Best SendBird Alternatives, Competitors & Similar Software (2022)

SendBird is a Software Development Kit that provides user-to-user, user-to-business, and B2B communication inside any mobile app and website.

If you want to create a full-fledged community, you might have heard of SendBird for its communication services. For a community, communication features play a major role for your members.

Although SendBird provides robust messaging features, its services may not be the best fit for everyone. For Example, if your community requires additional features like blog & newsletter or forums, you might want to consider other platforms that offer a more comprehensive suite of tools.

In this article, we'll share where SendBird falls short and provide alternatives to SendBird so you can choose the best one for your needs.

Reasons to look for SendBird Alternatives

  • If you want to customize your mobile app or website using SendBird, you'll need to have 2-3 developers on hand. What's more, if you want to create a seamless API integration, it'll be challenging because it has code-based API integrations.

  • SendBird does not allow you to create Public and Private Channels within your community, so you can't keep different parts of your online community private. You'll also need to add more plugins to make your community more comprehensive.

  • Although SendBird offers a voice/video call feature to be integrated into your app, you would not have access to social engagement and community-building features without purchasing additional add-ons. If you were to sell your product, you would need to use these add-ons to provide a complete experience for your members.

Best Alternatives to SendBird

Scenes

Scenes is an ultimate community platform that helps you build a robust community where you can sell your courses and host live events, webinars, and live streams. Scenes offers the best community features through which you can moderate, manage, and monetize your community all in one place - with your brand appearance, under your custom domain. Scenes can also generate a whitelabelled mobile app and list it on the Play Store/App Store.

Scenes Features

  • High level of customization: You can plug in your domain, add your branding, maintain the brand's colours, and even copy/paste your exact UI (via custom CSS). Scenes is an absolute "brand-consistent" platform.
  • Built-in store: A built-in store allows you to sell courses, information products, digital goods, merchandise and even membership tiers. Plus, you pay the lowest transaction fees compared to all other similar platforms.
  • Push notifications on mobile: When more than 60% of global internet users are on mobile devices, your members must have access to the community on the go. Push notifications via a mobile app ensures that your users are engaged regardless of where they are.
Scenes

Pros

  • Available across in multiple formats & avatars; be it a web app under your domain, a native whitelabeled app on Android and iOS, integrations within your existing app or API-based integrations.
  • Auto Scaling across platforms - Scenes uses powerful auto-scaling technology to keep your community blazing fast no matter how many visitors you have across all devices. They scale as you scale.
  • The only platform that enables custom CSS for top to bottom granular-level user interface customization. You can make your community look close to your app/website's UI.
  • A built-in coin system lets you incentivize your community members to engage more.
  • Live audio-video features for your events, webinars and live classes where all your members can get notified and RSVP.

Cons

  • You will lose some members during the platform migration process.

Slack

Slack is where workplace communication happens. As a tool designed for collaborative workflow, Slack allows team members to put forward their ideas or concerns and get them heard whenever they want. It's a one-stop shop for work-chat that integrates with typical web applications like Google Drive and Dropbox.

Slack Features

  • The thread features allow effective communication between team members by tracking every new conversation.
  • Create public and private channels to allow for team-based collaboration and communication.
  • Supports all kinds of rich-text formats and media, including images, GIFS, file uploads, bulletin and numbering and more.

Slack Pricing

  • Paid Plans start at $8.75 per user/mo.
  • The free Plan includes access to 10,000 recent messages, ten integrations with other apps, and 1:1 voice and video calls.
Slack

Pros

  • Works best for improving workplace communication and efficiency between teams.
  • Extremely intuitive interface, rich with features with plenty of integrations with other products.
  • Works seamlessly for remote teams all around the world.

Cons

  • Slack is a great workplace tool but nothing close to a community-building platform. The entire tool is optimized to improve collaboration over email.
  • The paid Plan is expensive for community builders, starting at $8.75 per user monthly. That is ~$1000 if you have a community of 100 members.
  • No gamification tools to incentivize your community and no ability to white-label your community in terms of domain, branding and appearance.

