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Online Conferencing Services

Cost Counts

Conference systems are priced much like cell phone plans--in other words, there's a lot of variety. Some vendors charge per minute or per participant; others impose a flat fee for conferences not exceeding a certain duration or number of participants. Still others require a monthly subscription.

We asked vendors for a cost based on annual number of conferences, number of users and conference length. LiveOffice charges a monthly fee (as low as $200 per month), then a per-minute, per-user rate. Netspoke charges per conference. Oracle bases its quote on unlimited minutes for the number of users in a given scenario. So dies WebEx Communications, which also lets you pay per minute.

Compare apples to apples: One product may go for half the competitor's price, but are you getting the same features? Check for teleconferencing options, which can affect cost dramatically. Oracle, for example, doesn't offer teleconferencing, whereas LiveOffice, Netspoke and WebEx do. Remember, rates are negotiable; customers with greater volume often cut better deals.

Functional Considerations

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