Sweat the Small Stuff

We have a couple of big things coming in the next week or two, but we are also paying attention to the little stuff.  We love to get feedback from users and while we may not always get to them right away, be assured we file them away and will get them done!

Here is a list of new features that have gone live this week:

  • Store Caps.  Now you can set the maximum number of items that can ordered in the store.  So if you can only fit 250 people at the pasta dinner, you can set that limit.
  • Event Ordering.  We used to auto-order your events.  Now you can place the Fun Run before or after the 10K.
  • Add Another Registrant.  This has been one of the most popular features on our site for a long time.  Saves typing and money so that a family can sign up together.  But some people miss the big button on the first page, so we added another on the confirmation page.

Keep those suggestions coming!

Monitoring RunSignUp

We recently did a major upgrade of our management and monitoring tools to use New Relic.  It provides us a number of things:

Monitoring & Alerting.  We had been depending on our own simple scripts for this.  This now monitors the site every 1 minute and alerts us if there is a problem.

SLA.  We get a Service Level Agreement Report – basically uptime.  We’ve only been running this since July 3, but so far we are at 100% uptime (which I am sure will go down since everyone has downtime and issues occasionally).  Our manual way of keeping track of this since January 1 was 99.65%, but now this will be tracked in a much more automated way.  We intend to publish this type of information on a continuing basis for transparency.

Site Performance.  We can also track performance of our servers.  Here is an example showing our server responds in an average of 0.255 seconds.

End User Performance.  We can also track how fast our site is from the end user browser or smart phone.  We get about 20% of our traffic from mobile devices now, so looking for ways to improve performance for everyone is needed.  This graphic shows the fastest browser is Chrome on Mac computers. The slowest is Safari on Android mobile devices.

Transaction Tracking.  This allows us to identify slow transactions and look into each database call and function call.  It will help us identify bottlenecks and speed performance.

Error Checking.  This will nto only send us alerts when errors in the system are encountered, but also gives us the ability to look inside the errors.  It even identifies potential errors like slow SQL.

System Load Monitoring.  We have “over designed” our standard running system with lots of extra capacity and failover points.  However, we now have a way to see if bottlenecks develop and identify them early.  This is especially important for large races that might have 10-50,000 runners signing up for a race all in one morning.

Confirmation Email Update

When runners signing up for your race receive a confirmation email today, it comes from info@runsignup.com.

We are updating this to come from the primary race director’s email address.  This will make it simpler for runners to communicate directly with the race.  We are also providing an easy mechanism for you to set the email address in case your race has a generic info@ type of email address where questions are sent to.  This will be under the Social Tab on your race and the Email Addr sub-tab.

To do this in a secure and approved way, you will be getting an email to authorize this capability from Amazon.com (our Cloud Host).  Runners will continue to receive emails from info@runsignup.com until you do the approval.

If you have questions, simply email us at info@runsignup.com

Financial Reports and Payments Update

Financials Update

RunSignUp has always been known as the fastest payment processor for races.  We have been making some very important changes to the financials system to provide better information to race directors, timers and partners.  The new financial reports allow you to drill down into each payment to the individual runner or donor to their exact transaction.  We also moved to a new processor for writing checks each Monday, Bill.com.

This coming week we will be completing the financials updates.  This may cause a brief downtime (a few minutes) for registrations on Monday mid-day.  There will be a number of important upgrades for scalability and testing, but the biggest improvement that you will see is in the payment report you receive with your check.  The image on the right shows a sample of what the report will look like.  It includes the highlights of the week’s payment, as well an overall revenue number and a specific webpage where you can see more details.

We are also adding the ability to specify a direct deposit bank account that will speed payment processing and eliminate the chore of depositing checks manually.  This can be specified in Step 1 of the Wizard.

Custom Web Address

We have introduced a simple way for you to set your own web address! Just go to the Customize Tab and Click on “Race URL”.  You will be able to set a web address like “runsignup.com/My5K”.

Our standard automated web address we create for you will still work. It is optimized for search optimization that includes your Town and State as well as your race name.  This helps the search engines find your race for runners searching near your town.  However, it can mean a long URL name for your brochures.

Note that if you have your own URL, you can use our Sites platform to create a whole website for that domain.

Custom Race URL

Custom URLDid you ever wish you could have a simple URL for your race?  Well, we’ve got a quick and simple solution for you with this new feature in RunSignUp.

Once your race is created, simply go to Customize -> Race URL and set up to 5 different URL’s.

Note that these are first come, first serve.  So the first race director to claim “runsignup.com/5K” will have that for their race.  So hurry up and claim your URL!

June Race Director Newsletter

The more runners in your race, the more problems the race director faces.  There are a number of new techniques being used in Online Registration to help reduce the burden on Race Directors.

Runner Input Errors

How many times have you received an email from a runner saying “I made a mistake on my age.” Or “I mis-spelled my address”.  Or “Can I use a different credit card?”

There are two ways to help reduce this.  First, allow runners the ability to cancel a transaction within 15 minutes of signing up.  We find about 0.7% of runners do this in RunSignUp, which does not sound like a lot.  But if you have a 1,000 person race, that is seven problems you don’t have to deal with.

The second way to handle reduce runner errors is to make it easy for runners to log in and edit their profile information.  RunSignUp has recently added a lot of new features to the Profile, including:

  • Add your own picture
  • Edit personal information
  • Edit fundraising information
  • Join, change or create teams
  • Review their donations

Refunds

This can be a sensitive issue.  The easiest way for a race to handle this is to have a “No Refunds” policy.  However, this does not stop runners from asking for refunds.  Nor does it help certain situations where a refund might be appropriate.  For example, a runner who was registered for a race I help direct called a few days before the race saying her Mother had passed away and was wondering if she could cancel her race registration.

Having a formal refund policy with cut-off dates and a refund processing fee can help reduce the number of queries you get as a race director and make runners a lot happier.  Making this self-serve can take the burden off of you.  RunSignUp is now giving Race Directors the ability to set refund periods, as well as set a fee for processing the refund.  RunSignUp takes care of everything for you and sends a check to the runner for their entry fee – less the processing fee that you set.

Bib Transfer

You always get this call – “Can I transfer my bib to my friend?  I got injured and can’t run the race.”  RunSignUp has also made this a self-serve option for races so runners can take care of this themselves without any involvement of the race director.

You can set up a processing fee (that you get to keep – increasing your revenue) for doing a bib transfer.  It works in a simple way – the runner giving up their bib enters an email address for the friend.  The friend gets an invitation to register for the race.  Once completed, the original runner is automatically sent a check for the entry fee less the processing fee.  The new runner has entered the race properly, signing the waiver electronically just like everyone else.  The participant information is updated properly.  And you as the race director don’t need to do a thing!