Mighty Networks

Mighty Networks allows businesses of any size to create online courses, mobile apps, and communities. In addition, one can create membership sites to offer paid courses, paid groups, or bundles of courses and groups.

Mighty Networks Features

  • It offers platform capabilities that scale as your community scales, allowing a seamless experience for you and your community members.
  • White-label and customize your community under your domain and replicate your brand aesthetics.
  • It has many LMS features that let educators and course-creators manage and run their online courses in one place.

Mighty Networks Pricing

  • Starts at $39/mo.
  • A 14-day free trial is available.
Mighty Networks

Pros

  • It offers good social engagement features like live audio/video and chat that lets your members engage with each other.
  • It comes with a native mobile app that is fully Whitelabeled (available when you buy the Mighty Pro plan)
  • It has a very user-friendly UI on the web that replicates Facebook groups on some level.

Cons

  • Not very customizable when it comes to their user-interface. Community owners have to work within a relatively rigid set of constraints.
  • At $30,000, the native mobile app is the most expensive compared to other alternatives.
  • The course creation experience has been said to be 'cumbersome' by many of their paid customers.

Discord

Discord barely needs any introduction as a community tool. Originally intended to be a text/voice-based group-chatting platform for gamers, Discord has broken the mould to house all kinds of communities. Think of it like a less-serious version of Slack. You have channels, role systems that enable you to restrict access to specific/all members and incentive systems (boosts).

Discord Features

  • Interact via live/audio video and text-based channels with community members.
  • Assign roles to restrict access to specific channels or to introduce status-based hierarchies within your community.
  • Reward valuable social behaviour among your community members through Badges (a gamification tool).

Discord Pricing

  • Starting price is $4.99/month for Discord Nitro Classic and $9.99 for Discord Nitro.
  • A free version of Discord is available.
Discord

Pros

  • Discord has unlimited file storage.
  • Discord allows audio calls to up to 5,000 concurrent listeners.
  • Discord allows you to make Public and Private channels.

Cons

  • Discord has a limited group video-calling capacity with a limit of as low as 25 members.
  • Discord works well for starters, but when you hit scale (500+ members), you will find that it is not at all customizable - no whitelabeling, no branding and no support. As a result, you don't have 100% ownership of your community.
  • Discord does not provide valuable in-depth reporting and analytics that enables you to take critical decisions to steer the community.

Tribe

Tribe is a Whitelabell community platform for businesses. It is famous for its customizability and integration capabilities. Primarily, Tribe is built for text-based conversations using features like forums, polls, etc.

Tribe Features

  • The UI is easy-to-use and comprises customizable blocks called 'spaces'.
  • It offers powerful rich-text features to format and deliver your content how you want to present it to your users.
  • A moderation panel that lets you manage your community smoothly and efficiently.

Tribe Pricing

  • Paid Plan starts at $59/month.
  • The free Plan includes 100 total members, essential apps, and a custom domain.
Tribe

Pros

  • Offers a white-label community with a good level of customizations that lets you match your community aesthetics to your brand aesthetics.
  • Has widgets and APIs that let you integrate with several third-party applications. 
  • Has a generous free plan that lets you house 500 members (without the Paywall feature, however).

Cons

  • More of an old-school forum-based tool rather than a full-fledged community platform with real time-communication features like live audio/video.
  • It lacks an incentive system and gamification features necessary for community engagement. Your users need incentives to engage.
  • No built-in shop/paywall system that lets your users buy products from you, such as premium memberships, courses, and the like.

Discourse

Discourse is an online discussion platform. With it, you get the power and flexibility of social networking with the best of the traditional forum software. This software is easy to use, comes with many features and can be scaled without paying for any add-ons.

Discourse Features

  • Conversations, not pages - Why break conversations into awkward and arbitrary pages, where you have to constantly find the Next Page button? We’ve replaced all that with the power of just-in-time loading. Want to read more? Keep scrolling down.
  • Simple, but with context - Discourse is a simple, flat forum, where replies flow down the page in a line. Expand context at the bottom and top of each post, and also in quotes, to reveal the full conversation without losing your place.
  • Social login - Easily add common social logins like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Discord, and GitHub.

