A few years ago, I signed up for one of Adobe’s free “ConnectNow” accounts when they launched acrobat.com. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the interface and the amount of features included with the free account. From the time the service launched, Adobe has always allowed up to three participants in a free ConnectNow meeting room at a time. ConnectNow proved a great resource to use when training clients how to use their new content management systems, holding meetings with small groups of people and more.
Unfortunately, though, Adobe sent out a notice yesterday informing all of its ConnectNow customers (the free accounts, at least) that they are changing things. The main change is that, as of Nov. 4, they will only allow two people in the meeting room at a time.
While ConnectNow still offers greater features than you’ll find in most other free packages, reducing the number of people allowed in the room certainly limits the situations in which I will use it.
The worst part is that they encourage us to upgrade to the Basic Premium account, which allows up to 5 people in the room at a time. However, that account comes at a cost of $15 per month. While that price may not seem outrageous (especially when compared to the cost of basic accounts with WebEx or GoToMeeting – both starting at $49/month), but for those of us that use the service once every few months, the cost simply cannot be justified.
I’m more than likely being selfish here, but I really wish Adobe had grandfathered existing users in, saying something along the lines of “We’re changing our free ConnectNow accounts, but since you’ve been with us for a while now, we’re going to keep your account the same. However, if you or anyone else signs up for a new free account, they will be limited to having only two users in a meeting room at one time.” Instead, they are making a sweeping change (with very little notice, no less – it’s a good thing I didn’t already have any meetings scheduled more than two weeks from now) forcing all of their free users between a rock and a hard place.
Following is the official announcement I received from Adobe.
Dear Acrobat.com ConnectNow account owner:
On November 4, 2010, there will be a change to the ConnectNow web conferencing service, which is part of Acrobat.com. Due to a streamlining of our overall service, Adobe will change the free offering of Acrobat.com. Web conferencing capacity will change from three participants to two participants in a web conference at one time.
We continue to offer Acrobat.com Premium Basic, which offers the capacity for five participants to be in a web conference at one time, plus additional features including unlimited PDF creation, and additional Workspace capabilities. If you wish to conduct web conferences with more than two participants, please subscribe to Acrobat.com Premium Basic.
The Acrobat.com Team