The term "webcast" derives from its original similarity to a radio or television broadcast. Early usage referred purely to transmission and consumption of streaming audio and video via the World Wide Web. Over time, webcast software vendors have added many of the same functional capabilities found in webinar software, blurring the distinction between the two terms. Webcasts are now likely to allow audience response to polls, text communication with presenters or other audience members, and other two-way communications that complement the consumption of the streamed audio/video content.

The term "webinar" is a portmanteau of web and seminar, meaning a presentation, lecture, or workshop that is transmitted over the web. The coined term has been attacked for improper construction,[2] since "inar" is not a valid root. Webinar was included on the Lake Superior University 2008 List of Banished Words,[3] but was included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary that same year.[4]

Unveiled in 1996 by InSoft Inc., CoolTalk was a multimedia software tool that let PC users view data displayed on a shared whiteboard, exchange real-time messages via a chat tool or speak with each other via a TCP/IP voice connection. The product worked with Microsoft Sound System-compatible audio boards and was available in a 14.4-kbit/s version or 28.8-kbit/s version. CoolTalk was later packaged with popular Web browsers of the time.[20] CoolTalk 14.4 and 28.8 sold for $49.95 and $69.95, respectively, in 1996.[11][21]
Rather than the 7% or so fee investment banks may charge for flying planeloads of investment bankers around the world, companies like Slack can simply hold a webinar. — Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "After Slack, the IPO market might never be the same," 19 June 2019 Emily's List: An organization dedicated to electing prochoice Democratic women to office by guiding women through their campaigns from start to finish, with trainings, webinars, and volunteer support. — Glamour, "Here’s How You Can Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans Right Now," 15 May 2019 The Liquor and Cannabis Board plans to hold a webinar on October 16 to address questions about its reevaluation of edibles. — Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Washington to ‘reevaluate’ marijuana edibles, crack down on products that might appeal to kids," 5 Oct. 2018 The initial program ran for 12 weeks, with three in-person gatherings in New York, in Austin, Texas, and at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., as well as weekly webinars and weekly individual training sessions with each publisher. — Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ, "Facebook Gives Local Newspapers Tips on How to Boost Subscriptions," 2 Aug. 2018 Correction: This story has been updated to reflect FMCA’s planned webinars are on social media training and video recording. — Maria Elena Vizcaino, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida League of Cities launches organization for local government spokespeople," 26 June 2018 Those looking to ditch their day jobs and start an online business that’s more than a side hustle can tune into a webinar with Regina Renaye, who founded her own virtual assistant business, Anywhere Admin. — Margeaux Sippell, BostonGlobe.com, "Weekend business agenda," 29 June 2018 The proceedings will appear via webinar at https://alabamadcnr.adobeconnect.com/redsnapperconference . — Frank Sargeant, AL.com, "White bass, wild turkeys and red snapper in the outdoor news," 21 Mar. 2018 Those looking to get started in the real estate business, even with no prior knowledge, are invited to log in to a webinar on how to make money in real estate investing. — Margeaux Sippell, BostonGlobe.com, "Weekend business agenda," 7 June 2018
×