Apple Changes the Rules for Event Apps

Apple has changed the rules for what passes as a valid app (Will Apple’s App Store New Guidelines Trouble Event Apps?) and has started removing hundreds of thousands of apps based on these new guidelines.

What this means: If your race has a light weight app that is basically content, or is created from a core app specifically white labeled for your race, then you are at risk Apple will remove your app from the App Store. (And good luck getting specific guidance from Apple on whether your app will ever be removed at some future release or in some random housecleaning they do.)

DoubleDutch has a very positive spin on this – Event Technology Just Took a Giant Step Forward (With a Little Help from Apple).

We’ve long known that the White Label Event App model (siloed, disposable apps for each customer) was not ideal.  It was bad for attendees, overly complex for our customers, and inefficient and inelegant as a way to deploy software. Apple is now pushing mobile event app vendors away from the White Label Event App model towards a Slack or Gmail-like model; a single, secure, vendor-branded app that lives in the App Store containing all of the accounts and event instances within a single app (we’ll call this the “Universal App” model).

Of course, we have disappointed many race directors over the years declining to “white label” RaceJoy. We did this for a number of practical reasons:

  • If we had 1,200 (the number of races who provide RaceJoy to their participants) white label apps for individual races, each time we had a release of the software we would have to upgrade 1,200 apps. And because there is so much functionality in RaceJoy and we continue on a very aggressive product roadmap, we have a lot of releases. The model would simply not be affordable or scalable.
  • Runners expect more from an app than web pages – even if those web pages are split times on a course.
  • This won’t be popular to say, but there are very few races who have the brand equity to afford the investment in a real app.
  • Runners don’t want 1,200 apps.

One final word of caution – if you are using a vendor who is white labeling their app for your race, and you are doing a lot of promoting of that app – make sure it does not disappear from the Apple Store (and get that in writing from the vendor and from Apple).

Mobile Race Website Header Option

We have added an option that removes the automatic race name that appears on a race website when in mobile view.

For example, the website looks like this:

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The “Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K Race” is the race name the system automatically puts on each race website in full view mode. That can now be hidden on mobile phones, giving a cleaner look on a smaller device (and places it below the “SignUp” button:

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Set this option on Miscellaneous Settings, and can also remove it from the name on desktop views as well:

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Does Your Race Need a Native App?

picture2We made a decision almost 2 years ago that we would not have a stand alone app for registration that consumers would use, and that RaceJoy would be a single app, and we would not create an app for each race.

There is a blog making the rounds “Why Native Apps are Doomed“. Here are some of the top reasons listed:

Races who use RunSignUp gets positive reviews of the mobile design and look and feel of their race websites on mobile. It gives them one place to update information and be consistent and available.

For RaceJoy, the high level of functionality requires an app. Some races ask us if they can have their own race version of the app. We don’t do this because of cost and overhead. Next year RaceJoy will be used by over 1,000 races – imagine supporting 1,000 versions of the app times Apple and Android. RaceJoy also is catching on enough in areas where a runner will use it multiple times – so a race can benefit from repeat app users and not have to reinvent the wheel themselves. In addition, RaceJoy will soon have a full race calendar listing all of the races on RunSignUp and hopefully some others with direct links to mobile web registration and information.

If your race is considering a mobile app, give careful consideration to the cost and overhead. While it may be appropriate for the New York Marathon, it may not be appropriate for every race.

RaceDay SignUp Kiosk App

V 1.0 is released on Oct. 19, 2016.

IMG_0675As a part of the new RaceDay Go Platform, the new RaceDay SignUp Kiosk App is now available. As we reviewed several weeks ago, this provides a native Apple and Android app designed for race day signups. Just search “RunSignUp” on your phone’s App Store. There is also a web version available to run on notebooks and Chromebooks in a Chrome browser – https://signupapp.runsignup.com.

The new app now supports a secure credit card swiper (purchase here) to speed the signup process.  We have worked with a swipe device manufacturer to build a fully encrypted card reader. This means when the card is swiped, the actual device is encrypting the data. The only place the data can be unencrypted is on RunSignUp’s secure, PCI-compliant cloud platform. The swipe device is available now by clicking here.IMG_0677

The devices that plug into phones and tablets via the earphone jack cost us over $50 each to manufacture, and we will be partially subsidizing the cost. As you can see, they are heavier duty than the Square devices that many people are familiar with. For laptops and Chromebooks, we also have an encrypted USB card swiper.

Here is an early demonstration of the app:

Maine Coast Offers RaceJoy for a Second Year!

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The Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon will be held this weekend, Friday, May 13th through Sunday, May 15th, at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. The race offers a variety of course options, including a marathon, a half marathon, a half marathon relay and a back-to-back 39.3 Mile Challenge. Both are sold out with the field limit less than 3,000 providing a more intimate experience for runners versus the hustle and bustle that comes with the larger race options. Even the wait list sold out! By having limited people out on the course, runners are able to have a personalized experience soaking in the beauty of the Maine area.

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Runners experience the Maine Coast in May and enjoy the beauty of springtime in Maine as they run along the coast in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Biddeford Pool.

Thanks to race organizers, GiddyUp Productions, people will be treated to a unique race experience including all of RaceJoy’s bells and whistles.

