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Zoom wants to become the AirBnB of virtual events, classes and concerts

(Image credit: Zoom)

Video conferencing giant Zoom has unveiled a new online marketplace, similar in style to AirBnB, dedicated to virtual events, classes, concerts and more.

Launched into public beta, the OnZoom marketplace gives Zoom customers a centralized platform to market, monetize and host any kind of online event, from fitness classes and piano tutorials to comedy shows and lectures.

The public, meanwhile, can use the platform to browse and register for virtual experiences, which they will later attend via the traditional Zoom client. Event tickets can also be purchased on behalf of friends and family as gifts.

The platform is already live in the US - populated with an initial selection of virtual events hosted by a handful of Zoom partners - and will arrive in other territories over the course of 2021.

(Image credit: Zoom)

OnZoom virtual event marketplace

The pandemic and subsequent rise of remote working has forced businesses worldwide to reevaluate their approach to both providing services and hosting events.

The cancellation of MWC 2020 in February was the first domino to fall, kicking off a chain of withdrawals and postponements that paved the way for a new breed of virtual-first events.

While the largest corporations were able to spin up online events with relative ease, smaller businesses with fewer resources had a more difficult time of it, according to Zoom.

“We were humbled and inspired by all of the amazing ways the world adapted to a literal shutdown of in-person events,” said Aleks Swerdlow, Product Manager at Zoom.

“When business owners, entrepreneurs and organizations of all sizes had to find some way - any way - to stay the course during Covid-19 and continue providing services to their customers, many turned to Zoom.”

The OnZoom marketplace is designed to handle the kinds of issues businesses have faced, centralizing all of the processes that go into making an online event possible: marketing, scheduling, engaging with customers, processing payments, post-event analytics and more.

In theory, the platform should make it simple for hosts to set up one-time events or an event series for between 100 to 1,000 attendees, which should be sufficient in the majority of scenarios.

From the consumer’s perspective, OnZoom is designed to simplify discovery and provide a secure and trustworthy platform for payment and attendance.

With this emphatic shift into the events business, Zoom hopes to further “support (and salute) the creativity, perseverance and innovation” displayed during the pandemic to date.