If you use the free version of CoveritLive to live blog news and events, you may want to stop reading now. The company has made some drastic changes to its plan models, essentially eliminating the free version of CoveritLive.
Now, the only unpaid option is just the trial mode, which includes a measly 25 clicks per month. For $10 a month, you get “Starter” access with 250 clicks and the “Lite” plan, at $49 a month, provides 2,500 clicks.
CiL is a favorite tool in many newsrooms so the price change may have negative impacts on already tight budgets. Some may not be able to afford to pay for liveblogging software and are now looking for other options. The first alternative that jumps to mind is ScribbleLive, a platform used by tons of newsrooms. It is, however, quite expensive and not that affordable.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many free alternatives to CoveritLive out there but we scoured the web to find you some options.
The Pros: The free version of this interactive liveblogging platform actually provides a fair amount of features. Users can host an unlimited number of events, insert polls/user surveys, receive live event stats, blog photos and videos, and post updates to Twitter or Facebook. You can also login via Twitter or Facebook.
The Cons: The downside is that G-Snap limits free accounts to only 500 unique viewers per month. That could be a deal beaker for larger news orgs that expect a lot of page views.
The Pros: The main great thing about Wordfaire is that it lets you embed the liveblog onto your site and you can style it how you want. The free plan provides users with 1,000 live updates per month. Once out of beta, the company says it plans to include custom templates. Wordfaire also supplies a lot of documentation on its site in case you have any questions.
The Cons: This liveblogging platform is still in beta so there may be a few quirks it has to work out. It is also pretty strict on what counts as a live update. According to the site, a live update is “one instance of sending information to a reader – so if you’ve had 10 readers reading your blog at a time, and you made 10 posts, you’ve used 100 live updates. The same goes for edits and deletes.” That sounds pretty limiting.
The Pros: WordPress also offers a free liveblogging plugin. This could be ideal for newsrooms operating on WordPress. The best aspect is that installing the plugin is easy and it automatically embeds onto your site. Integration with Twitter is also available.
The Cons: There isn’t a lot of information available on what the plugin does or doesn’t do. I did find one comments mentioning it might not be great for heavy traffic if you don’t have a lot of backend support. This option might be best for those who are developers or close to the developers in their newsrooms.
Update: Mandy Jenkins, digital projects editor at Digital First Media, also blogged about some alternatives to CoveritLive. In addition to reviewing workarounds that don’t specifically use liveblogging platforms, she also suggests CBox or Chatroll.
Have we missed a great, free alternative to CoveritLive? If so, let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter, @10000Words.