Interactive web conferencing takes advantage of the speed of the internet by connecting anyone with an internet connection to anyone in the world. These days, traveling is expensive and time is of utmost importance. Virtually all of the online meeting programs available are interactive in that they allow you to speak, see, chat, share desktop screens, and/or upload documents with meeting participants. How interactive or what features you want in your program is completely up to you and your needs. Generally, the more expensive a program is, the easier it is to use and the more features it has. Although you have to pay for some web conferencing services, others you can use for free, such as Skype (VoIP) or any chat client. Once you start adding features such as increased number of users or desktop viewing, you're going to see the prices for these types of programs start to increase. Gotomeeting for example, will cost you close to $500 for a year's use with unlimited number of meetings. Microsoft Office Live Meeting, on the other hand, can cost you $500 for just one web conference!

Here are some available features that web conferencing providers offer

File transfer.
Sharing of documents.
Desktop or screen sharing.
Instant messaging.
Video chat.
Common white board. Participants can text or draw on a white board visible by all, simulating a real white board.
No need to download software for the meeting's participants.

Why not just e-mail all the information to everybody and then discuss it in a chat client such as the free MSN Instant Messenger. Well, when conducting meetings, simplicity and efficiency matters. Although you may go the free route, paying a little more can impress your clients or business associates.

Regardless of what features an online meeting software offers, you also want to consider the technical aspects including, but not limited to, how many people a program can support, whether the program is supported by all web browsers/connection speeds, and how secure the program is.

Here are some interactive web conferencing solutions for you to consider

Zoho Meeting: Costs $12 per month for 5 participants other than yourself. It allows users to see your desktop as well as chat with you. It is compatible with Skype as well.

Fuze Meeting: Allows you to share your desktop in high definition and has a high quality VoIP, which allows you to do a conference call. So if you have a very nice touchscreen tablet, for example, which you want to use for high quality images, this is for you. It also has functionality on the iPhone and Blackberry. Its services are in the $30 per month range. You can have an unlimited number of users and meetings if you pay as you go.

Gotomeeting: Allows you to share your desktop with 15 people and has a VoIP for $50 a month. Gotowebinar and Gotomeeting Corporate are additional products to consider if you want more functionality.

Microsoft Live Meeting: Comes with loads of features. You can pay $5 per participant per month with a maximum of 250 users or $15 with a maximum of $1,250 users.

Webex: Allows you to share documents, have video, VoIP, along with many other features for $59 per month. This price gets you an unlimited number of meetings with a maximum of 25 users at a time for each meeting. Webex, along with Gotomeeting, are the most popular web conferencing services.

Dimdim: A service, which claims that it offers the same service as Webex at a fraction of the cost. The reviews on Dimdim were very positive, making it a very viable alternative to the very popular Webex.

Yugma: You can get the free or one of their Pro Versions, which allow you to have more users in a meeting. Yugma offers desktop sharing, application sharing, Skype Integration, as well as other features. More features are available in the Pro Versions.