First Data Partial Processing Failure

It looks like some transactions this afternoon about 4:19 PM Eastern were having trouble being processed by First Data.  These are fixed as of 5:12 PM Eastern.  Registrants would have seen an error message stating that the Payment Processor Network is Unavailable and to try again.  Most transactions were going thru, but races may want to do an email to their incomplete registrations for today.  This impacted all merchants using First Data in a random fashion with some transactions successfully completing and some not.

Here are links to the public issue:

https://status.braintreepayments.com/incidents/mpdqr1rh7yq0

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Mobile Usage

Rise of MobileHere are stats from the last 30 days of access to RunSignUp direct or via widgets:

Desktop – 51%
Phone – 38%
Tablet – 11%

So basically 51-49 desktop lead, but my money is on Mobile!

Mobile MoneySpeaking of money, people still find it more comfortable to do their registrations online.

Desktop – 73%
Phone – 16%
Tablet – 11%

The interesting thing is that the Tablet % stayed the same – so people are getting as comfortable on a Tablet as a regular computer.

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Security Update – MySQL Database Upgrade

Our cloud provider, Amazon AWS, provided an automated update to our MySQL database service last night. This was to provide a fix to the security report issued by Oracle on Oct. 16.

We are happy to report that our highly available configuration allowed our failover database server to be upgraded, and then take the load and our primary server upgraded without losing any transactions. Some users may have seen an error on database connection during one of the transfers, but if they hit submit again, the transaction went thru.

This is an important database upgrade and you should check with your other cloud service providers to ensure they have made the upgrade as well.

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Uploading Results with Video

Here is a quick (7 minutes) video on how to upload results as well as link YouTube Results video as well.

Video results are incredibly easy and inexpensive. You can buy a GoPro camera for as little as $129. Uploading to YouTube is simple and free – and GoPro has software that makes this incredibly easy.

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Volunteer Email Communications

The new Volunteer System has an extensive email communication capabilities built in to facilitate managing coordinators and volunteers. It automatically sends emails to coordinators and volunteers that are added manually. It also provides a mechanism for the volunteer manager and coordinators to send emails. Here is a quick video that shows the major portions of the system:

Coordinator CommunicationsThe first capability is when you set a coordinator for a specific Task or Category. That coordinator receives an email with a link to the task or category. If they have a RunSignUp account, they sign in for secure access to the system with a limited view of just that task(s) or category(ies). If they do not have an account, they are directed to register so the system maintains security. The coordinators have the ability to add volunteers, see the volunteer list, and do email via the system as described below to their volunteers (not all).

Volunteer Email SendingThe main communications capability is a simple and flexible email system that RunSignUp sends on your behalf with your race logo embedded in the email and your own Reply To Address. The first feature of the email system is setting who will receive the email. You can select any combination of volunteers and coordinators from any task or category. In addition, you can add specific people to the email.

EMail Special TagsThe second thing to notice in the volunteer email system is the ability to add special tags. This gives you the ability to customize and personalize the email. You need to enter the tags into the email draft and it will be replaced.  Here is an example of what you would type into the email:

This is just a test, %FIRST_NAME% for the %TASKS%.

The %FIRST_NAME% is replaced by each recipient’s first name and the %TASKS% is replaced by the task or tasks that the person is assigned to.  The received message will look like:

This is just a test, Bob for the Water Stops.

Note that manual email addresses added above can have a %TASKS% variable set – so they will see whatever is entered after the email address in place of the tag.

Volunteer Email CreationThe next part of the system is actually creating the email. You can set a Subject line (which can contain the special tags). You can also set a Reply-To email address – for example volunteers@myrace.com.

The email editing tool allows you to create a simple email with the added tags. See the example on the right for another example of how the special tags can be used to EMail Archivepersonalize the email.

All emails are archived and can be reviewed and copied as well.

Email NotificationsFinally, you can manage notifications. For example, a coordinator can turn on our off when new volunteers sign up for their tasks.

Emails can include your race logo placed in the upper right corner of your email automatically for you.

Email with logo

In summary, we have provided a secure, simple and flexible system to help your race better manage your volunteers.

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Affiliate Discounts

Affiliate Base DiscountRunSignUp’s Affiliate Program was designed for partners like RunningintheUSA.com who have race calendars. It allows them to easily grab all of the races on RunSignUp and list them automatically on their website. We have a tracking code so we know the source of the runner coming to register on RunSignUp.

We’ve taken this idea to a new and different level and given the ability to use the affiliate code to trigger a discount. The idea is that there might be a website or mobile app that wants to give a discount to their customers. This can be useful for sponsors – say a local healthcare company is a sponsor for your race and wants to promote healthy activities to their customers who visit their website. They could put a link on their website to register and include an affiliate code. RunSignUp can detect that affiliate code and give a discount to their customers. You could even run a report at the end of your race and ask the sponsor to repay the discounts.

The other way to think about this is a way to attract certain runners. A perfect example is approaching a local running store and tell them if they put a highlight link on their website, or include your race in their newsletter, then you will give their customers a discount. Running stores are always looking for ways to bring value to their customers and they would love to send an email saying get $5 off a race since you are a valued store customer.

Setting up the discount and affiliate code is relatively easy.  Just go to RunSignUp.com/Affiliate to get your code for each originating website or mobile app. Then put that affiliate code on the end of the race registration link according to the documentation.

On the race side, there is a new pricing option for setting up pricing for each affiliate. Runners who came to register via the affiliate website automatically get a discount unless they enter in another coupon code.

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Credit Card Discounts

Credit Card DiscountThe Fifth Third River Bank Run went live earlier this week with a couple of unique discount offers. Since Fifth Third is one of the top 20 banks in the US with millions of customers, they wanted to offer their customers something special.  Namely a $5.30 discount if they registered for the race with their bank credit or debit card.

Since RunSignUp wanted to keep a 22,000 person race happy, and we thought it was a cool idea for other races sponsored by banks, we have developed a way to offer this to any race.

It has the typical RunSignUp ease of set up and use. Race Directors simply type in the Bank Identification Number (BIN) or Issuer Identification Number (IIN) of the applicable credit cards (multiple numbers can be used for large banks like Fifth Third) and then decide on the discount.

For runners, they see the price change when they enter their credit card number.

Note the discount is not applicable with coupons, but will apply with other types of pricing (e.g. age based pricing, membership discounts, etc.). Also, make sure that you do not overlap dates or BIN numbers in multiple discounts, otherwise the discount amount may be nondeterministic.

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