with your US Senator. If not in the US, then have your government petition the US government.
Hey, LogMeIn… Guess what industry giant Cisco allows in their registration lists for Country? That’s right – Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.
I tested ON24 and Zoom as well. They allow Afghanistan and Iraq, but omit Iran from the list.
As far as I can tell, Adobe Connect doesn’t even give you a preloaded dropdown selector. Their predefined Country field is just a type-in box (which makes it a practical impossibility to sort, sum, and analyze large registration lists by country).
Look, I get that tech companies are risk-averse when it comes to navigating the convoluted restrictions of international trade law. But this is an artificial bit of compliance window dressing that serves no purpose.
If you can’t sell product licenses to people in those countries, fine. Don’t sell licenses to people in those countries. But as far as I know, attendees are still allowed to join webinars from those locations. Simply eliminating the ability for hosts to see where those users are located does not stop international trade. It merely makes the hosts and the webinar participants angry.
I stand ready to write a heartfelt apology if someone can point me to a piece of legislation that prohibits listing those countries in a demographic selection list. Until I see it though, I’m more interested in lobbying my webinar platform vendor than my US Senator.