LinkedIn and SlideShare have likened their relationship to chocolate and peanut butter, and last week LinkedIn made things official, acquiring the document sharing platform for $119 million. Since launch, SlideShare users have uploaded more than 9 million presentations, and the site sees 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews.
The self-described “YouTube for presentations” is full of brand-friendly perks, from surprising SEO value and referral traffic to handy lead gen tools. In celebration of the big acquisition, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite SlideShare features – a simple web conferencing product called Zipcast.
Zipcast combines the three main features of any presentation: slides, video and audio. Every public SlideShare presentation has a Zipcast button to start a meeting. Once you start the presentation, you’ll find a one-way video stream of the person hosting the meeting, a conference call link for audio and a window for text chat.
Every SlideShare user gets their own meeting room, which is a hub for past, current and future Zipcasts. Meeting room URLs look something like this: slideshare.net/USERNAME/meeting.
Whether it’s two or 2,000, there is no limit to the number of participants that can join a Zipcast. Participants can even move through the slides at their own pace if they feel so inclined.
There’s no software download or plug-in, so set-up takes a matter of seconds. Zipcast is compatible with any modern web browser, and the slide deck takes up a single tab in your browser rather than the entire screen.
To invite participants to join your Zipcast, simply send them the link to your meeting room. Include the link in an email, a Facebook or Twitter post, over the phone – it doesn’t matter, as long as they get the link. You can also invite users directly from Zipcast, as pictured below.
Zipcast chats can be shared on Facebook and Twitter as a means for attracting participants’ network connections to the presentation.
At $19/month, SlideShare PRO users get a few extra perks within the ZipCast framework, including password-protected meetings and ad removal.
Alternatives to Zipcast
In the next couple weeks, Google Plus will begin rolling out Hangouts on Air, essentially a publicly broadcast version of Hangouts. Unlike Zipcast, Hangouts can be recorded and re-shared, which could prove to be a powerful tool for brands.