Discourse Pricing

  • Starts at $100/mo.
  • Free version available.
Discourse

Pros

  • Anything you see on screen, you can also do via an API call.
  • Automatic notification of new versions in the dashboard, with a one-click web upgrade process.
  • Very easy to administer and moderate discussions.

Cons

  • Some configuration UIs are difficult to follow.
  • Not well-suited for managing workflows (grant management as an example).
  • Bulk operations across multiple threads either impossible or difficult to figure out.

SquareSpace

Squarespace is a platform that offers you multiple tools to create and manage your website. From creating and editing content to adding products (such as ebooks, online courses), managing payments, and more, you'll be able to do it all in one place.

Squarespace Features

  • Engagement Analytics - Track engagement with an activity log, form & button conversions, popular content and site search keywords.
  • Social Media Links - Showcase your social media links, giving your visitors quick and easy options for following you on all major networks. Breakaway’s design builder provides a variety of styles that let you keep up a unified look across every social network.
  • Squarespace’s custom WYSIWYG engine supports custom designs - so whether or not you are a professional web developer or designer, you will be able to customize your site to match your vision and make it work for your business.

Squarespace Pricing

  • Starts at $19/mo.
  • Free trial available.
SquareSpace

Pros

  • They have great templates, design and color palette, type family are a useful feature.
  • There is no requirement of technical know-how or design skills to create a solid website. The high-quality templates, with predetermined styling, ensure that even a simple website looks clean and elegant.
  • You can edit websites using your web browser without any special software. This also allows you to train my clients easily since it's drag and drop. Usability is a big plus especially with smaller clients.

Cons

  • There is no autosave option after you make any changes and always asks to save it manually. No site history feature either.
  • Their template score low ratings by Google’s page speed tool, which could lead to a poor user experience on smartphones and possibly harm your search engine rankings.
  • It is not for larger businesses as they require customizations and functionality.

SendOwl

SendOwl allows creators to sell their digital products and manage the entire order and payment process, from creation to delivery. In addition, it gives businesses control over their e-commerce operations by offering features like customizable sales workflow, flexible shipping options, automated invoicing, invoice management and analytics integration.

SendOwl Features

  • SendOwl provides a shopping cart processing system so that your customers can purchase and add more products to their virtual shopping carts at their own pace.
  • You'll be able to reward your valued loyal customers with thoughtful perks, like giving access to a private chat room, forum, or community.
  • Affiliate marketing - Ask your brand advocates to help grow your customers base by making recommendations and referrals to their friends. In return, they’ll receive rewards for being instrumental in the growth of your business.

Sendowl Pricing

  • Starts at $9/mo.
  • Free trial available.
SendOwl

Pros

  • The SendOwl delivery system offers fast and safe delivery, so you don't need to worry about getting your products to your customers on time. 
  • You can have your extensive affiliate program to increase the sales of your recent course or any other product. 
  • The checkouts and email templates can be customized to match your brand.

Cons

  • It takes a great deal of time to understand SendOwl's complex features and go through a learning curve.
  • There is no discussion forum where your members can ask any questions on Sendowl.
  • The absence of community groups on SendOwl makes your website uninteresting and reduces member engagement.

SamCart Courses

SamCart courses is an e-commerce platform for creators. It allows you to create and sell courses, offers, templates and digital products on a single platform. You have complete control over your pricing, content, and branding.

Samcart Courses Features

  • Drag & Drop Builder - You can add anything you want to showcase about your product. No coding experience is required to design pages.
  • Pre-Designed Templates - You can easily create an attractive website with customizable templates to help you start selling.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization - Optimization can be applied to every page on your site, making it easier to improve conversion rates.

SamCart Courses Pricing

  • Pricing starts at $49/month.
  • SamCart courses offer free trials.
SamCart Courses

Pros

  • The affiliate management setup is very simple and easy to use. Each product has an affiliates option that can be enabled or disabled.
  • Building sales pages and the checkout process for the customer are convenient and easy.
  • You can easily add Google Pay and Apple Pay to the check-out flow, making it easier for your customers to pay.

