As we are building Chanty – AI-powered team communication app, we make sure to check our competitors, analyze them from a customer’s perspective and learn about their pros and cons.
We’ve already written a few reviews on Slack alternatives, compared Slack vs Flock and Slack vs Skype. The insights we received helped us come up with a better, cleaner and more user-friendly chat alternative. Today we are going to compare Slack and Ryver.
For those of you who are in a hurry, here’s a brief comparison table covering the main points of the article. Continue reading further for an in-depth feedback and our key takeaways.
Ryver vs Slack
|Notifications||Notifications for Private teams and Open forums, general notification settings||More advanced, e.g. notifications for specific keywords or @mentions|
|Video/audio calls||Built-in integration with FreeConference app, up to 400 people||Native audio/video calls for up to 15 people (paid plan), number of integrations with video communication apps|
|Integrations||Integrates via Zapier which requires Zapier paid account if you use integrations heavily||800+ seamless integrations with third party apps|
|Pricing||Free till you start assigning tasks to team members.
$19 for 5 task users, $49 for 15 task users, $99 unlimited task users.If you use integrations you’ll have to pay extra for Zapier plan at some point
Update: Ryver has recently changed its pricing from free to $99 for teams of seven and more regardless of using tasks.
|Freemium limited by
10K searchable messages 5GB file storage per team.
Plus plan starts at $12.50
|Conversations||Open forums, Private teams and Direct messages. Topics (equivalent of Threads in Slack)||Public and private channels, one-to-one chats. Threads to respond to a message in a channel|
|Task manager||Native Trello-like task manager||Implemented via integrations with task manager apps|
|File sharing & storage||Exchange files via built-in integration with Google Drive, Box or DropBox
Storage limit: claim to have it unlimited
|Sharing multiple files is a pain
Free plan: 5GB file storage for a team
Standard plan: 10GB per user
Plus plan: 20GB per user
File upload limit: 1GB
|File search||Simple search, no file or date-specific options||Advanced search, lets you search within the documents or specify the time period|
Slack is a popular team communication tool with powerful features, smooth interface and a big price tag. This well-known team communication app was founded by Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr. It was launched in 2013 and has grown insanely in just four years – the company value has been estimated at more than five billion dollars as of 2017.
Slack is a leader when it comes to the number of seamless integrations with third party apps. You can go ahead with their free version, however, it has significant limits e.g. 10K searchable messages per month or only 10 integrations.
Ryver was founded in 2015 by Pat Sullivan when Slack was already flourishing. You might’ve seen their Twitter ad where ‘free’ Ryver is confronting ‘so-last-year’ Slack. Ryver has chosen to make a power move and combine team communication and task management in one app.
Basically, it’s like putting Slack and Trello into a single tool. The idea sounded fascinating when we first read about it on Ryver’s website. When we dived into the app, however, the implementation didn’t get us nearly as excited. I’ll focus on this little later, though.
When it comes to integrations, Slack is obviously winning with its 800+ integrations that are easy to implement. All you have to do is click the ‘Next’ button a few times and you are all set. Keep in mind though that the number of integrations might be not what you think it is.
Let me explain. If you integrate with MailChimp, for instance, and choose to receive notifications once new users sign up to three different Slack channels or DM’s, you’d use up three configurations even though it’s just one app you’ve integrated with. It means you’ll run out of ten integrations in a freemium Slack plan in a blink of an eye.
Here’s the tricky part. Ryver claims to have 500+ integrations with other apps and services via Zapier. Well, it’s true that Zapier lets you choose out of 500 integrations in its free version. However, you can only have 100 tasks per month and use only 5 app automations (zaps) with Zapier in a free plan.
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It means you’ll run out of your tasks in a free plan already after a hundred of tweets or a hundred of RSS notifications. The paid plans in Zapier aren’t too inviting – if you want to get 50K tasks and unlimited access to zaps, get ready to pay $250 per month. That’s how much the ‘free’ Ryver could cost you.
Moreover, integrating Ryver with another app via Zapier is more complicated than it’s in Slack. For starters, you’ll have to create Zapier account, then Zapier will ask you to run a test that may result in some errors you don’t know how to deal with.
The good news is there are some built-in integrations in Ryver e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, Box which means you could upload files directly from these services to your conversations. The downside, however, is that you can’t remove them from the upload popup in case you don’t use them.
Takeaway? If you use integrations heavily, Slack is the way to go.
The first impression you get when you open Ryver is that it feels a bit like ‘90s. Their claim of Slack being ‘so last year’ sounds irrelevant considering heavy design, rather complicated user interface and excessive use of all caps.
