In the recessionary and increasingly remotely connected, or disconnected, working world, many businesses are discovering the merits of web conferencing. Among the top-ranked web conferencing systems are Adobe’s Connect Pro and Citrix’s GoToMeeting.

Because Adobe Connect Pro and GoToMeeting appear on a lot of short lists of recommended products, it is no surprise to see contentious marketing among advocates and resellers of these systems as they fight for market share.

As one reviewer pointed out, there is confusion, often deliberately introduced by Adobe competitors, over Adobe Connect Pro and Adobe ConnectNow. Adobe ConnectNow is the cheaper stripped-down version, lacking features like meeting recording, teleconference integration, breakout rooms, weblinks, moderated chat, and polling.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term Astroturfing, it’s a seemingly objective website that is surreptitiously sponsored to provide slanted propaganda favorable to the hidden sponsor. And indeed, there are apples-to-oranges comparisons of Adobe ConnectNow vs. competitors online, including GoToMeeting, that seemed purposely deceptive.

The correct apples-to-apples comparison is Adobe Connect Pro vs. GoToMeeting. For these systems, the sweet spot, or cheap spot, is for meetings that include no more than 25 people, and this is where their marketing focuses, each touting pricing in the $45 to $59 range.

Based on Adobe’s Flash technology, Connect Pro incorporates a number of innovative and advanced multimedia features like “pods” and streaming video. Although Adobe Connect Pro may be the more sophisticated product, some users, as we see in other categories, value a simple, bare-bones product that is easy to operate, less complex, and less confusing. This is the appeal of GoToMeeting and where it wins advocates.

Adobe Connect Pro’s pricing, at $45 per month for 25 users, is lower than GoToMeeting’s, which is $49 for up to 15 attendees. For up to 25 attendees, GoToMeeting’s pricing is not published on its site, but is around $59 per month.

For meetings above 25 participants, however, the pricing escalates for both these vendors’ systems, and they may no longer be a bargain for budget-constrained small businesses.

Adobe’s pricing above 25 users gets murky and is difficult to find, while GoToMeeting’s is clearly published on its website—with GoToWebinar options, which include GoToMeeting, priced at $99 for up to 100 participants, $399 for up to 500, and $499 for up to 1,000.

Adobe’s pricing above 25 participants, as our reviewer noted, can cost up to several thousands of dollars per year.

If you want a real bargain, then is the way to go at $29 for a maximum of 250 participants.

Both GoToMeeting and Adobe have introduced novel pay-as-you-go schemes. GoToMeeting allows you to purchase a license on a daily basis, while Adobe Connect allows you to buy web conferencing on demand by a pay-per-minute option. For an ad hoc or emergency meeting, these are fine, but for users that hold many meetings per month, they are expensive options.

Bottom Line: Adobe Connect Pro and GoToMeeting are top-ranked systems and worthy of consideration, with GoToMeeting generally seen as a simpler and easier-to-use product but lacking Adobe Connect Pro’s more advanced features and sophistication. For meetings up to 25 attendees, Adobe offers lower pricing. Above 25 attendees, both these systems get expensive, with GoToMeeting’s pricing easier to establish. Take advantage of free trials and special offers, get quotes from resellers, and choose according to your needs, preferences, and budget.