Enabling online race day registration can improve the operation of your race, and make things better and easier for your runners. This is a complete overview of the process with pointers to more specific resources on each topic.
On the right you will see the major steps to enable Race Day Registration. Here are the links to the specific areas of drill-down:
In addition, we think this should all be done in an open environment. This means that races using other pre-registration systems could use RunSignUp only on race day – importing their existing runners for free. It means that bib assignment can be done outside of RunSignUp. It means that any scoring software can be integrated deeply or trade CSV files. It means that results can be posted to any results display – whether traditional courier font webpages or cutting edge systems like Xacte and Athlinks. And of course never any lock-in with RunSignUp, and no spam or advertising.
Here is an overview slide deck of the entire process:
In our last blog, we talked about Bib Assignment – giving each person a bib number. This blog discusses the options available for handing out bibs to your runners.
There are three basic options for bibs – pre-printed, printing labels, and dynamic bib assignment. We discuss each of these in the slides and video below.
RunSignUp has a utility for creating Bib Labels – auto formatting them to fit Avery 5160 labels.
RunSignUp also has an easy way to do dynamic bib assignment. This allows volunteers to check in runners and assign them bibs right there. This enables races to distribute bibs before the race in running stores, at an Expo, to running clubs and during race day.
As anyone who uses RunSignUp knows, we are rapidly innovating – just take a look at this blog. There are several secrets to our fast cycle time – great developers, limited scope and focus just on the running market, wonderful customers who give us amazing feedback, and a software infrastructure that is built for fast paced changes.
The infrastructure is built on Amazon’s Cloud and a number of their services, PHP and MySQL. For the true techies, we have a complete object model with a MVC architecture. PHP is a wonderful web-based platform that allows us to change just one page without any downtime on the website. This allows us to make a change quickly and completely transparent to users.
We are working on implementing a new set of services that will automate our releases and testing even more. Right now a developer makes changes and pushes them to our Github repository from their laptops. They then run a script that pushes the changes to one of our test environments. When the tests look good they will push to production.
The new system will rely on CloudBees DEV@Cloud service to automate this process. The key ingredient they have in Jenkins, which is the leading Build system used today. With CloudBees, we will be able to orchestrate or own “workflow” that happens to build, test, and release our software. Since we do this about 20 times per week currently, the new automation will save us time and increase quality. The screen shot at the right shows one of the console shots of the builds we run. The coolest thing about this is it can watch our Github repository and automatically pick up changes, build them and deploy them and test them. If OK, it will then automatically deploy it to our users.
The other tool we are using is SauceLabs. One of our biggest issues is the number and types of browsers. If we make a change, it might not work on some of them – especially those old Internet Explorer browsers on PC’s and Safari browsers on old Mac’s. Since we want to make sure ALL of the runners who want to sign up for your race are able to, we need to make sure things will work for everyone. The screen shot at the right shows SauceLabs in action.
We will incrementally roll this out over the coning weeks and months, increasing our test coverage and quality as we move forward. This will help us keep giving the running community the best solutions we can as quickly as possible.
An important part of race day registration enablement is bib assignment (learn more about bib handout in this blog). RunSignUp provides 6 different ways to assign bib numbers – and of course you can also do it the old fashion way of exporting into Excel or having your timer do it.
The real advantage of using RunSignUp’s bib assignment is to enable better collaboration with the timing software and to enable either dynamic bib assignment and/or race day registration. We will talk more about assigning bibs in another blog and video, but there is some of that as well in the slides and video below.
Here is a powerpoint that highlights the options and features:
Here is a video that shows RunSignUp using each of these methods:
Over the next several months we are going to be making a number of financial related updates – and we’ve already begun!
A couple of weeks ago we lowered our processing fees for larger transactions. As we have pointed out, we make our money by charging a small processing fee that is above the credit card processing fees we pay on transactions that involve money. All of our services are free unless they cost us direct money. We have a growing number of transactions now that are pretty large – when donors get $1,000 donations, or when a bunch of people register together, or when a Corporate Team makes a purchase thru the web. Therefore, we dropped the processing fee to 5% for above $250 and 4% above $1,000. It did not make sense to us to be making too much money on a transaction just because it was a high dollar amount.
The second change goes into effect this coming week. We have traditionally made payments on Monday to any race due over $200 or that is closed for any payments up until Midnight Sunday. We have shifted the close date to Friday Midnight. The reason is that we do not receive payment for transactions that happened on Thursday until the following Tuesday. Which means we are making payments on money we have not received yet. We think Friday night is a decent compromise for now.
The third change is to adhere to the US Government’s 6050W regulations. Paypal does a good job of explaining this. The essence is that in 2013 we need to generate a 1099 report for any customer that has over $20,000 and over 200 transactions per year. To do this report, we will be asking you for your TaxID. For individuals, this is your Social Security Number and for businesses it is your EIN number, and for 501C3’s, it will be your federal registration number. We have started asking for this information on new races, and will be requesting this information from existing customers over the coming months. In the summer we will be limiting payments to customers who have not give us the necessary information. Your information is secured by our AES security system.
The fourth change is coming by this summer. We will offer an option for races to set up a merchant account to get payment directly from your own merchant bank and the credit card network. This will mean shorter cycle times and a more direct cash flow to races. This will not be useful for everyone as there is a lot of overhead in creating your own merchant account, but should be a nice enhancement for some larger races. We will be announcing a new pricing structure for customers who implement this choice that will be announced as we approach the release of the capability.