Web-based conferences

I do a lot of conference and workship organizing. It’s getting harder and harder, since the IEEE, which sponsors the ones I do, is increasing their kickback requirements.

At work I founded and run an internal conference in my area. I just got the phone bill for the one I just had. We do it with a combination of a mass conference call and the web. All presentations go on a website, the speaker announces page changes, and everyone listens in on audioconference. We’re highly distributed, and this year over half the attendees participated on-line. Total costs (not counting the salaries of me and my program chairs) came out to $5.00 a head. We don’t charge for attendance.

I’m also involved with a workshop that is interesting but not popular enough to be viable as a meeting. We’re thinking about having this on-line - anyone wishing to show up, can, but we’re not expecting it.

I know about net meeting, etc. Anyone use this for big meetings (say 50 people?) In my experience they bog down. We can spend some money, but we’re not going to have TV news quality links.

Anyone have success with videoconferencing? I’ve been in good meetings with 3 sites. At an earlier internal conference I tried a video panel - our facilities weren’t up to it, and it was a mess.

So, any Dopers with experience in this, I’d appreciate your thoughts and tips on hardware and software that does the job.