Slideshare, the online presentation sharing service, kind of rocked the online meeting space last week with the introduction of a very nice virtual meeting/presentation tool called Zipcast that’s getting a lot of buzz.

Zipcast allows users to start a virtual meeting from any slides they’ve uploaded to Slideshare and present that meeting to an unlimited amount of viewers instantly.

zipcast from Slideshare

Viewer with slides, video, chat and social features built in

There is a free version, which is ad supported, but still allows for unlimited viewers, and a Pro version staring at $19 month, that comes without ads, allows for unlimited viewing and a dedicated teleconference number for two-way audio. With the paid version you can also password protect your presentation and make them public or invite only.

The biggest difference between Zipcast and established services like WebEx and GoToMeeting is that Zipcast runs fully in the browser using HTML5 technology and doesn’t require any downloads or proprietary software to run. Now, I’ve not tested the service with several thousand viewers or anything, but in initial tests the service is very fast and very easy to use.

Slideshare account holders can create a custom URL to use with Zipcast and then launch meetings immediately or at scheduled times. The viewer comes with built in video, group chat and social invitation functions that make it very easy to tweet or post a meeting to Facebook. Viewers can log in to their Slideshare account or use Facebook to log in and watch a presentation. Social functions are also available to viewers making the spread of ideas going on in a presentation very interactive.

Here’s how to enable a Zipcast meeting:

  1. Click Zipcast on any presentation you’ve uploaded
  2. Select Public or Private
  3. Start Zipcast & enable live video
  4. Invite friends on Facebook & Twitter
  5. Your Zipcast is on

There are some features missing from this offering, such as registration, email reminders and admin control, but for quick and frictionless meetings Zipcast should give some of the entrenched players a run for their money, particularly if they can effectively support that unlimited viewer function. Look for an upcoming meeting or two from me very soon.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @John, were you able to create a recording of the webinar because I will like to see the quality of the video and audio of the Zipcast webinar. I am currently using Gotowebinar and the fact that users have to download a software is a big issue for users as well as the fact that they did not integrate social media interactions on your platform.

    As per Zipcast how were you able to make sure that the webinar is privately view by those who registered for it?

    • Owen – Zipcast has a few limitations – right now there is no recording function, but you could certainly do a sceencast recording using something like ScreenFlowPro. The private setting requires to get the Pro upgrade but then you set a password to protect the session.

      • That lack of recording capability is a big downside. Although, one that would tempt more than a few of us to upgrade to premium. This is an area where the market can improve, and Zipcast may be the one to disrupt things a bit.

        • Yes I agree – most folks presenting online these days have come to enjoy the ability to present once and archive for those that like to do their learning in the middle of the night. I think the recording part is not that tough, it’s the distribution of the 100mg file that is the hard part for Slideshare I think.

  • Wow, this is cool. Is there any reason to need a phone line to participate? Just wondering if clients who are still ‘dialing in’ as opposed to clicking on a link will be left out.

  • Daniel Ruscigno

    I’ve read enough buzz about Zipcast that I decided to give it a try. I think it’s a great addition for Slideshare, but let’s face it, this is far from disruptive technology.

    There are 2 major limitations to this service that make it a write off for me. First, I can only show my content from SlideShare. Why would I choose to use Zipcast when I can choose something like WebEx or Mingleverse or Teleplace that allow my to access multiple content sources?

    Second, collaboration is virtually non-existant – a teleconference line and text chat is far from an immersive collaboration environment.

    The main benefit you point out in this post is that Zipcast does not require a download. A great benefit indeed, as downloads can be a barrier, but the trend is towards tablets and mobile devices, where downloading apps is the norm. With the app model now making its way to desktops, the benefit of not having a download is significantly reduced… to the point where a better service that requires a download will win.

    • Daniel – categorically not disruptive – for certain uses – say a flash presentation that you want to see if you can make go viral through social channels or a presentation that you want to host for 4,000 – might be a bit disruptive. They may struggle to pull this off, but I think if they add recording and little more control it is a great presentation tool.

  • A lot of people doing Zipcasts are recording on their own and posting the video to SlideShare (we support video up to 500 MB on SlideShare).

    However, regarding recording – we are listening to what people want and will keep feedback in mind as we develop Zipcast further.

    CEO, SlideShare

    • Rashmi – thanks for adding your voice here – love the update, but I do think there are some things that could make Zipcast better and do hope you consider what folks are suggesting.

  • Rashmi:

    Great start, just make a few tweaks, I use webex for my real estate webinars, however there are a ton of people that do not want to pay $49 a month for webex or gotomeeting, however I don’t know if that’s a great market for any company to build on, i.e. people that won’t pay for anything! 🙂

    However, Slideshare is a valuable service with major upside, the fact you have great social plugin abilities with people like DimDim and others being bought out, I can see a reasonable great niche for zipcast.

    No downloading is cool. Plus, if you are online a lot, instantaneous meetings can happen, I can see this being great for sales related products and companies.