Cons

  • Due to SamCart's lack of an autoresponder, you cannot use your lists to send reminders, so the entire email process must be handled manually.
  • SamCart's customer service is lacking, leaving customers with unanswered questions.
  • Email marketing and website builders will require you to utilize multiple tools, which will take your time and effort.

Thinkific

Thinkific is a digital course creation platform where educators can curate online courses for their students. In addition, they offer competitive LMS features that let their customers run online courses effectively.

Thinkific Features

  • Assessments & Certificates - Offers comprehensive quizzes, engagement surveys, assignments, exams and certificates.
  • Progress Tracking - In-depth reporting to track student progress.
  • Live Lessons - Deliver lessons via live audio/video and let your students engage with you in realtime (via Zoom integration).

Thinkific Pricing

  • Paid plan starts at $39/month to $399/month.
  • The free plan includes access to all the core features of the platform.
Thinkific

Pros

  • Easy-to-use UI that makes running courses on Thinkific all the more seamless.
  • A very prompt support system responds to customer queries and problems and comes with an active Facebook group filled with Thinkific customers.
  • You can design the access portal, the courses, and the payment methods all in one interface without needing third-party integrations.

Cons

  • Not built for community engagement - in 2022, an LMS is not enough to successfully run courses. Thinkific lacks critical community features like gamification and incentive systems.
  • Cannot manage multiple cohorts under the same roof - this may constrain you as your courses start scaling and diversifying.
  • The pricing is slightly more expensive than alternatives and confusing for some.

Hotmart

Hotmart allows users to create and sell digital products that can be consumed on any device at anytime. Professionals of different fields create content for their students, clients, and followers by transforming their knowledge into videos, courses, eBooks and other resources.

Hotmart Features

  • Hotmart Members Area, Online Events Personalize your Members Area to be more than an online classroom or create unique online events that fit your brand.
  • You can reach a wider audience with Hotmart Affiliate Program which helps automate payments to your affiliates and reach more potential buyers while keeping control of your brand.
  • You can share the journey with Hotmart Co-Creation and Hotmart Collaborators Center by adding partners to your product, automatically distribute profits, and set access permissions according to your team.
Hotmart

Pros

  • You get real-time updates, set tracking pixels for customized reports, and more which helps in making sound decisions
  • Host livestreams, gather leads, and offer products with one-click buying during your webinar.
  • The perfect way for potential buyers to find your work at no extra cost. Customers can browse the products of Hotmart Creators according to their interests and needs.

Cons

  • It is expensive and takes a 10% commission on top.
  • It has few features to increase student engagement in class.
  • An inexperienced user may find it difficult to use.

Passion

Passion.io is an easy way to create a mobile learning platform for your online courses. You don't need any coding experience to create a fully-customizable learning ecosystem. Passion.io features pre-built tools like video, gamification and social sharing that are guaranteed to grow your community of users very quickly!

Passion.io Features

  • Offers seamless orders & subscription plans.
  • Provides easy payments and payout.
  • Provides a hassle-free drag and drop option.
Passion

Pros

  • Build interactive courses with pre-built templates or design your own from scratch.
  • Simple to use interface.
  • No coding or technical worries.

Cons

  • Not affordable for everyone.
  • Due to lots of features, it may take some time to be familiar with Passion.io
  • The drip content feature is not available in the Pro plan.

Disclaimer: To curate the pros, cons and reviews - we mine the internet for customer references regarding the said software. Some of our sources include Reddit, Product Hunt, Twitter & Quora (and sites like G2 & Capterra).

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready…here are 3 ways we can help:

  1. If you’d like to turn your business into a community-led business, book a call with us. One of our community experts will understand your current situation, and suggest how a community can work for you.

  2. If you’d like to learn the exact community-building formula we’ve used to help build 2000+ communities, watch this masterclass or read this guide.

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