Last updated January 5, 2017
We first wrote this article in 2015 because we get a lot of people who sign up for Lucid Meetings seeking a cheaper alternative to join.me. We appreciate the attention, but Lucid isn't a video conferencing tool; Lucid is a meeting automation and productivity platform, and that's a different beast.
If you're looking to get better results from your meetings - tangible results like more efficient meetings and clear next steps captured in writing - then give Lucid a look!
If you're simply looking for better, cheaper, or free-er video conferencing and screen sharing, check out our updated recommendations below.
Web Meeting Services of Yesteryear
Ever since download-heavy web conferencing services like WebEx and GoToMeeting came on the scene, people have been searching for the best online meeting software to supersede them.
Join.me was created for simple screen sharing - the most used feature in WebEx and GoToMeeting - and it solves the problem of getting people into meetings easily with no downloads. Recently, they added fun video conferencing too, while still keeping ease-of-use front and center.
However, easy by itself isn't always a solution. When people decided to switch from the more established tools, they lost a lot of useful functionality.
Many people love join.me - understandably! It’s simple to use, inexpensive, and can be easy for teams to adopt. We've used it ourselves, and really appreciate their no-hassle approach.
However, just like join.me was publicized as an alternative to GotoMeeting back in 2011, today there are even more great alternatives out there.
Today's Meeting Solutions
In 2017, the alternatives to join.me fulfill different needs based on what a customer is trying to achieve. Gone are the days of the "one size fits all" generic online meeting tool.
Take a moment and think about the last 5 business meetings you’ve attended. Were they client facing? Webinars? Internal team check-ins? Quick one-on-ones with a boss? A video chat with mom?
It’s highly likely that you’ve participated in a few of these types of meetings, and just like you wouldn’t use a hammer to saw a board in half, you really should start using the right tool for the job.
Let’s take a look at some of the top alternatives:
Zoom is taking over the web conferencing world with their killer combination of quality video conferencing, competitive pricing and strong integrations. If you're considering a switch from join.me for price or quality reasons, you'll be thrilled with Zoom.
Zoom can also support webinars, break-out rooms, and meeting room integration - features normally available only through high-end providers like Adobe Connect.
We like Zoom so much we have our own paid subscription with them.
Free, useful for quick check-ins, team meetings
Google Hangouts is a solid choice IF your company already uses Google Apps for Business. You can use it for video conferencing or to share your screen, the mobile app makes joining a call easy, and it integrates with all your other Google paraphernalia.
We find that Google Hangouts work fine for those casual internal meetings.
That said, our team uses Google for our business email, so we don't have too many issues getting connected. We don't use Hangouts with clients, however, as it can be tricky to get Outlook users online.
Free, friendly and useful for team video chats
New, super lightweight app for one-click video conversations, appear.in is built with a new web standard called WebRTC. This means it starts right in most browsers with no plugins or installation. And more importantly, no Google account required.
When we were building our appear.in integration, we really appreciated how responsive and friendly they were any time we had questions. One caveat: appear.in has a very informal feel which may not be appropriate in some business settings.
Used for webinars
It's been so expensive for small businesses to use web conferencing software like GoTo Webinar and Adobe Connect that people have started to give webinars with join.me.
But join.me doesn't include any features to aid effective webinar management, which can lead to webinars that look amateurish at best.
If webinars are important to your business and cost is factor in your decision, consider WebinarJam. WebinarJam builds the management, registration, and marketing features needed for webinars on top of the Google Live Events platform, making it possible for them to offer robust webinar support at very competitive rates.
Full disclosure: we use GoTo Webinar ourselves and haven't tested WebinarJam, but we've attended very engaging webinars hosted in WebinarJam by people who attract way bigger crowds than we do. It's pretty compelling.
Used for sales meetings
Like join.me, ClearSlide allows you to share your screen with just one click. That said, ClearSlide offers way more than simple screen sharing. ClearSlide is a full-on sales engagement platform, designed specifically to drive new sales. Sales reps can measure actual participant engagement during a meeting, see when prospects have reviewed meeting material, and more.
ClearSlide is a great example of how you can re-think what you need in an online meeting platform by looking at the type of meeting you're hosting. Yes, they offer a conference number and a way to share documents - but that's not the most important goal of a sales meeting. Sales meetings are about closing business, and ClearSlide goes beyond simple communication technology to include functionality that helps sales reps do just that.
Speaking of re-thinking the online meeting...
And of course there's Lucid Meetings
Used for meeting productivity & process automation
If you run team business meetings or client collaboration online using only a lightweight screen sharing app, you are missing out on a host of productivity features.
Meeting productivity features include online meeting templates and facilitator guides, note taking, built-in agendas, attendance tracking, and detailed meeting reporting. And yes, screen sharing and conference calling too. All combine to make your business meetings a productive driver of business success.
If you are looking for an all-in-one, thorough alternative for teams, clients, or committees, look no further than Lucid Meetings.
If you're looking for alternatives to join.me, GoToMeeting, or WebEx, be sure to think ahead, consider what you're trying to achieve, and find the right tool for the job.