RunSignUp Demonstrates Continued Commitment to Secure Data and Transaction Processing with new Leadership Role

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) announced today the launch of a new Payment Facilitator Committee, with Kevin Harris (RunSignUp Chief Finance and Operations Officer) taking the role of Vice-Chair. ETA Press Release:

As noted in the release, the committee “will serve as a resource within ETA as the established, valued experts on payment facilitators, enabling deeper discussions on emerging industry challenges and assessing opportunities. The committee will also serve to consider public policy matters that may affect this constituency.”

As one of only a few hundred registered payment facilitators RunSignUp has taken steps as a company to meet stringent security, banking, VISA and MasterCard processing rules to become an authorized intermediary (Payment Facilitator) between credit card holders (registrants) and races . As such, when transactions are settled for your race, the race proceeds are held in escrow for your benefit with our back end credit card processing company. Funds transfers to you happen accurately and on time by either ACH or check, based on the frequency of payment that you request.

We became a payment facilitator to ensure that we were complying with financial rules and because we think it is the best way to handle your funds. It addresses the need to be able to quickly onboard smaller sub-merchants and allows businesses like RunSignUp to enable commerce between the buyers and sellers of services. We are pleased to see this secure form of online commerce grow and are proud to have one of our employees take a leadership role in shaping the industry.

Becoming a Payment Facilitator and recently achieving PCI Level 1 compliance are key pieces to our secure data and transaction processing. You can read about all the ways that we keep your data private and secure here.

A few things to look for in evaluating data security and transaction processing in a race technology provider:

  • Does the provider have secure, scalable technology?
  • Are they PCI Level 1 compliant with independent auditors?
  • Do they keep your race funds separate from the funds that they use to operate their business?
  • Do they have a privacy policy for how they will collect, store, and share data?
  • Will they use participant data to market or sell unrelated events, subscriptions, or other items to your race participants?
  • Do they have a proven track record in the industry?

Forgetting Passwords

Forgot Password?RunSignUp is now checking if a runner registering for a race has previously used the same email and asking them to login. If they have forgotten their password, we are now providing a direct and simple way for them to get the password emailed to them. This new mechanism works well with the many race websites that use our widget so they are not bounced out to RunSignUp.

Disabling Password Requirement

passwordRunSignUp by default requires runners to enter a password.  We find this to be very helpful to runners long term since they do not have to type in information repeatedly for each race they join.  It also enables features like refunds, event-event transfers and bib exchange in a secure manner.

However, some races want to give runners to option to not create an account and enter a password.  You can now set this up easily by clicking an option under Miscellaneous Settings.  And we have added the capability for the runner to claim the registration so they can create an account or merge it with another account.  Race directors can also assist runners in claiming their account.

This is also a very useful feature for a number of races who are importing participants from previous registration systems they have used.  Those imported runners obviously do not have accounts, but now can claim them in a secure manner.

Here is a quick video overview:

Don’t be Evil

James Yang - NYTimes 4/21/12

There was an article in the New York Times about how technology companies are over anxious to collect and “monetize” user information. While they talk in public about how they “do no evil” or fall on their sword when there is a public outcry, they all have business models (and legal contracts their users click thru) that allow them to analyze and profit from user information.

RunSignUp is different.  We have baked privacy of runners who register for races right into our contracts.  We will not share your contact information with anyone.  We will not sell mailing lists.  We will not advertise.  We also make our race directors agree to similar terms – they can send runners emails for the purpose of their races but can not sell that information.

The big guys in the online race registration system do not have this type of approach.  They clutter your races with advertising, sell your runner’s contact information to other races, and spam your runners.  They have investors who demand higher returns on their investment and more profit out of each transaction.  RunSignUp is being run on a different model.  While we aim for profitability, we do so in modest ways, staying focused on our market and offering many free services for Race Directors, Timers and runners.

No More Fun?

There was an article in the NYTimes today “No More Innovation for the Fun of It”.  The point of the article was that many of the big companies like Apple and Google have turned into businesses that really only care about money.  And in that pursuit they do things like capture information and figure out ways to use it to gain more money.

This reminds me of a common practice that our friends at use.  Here is their privacy policy and a key sentence – “Active uses your information to perform transactions, deliver services or information you have requested, and offer you products and services from Active and our trusted partners, programs or services that we believe may be of interest to you.”

What this means is that you pay $3.25 to sign up for a $25 race.  They then start sending you emails.  Most of those emails contain ads from races and others – they are making money from your email.  They try to direct runners to their website to sell more ads.  And of course they have gone far beyond running in terms of their focus and business model.

At RunSignUp, we are all about running and having fun.  Our privacy policy is pretty simple: “we DO NOT sell or share your information with anyone except the Event Director for races you register for at”  And we love creating new ways for runners to come together – for example our new, free Sites offering that allows any running group to create a website for free.  Even if you decide to use as an your registration method to spam your friends and runners…