Slack interface looks more professional. It is cleaner, friendlier and more organized. The variety of different features is hidden behind the buttons:
When it comes to design and interface, Slack beats Ryver 1:0 with flying colors.
If the ease of use and simplicity of a team communication tool is what you are after, you should totally take a look at Chanty, the team chat we are passionately building.
Just like public / private channels and one-to-one chats in Slack, conversations in Ryver are organized into open forums, private teams and direct message. Slack lets you share, pin, comment, add reaction, edit, delete a message or even follow the particular message and send a reminder.
In Ryver you can create a task out of a message, set a reminder, add a reaction, start a topic (it’s like threads in Slack), edit, delete or reply. I didn’t see the pin option in Ryver which is quite handy. E.g. you can pin any message in Chanty and view all the pins any time to quickly get back to what’s important.
For a few years Slack was doing just fine without built-in video calls. Google Hangouts integration used to take care of this issue. Finally, in 2016 Slack has introduced their native video calls so the teams are now able to make a voice or video call directly in Slack.
As we’ve tried video calls in Slack with our team, we haven’t experienced major issues, except some minor bugs while turning camera on and off during the video conversation.
Slack supports emojis that you can add to the middle of the screen while having a video call which honestly look a bit weird.
Ryver voice and video calls are possible thanks to integration with FreeConference. What’s impressive about this app is the ability to talk to up to 400 people in a video call simultaneously.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test it with 400 people, but it seems like the quality could become an issue even with two participants. There’s also a separate chat on your right which is great if you using FreeConference as a separate tool, but could become confusing when trying to sync everything you’ve shared in text and video communication via Ryver.
There’s no single answer which app is better when it comes to voice and video calls. If you are after comfort, than Slack would be your choice. If the number of participants is a game changer for your team, go with Ryver and its FreeConference built-in integration. You can also connect Slack to a video communication app of your choice (FreeConference is among them) to have a video call with a big team.
Search functionality in Ryver is quite simple. It lets you search within a particular conversation as well as across all your team conversations. Therefore, there are two search fields in Ryver which might be a little confusing. You type in the word you are looking for and it gives you the results. That’s pretty much it.
In Slack, for a change, there are more options like specifying a time period to search for.
What you can find particularly helpful in Slack is its search within files. Say you are searching for a doc, you don’t remember its title, but you can recall some of the words in the text. You can type them in and Slack will find that document.
Here’s the takeaway – choose Slack for more advanaced search options. If your teammates aren’t too demanding when it comes to search or don’t use it that much, Ryver does its job just fine.
Ryver offers an unlimited file storage, but they don’t specify the file upload size. We’ve experimented with it and it turned out 300MB is the maximum file size you can upload. Ryver has a built-in integration with Google Drive, Box, DropBox, you can upload multiple files. If you don’t use these apps to store your files, you’ll still see them every time you upload a file.
Slack Free plan lets you store up to 5GB (for the entire team) while Standard plan allows up to 10GB per member and Plus – up to 20GB per team member. The maximum file size that you can upload to Slack is 1GB. Slack requires upload confirmation when you share files. If you’re up to uploading a hundred files to Slack, it’ll make you confirm your uploads for a hundred times.
The amount of information people share via team communication tools could become overwhelming at times. Therefore, the app you use should be smart enough to keep you away from the unwanted notifications.
In Ryver, you can manage notifications on both conversation and app levels. It’s also possible to control email notifications, setup do not disturb mode and choose the specific sound for alerts. Unfortunately, we haven’t found a useful option for mentions to trigger notifications the way you can do it in Slack. What’s nice though, is the Notifications menu where you can view all of the updates in a single place. It’s where you go if you’d like to quickly get up to date with all the missed messages.
Slack notifications are highly customizable. At ‘Notification preferences’ you can even set up a keyword notification, so when someone types a specific keyword in a particular channel, you’ll get notified. There is also an option to set up the time when you don’t want to get notified (do not disturb mode) and more.
The key takeaway is that notifications in Slack have more advanced controls. If you need to trigger alerts based on the keywords, mentions or specify the time when to get notified, Slack would be a better option. In case you need one place to read all the messages you’ve missed – Ryver is the way to go.
Slack has adopted the freemium pricing model which means its light version is available free of charge. It’s limited with 10K searchable messages which is a big pain for many Slack customers, 10 integrations and 5GB storage. You can’t make a voice or video call unless it’s one-to-one. Screen sharing and many more useful options are also unavailable for free users.
The paid plans in Slack start at $6.67 per user, per month giving you options like guest access, screen sharing, up to 15 people voice and video calls and more.
