A year ago in September, I first learned of and wrote about a company called Dimdim. It offers Web conferencing on an open source platform, and the basic functionality is free. The hosted commercial versions offer a few features the basic version does not, as usual.
Dimdim is one company that has profitted from the economic downturn. Travel budgets are often the first things to be trimmed when money is tight, and Web meetings are a nice, cost-cutting alternative -- especially when they're free. As early as August, the company's CEO, DD Ganguly, was reporting a surge in use:
While Dimdim has been growing fast since our launch in September 2007, the growth that we've experienced over the last three months has been phenomenal. In the last month alone, our users have spent more than 59 trillion minutes in Dimdim web meetings. We've seen businesses, consumers, government and religious organizations turn to our free web meeting service to save money in this time of towering travel costs.
In October, the company announced two more significant happenings. The first was a major investment by Zimbra co-founder Satish Dharmaraj, who sold Zimbra to Yahoo in September 2007. Along with investing, Dharmaraj also took a seat on Dimdim's advisory board.
Also in October, the company announced it had passed the 100,000 user mark for its beta phase. Perhaps more importantly, according to the blog post
And because attendees don't need to be registered to attend a Dimdim web conference, it is even more exciting to report that nearly one million people have attended Dimdim meetings, accounting for more than 500 trillion minutes in Dimdim meeting rooms. That's 100,000 person-years of productive work or play - all while eliminating expensive travel, software downloads and harmful CO2 emissions.
Most recently, though, the company has made headway into the realm of academia. At the end of October, the company launched its Virtual Classroom Pack at the Educause 2008 Conference. The pack allows teachers to host up to 40 students at one time in a "customizable Web classroom." The Dimdim Enterprise product is also available to educators at a discount.