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Zoom is releasing a new tool to let paid users charge for admission to online events like conferences or fitness classes

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/14/2020 pzaveri@businessinsider.com (Paayal Zaveri)
Eric S. Yuan standing in front of a sign: Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications takes part in a bell ringing ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York Reuters © Provided by Business Insider Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications takes part in a bell ringing ceremony at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York Reuters
  • Zoom is introducing OnZoom, a new way to host events — free and paid — using the popular videoconferencing tool.
  • Zoom has come to be used to host all kinds of events amid the pandemic, from board meetings and conferences to fitness classes and concerts. The new OnZoom platform includes the ability to charge for tickets, as well as a directory of public event listings.
  • Zoom is also launching a new kind of app integration, called a Zapp, that can bring information from productivity tools like Dropbox, Slack, or Asana directly into a video chat.
  • Facebook launched its own features for paid videoconferencing events over the summer.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the pandemic drags on, Zoom is releasing a new way to host online events — importantly, now including paid events — as well as new types of apps that integrate outside business and productivity tools like Slack, Dropbox, and Asana directly into Zoom meetings, the company announced Wednesday. 

Zoom has become a household name amid shelter in place and social distancing mandates, with users turning to the videoconferencing app to host events from board meetings and conferences to yoga classes and concerts. It's led Zoom's business to skyrocket, but also forced the company to rethink its ambitions beyond its original enterprise approach. 

The online event platform, called OnZoom, adds features to Zoom that make it easier to host online events — notably, by allowing event organizers to sell tickets for paid events on Zoom, thanks to an integration with PayPal. There will also be an event marketplace, where people can find and sign up for public events, free and paid.

At launch, the events platform is only available to US users, but will be available more globally next year. There's no additional fee for paid users to try out OnZoom through the end of 2020, but Zoom says that it plans to revisit the possibility of taking a cut of ticket sales next year. 

Notably, Facebook announced something similar earlier this year, allowing businesses, creators, educators and media publishers to host paid events on Facebook Live or its Messenger Rooms app. Facebook has said it won't collect fees from tickets sales until at least August 2021.

The catch is that you will have to be a paid Zoom user to set up events with OnZoom, with a capacity ranging from 100 attendees, up to 1,000 for enterprise users. For anything larger, users can livestream the event with a Zoom Webinar license. 

The company bills it as being well-suited for other companies to host their own conferences, for fitness instructors to hold paid lessons, for nonprofits to set up fundraising events and many other use cases.

The company also promises that OnZoom will have security features built in, allowing hosts to monitor and moderate attendee behavior, as well as a system for users to report their fellow attendees.

Earlier this year, Zoom became known for so-called "Zoom-bombing," when uninvited guests would crash a meeting and display pornography or other not-safe-for-work imagery, though it later updated its platform with new privacy controls that largely put a stop to the practice.

Zoom is also making it easier to access third party applications from within its platform. It's introducing a new type of app to its marketplace, called a Zapp, which allows users to open apps like Dropbox, Slack, and Asana directly within a Zoom meeting. While Zoom has long supported app integrations, they were mostly focused on allowing users to start a video call from within other apps.

With these so-called Zapps, users can do things like share a document in a call, send a poll, or pull up a team's tasks and projects right on screen. Third-party developers will be able to build apps for Zoom as well, and the company says that so far, 35 outside firms have signed up to build Zapps. Zoom is also focusing on integrating with online education tools for the many students now relying on the app for online learning.

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