Ryver is positioned as a free Slack alternative. It doesn’t practice per user, per month pricing. Instead, there’s a flat rate price you pay. The team communication functionality along with a personal task manager used to be free to use until you start assigning tasks to your teammates. Surprisingly, Ryver has recently announced the change in its pricing. Now every team of more than six people is charged $99 regardless of using tasks. “No matter how big your team Ryver is just $99/month total,” says the Ryver’s pricing page now.
Ryver pricing plan
I was very curious about the ‘unlimited webhooks’ in Ryver’s paid plan. As I already mentioned, integrations in Ryver could be implemented via Zapier. Zapier gives you only 100 tasks in its free plan (which you’ll run out of in 15 minutes if you use integrations heavily). Even in the paid $250 per month plan, Zapier provides with 50K tasks and 750 apps to choose from. I haven’t seen any unlimited plans. This made me wonder how the whole ‘unlimited webhooks’ thing works. Which leads us to the next section of Ryver vs Slack comparison:
It was Friday noon when I wrote an email to Ryver support, asking how they handle integrations. It’s already Tuesday next week when I’m writing this article. Unfortunately, I haven’t received any reply or even a sign that my support request was recorded. I’ve tried to open the live chat window several times during the day and it kept telling me the staff wasn’t available.
It doesn’t look like the replies on the blog are timely as well…
On the flip side, you can take a look at the screenshot below to see how Slack approaches customers.
As you see, it takes about two hours for Slack support team to get back. Obviously, Slack has a bigger support team than Ryver, but they have more customer requests as well. They’ve made customer care a priority. At Chanty we are doing our best to move the same way and go every extra mile to meet our customers’ needs.
Ryver combines team chat and task manager. That’s how they are different from Slack, they say. Luckily, once you sign up for Ryver, you receive 14 days access to all features, including the ‘assign-a-task’ feature in the task manager. We were able to give Ryver task manager a try.
The Trello-like Kanban task board looks like this:
You get categories, tasks that you can tag, comment, set due date, attach files, etc. What’s useful is that you can create a task out of any message in Ryver. The difficult part started when we’ve tried to assign task to our teammates. Here’s a window you get when creating a task. As you can clearly see, there’s an ‘ASSIGNEES’ button.
Once you click it, you get to the next window:
Unfortunately, there wasn’t an option to assign a task there. I’ve checked it twice and my Ryver plan said I still have the all-features access for a few more days. How come I couldn’t assign tasks?
It turned out, you can create and assign tasks only in Private teams. Once you’ve realized that, everything falls back into place. The question remains, however, what is that ‘Assignee’ button for at the Personal tasks menu?
Although Slack doesn’t have a built-in task manager, there are plenty of third party apps you can connect to leverage the task management functionality. One of them is To-do app integration:
You can assign a task to a team member and set a due date – two essential components of a task manager. If this doesn’t seem like enough for your team (e.g. you are running sprints in a Scrum project) you can integrate with more advanced task management systems like Jira.
Ryver gives a promise to be far more convenient than Slack and Trello. On the one hand, this is a fair simple-math statement – rather than switching between two apps, it’s great to have one combining team chat and task manager. If you drill a bit deeper, it’s not that simple.
Here’s one of our customers’ take on the issue:
Integrations whether they are built-in or not are tricky. The implementation of the integration should be seamless to an extent when it’s actually easier to use one app with an integration rather than two dedicated apps.
Was Slack the pioneer in a team communication niche? No. There were many apps people have used for communication at work before. However, they were the ones who managed to create a buzz about their product, brought in several conceptual innovations into organizing communication. Here’s another pro: Slack is fun to use (unlike the well-known apps that existed before Slack was even launched).
Is it the task manager that Slack lacks? Integrations with to-do lists and task managers make it possible to effectively manage tasks in Slack.
Well, what are the cons then? Many consider Slack expensive and cumbersome. It continuously becomes slower with the insane amount of freemium users leading to a steadily increasing volume of server traffic. Slow, expensive and overcomplicated – these are the pains our customers point out as well.
Ryver is on the mission to make an even better Slack-like app. Obviously, it doesn’t have the budgets of Slack. It does its best trying to gain the competitive edge. The battle gets especially difficult when you are fighting against a very strong niche leader backed up by billions of investments.
This is when you get creative and come up with all kinds of innovations for your product. Ryver has chosen to combine task manager and team chat in one product. After using Ryver for a while, I can’t say it was very intuitive or simple. They do have many features, but they are stuffed into interface making you wonder which button or icon to click next.
After using Slack and Ryver you can clearly feel the need for a simple, very simple tool. This is when Chanty comes in. Join our amazing team of early adopters. Give Chanty a try and make your life at work a bit easier.