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2015 Tracking at Maine Coast Marathon

Participants will have access to official race timed alerts, GPS-based progress alerts, and instant results. Supporting family and friends will be able to track runners in a map view, receive progress updates at every mile and send supporting cheers to participants. We’re expecting some creative Lobsta Text-to-Cheers this weekend!

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2015 Progress Alert from Maine Coast Marathon

Check out how the race promoted the new RaceJoy features on their web site: What’s New

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After crossing the finish line, participants can avoid waiting in long results lines! Thanks to integration with the timing provider: RaceWire, RaceJoy can provide scored results for finishers including individual, overall and age-group results. Here are the top speedsters from last year’s race….

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2015 Official Race Results

We’re excited to be part of the 2016 Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon & Half again this year! We hope you have a great race and enjoy the RaceJoy experience. You Rock Lobsta! 😉

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You can offer advanced tracking and cheers at your next race by creating a race in RaceJoy at no cost and in a few simple steps through RaceJoy’s Website or your RunSignUp dashboard. If you would like to provide these features to your participants for free, please see our buyout options during the RaceJoy setup.

 

“Runcation” with a Destination Race Experience

With so many races to choose from, runners often select races that can offer something truly personal to add to the race day experience not only for themselves, but also for their supporting family and friends – like planning a vacation around the race weekend.

Many races are now finding ways to offer a look into the uniqueness of the local community and to provide different course distance options for participants with varying athletic abilities. These types of races focus on an increasingly popular aspect of running –  a socially shared experience with a focus on quality and scenic destinations.

We’ve seen races truly committed to offering the highest quality, personal experience they can for the participants and spectators – these races tend to be the ones that want to offer RaceJoy. The Grand Canyon Half, organized by Vacation Races, and the Santa Barbara Marathon, organized by Destination Races, are two examples of races this past weekend that focused on providing a unique destination race experience.

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Grand Canyon Half Marathon

The Grand Canyon Half is part of the National Park Half Marathon Series and this past weekend the race helped celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday! If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that it is a truly unique and breathtaking place in our country. Race organizers provided RaceJoy as a complimentary service to participants and spectators for access to free live tracking, progress alerts and cheers.

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The Grand Canyon Half Marathon is a trail race that offers runners and walkers an unbeatable nature run in Tusayan, AZ. The course is run right on the border of the national park, since access to run inside the park boundaries is not permitted. It takes place in the Kaibab National Forest. As part of the experience, participants were offered the ability with RaceJoy to be live tracked and receive progress alerts at every mile along the course with information like pace and estimated finish time based on their GPS location – 4,100 alerts were sent!

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An interesting statistic – people spend only about 20 minutes looking at the Grand Canyon before moving on. This could be because people are used to hiking up for a spectacular view, not down. If you’ve never hiked below the rim of the Grand Canyon, this may be a bucket list addition for you after you do the run, of course!

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Vacation Races organizes nine races each year, all centered around a different National Park. Their goal is to change perspectives and provide an opportunity for runners to experience the gorgeous parks across the country. The race organizers are dedicated to convenience and innovation – evident through their cup-free policy, refund options, and by providing RaceJoy at its races.

Vacation Races organizes the following races throughout the year:

 

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon

The Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon offers an ideal destination running experience as well. Every year, the race is held in early May on Mother’s Day weekend, providing the perfect time to visit the Santa Ynez Valley for an outdoor recreational “runcation” and enjoy the local vineyards. This race provided RaceJoy’s live tracking features to participants and spectators for a  99 cents in-app fee.

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The scenic course runs from downtown Santa Ynez through Los Olivos into the Danish-settled town of Solvang. The valley offers plenty to do, including the beach, hiking, biking, running trails, historic towns, shopping and restaurants, and of course, an abundance of wineries and tasting rooms. The alerts were sent at every mile along the course to participants who opted for the live phone tracking and GPS-based progress alerts – 1,240 alerts were sent.

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It’s a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day together to enjoy a weekend full of activities and to celebrate at the expanded post-race Wine & Music Festival in Solvang Park.

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Destination Races organizes eight races across the country, taking runners to some of the finest regions in the world, providing an opportunity to smell, taste and feel the terrain of each unique destination. Each race event is crafted to provide something new.

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Dedicated to quality, all the Wine Country Half Marathons have limited fields, ensuring a stress-free environment while enjoying wine country ambiance and a thrilling race day experience. Race organizers partner with tourism related businesses in the regions to showcase a local bounty, creating a wine, culinary, and fitness themed “runcation.”

Destination Races organizes the following races throughout the year:

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Each of these race organizations offers a unique race experience for participants and spectators to plan a vacation around. One of the best things about these races is that you know there will be consistencies in the quality of the service and a dedication to providing the best possible race day experience at each race. So, if you are planning a family vacation or a girls’ weekend away, both offer options to experience beautiful parts of United States.

Thank you race organizers for providing a one-of-a-kind experience for participants to share with friends and family and for your dedication to quality and innovation. Together, we are changing the race experience!

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If you’d like to offer RaceJoy at your race, click here. All we need is an accurate electronic course map (GPX or KML) and two weeks lead time. Affordable buyout options are available for race organizers and sponsors who wish to offer RaceJoy’s advanced tracking and cheers as a free service to participants and spectators. There is also a free-to-the-race option in which the participants and spectators pay a per race in-app upgrade fee of 99 cents (must have at least one course that is 10K or greater).