Let’s Do This (LDT) is not a partner of RunSignup. We have heard from a number of races who use RunSignup that LDT has approached them claiming to be a partner with us. If this is the case it is a misrepresentation. There are no partner or other agreements between our companies. In fact, our understanding of the current and future product offerings of LDT may be in competition with our own product offerings as witnessed by their LinkedIn ad for Sales Reps – “Our Go To Market’s team mission is to get all events, all bookable, and ultimately all exclusive, on Let’s Do This.”
Our concern is not simply that they are a competitor, but that using their registration forms can cause data problems when imported into our platform.
Therefore, we can not support or provide any API connections to Let’s Do This. We also can not provide customer support to data issues where Let’s Do This data has been imported.
LDT uses a variety of marketing programs intended to create incremental registrations, including:
- Race Listing Website
- EMail Promotion
- Facebook and other Social Media Advertising
- Short Registration Forms
Some of our customers have used them over the past several years paying them a high commission rate for each incremental registration. For those RunSignup customers who wanted to try LDT, we encouraged LDT to use either our Affiliate Program or our Referral Tracking capability. This would track registrations that come in from their website or ads they place and our races would have visibility to these registrations. Races would be able to see for themselves registrations that were truly incremental from LDT programs. The additional benefit of the RunSignup Affiliate Program or Referral Tracking approaches for RunSignup races is that the registration takes place on RunSignup, the participant data is clean and financials are reconcilable, with things like Sales Tax taken care of automatically.
In the affiliate program, which is the program that RunningintheUSA.com and HalfMarathon.net and many others use, RunSignup shares part of the registration fee with them. Those vendors automatically load all of the races on our platform via our API and typically generate about 1-2% of registrations for races.
LDT prefers to take the registrations on their own platform. They have indicated that they have done A/B testing and their registration form has a lower drop-out rate because it is shorter and simpler. They may prefer taking registrations on their own platform because they can take their fee without having to bill the customer. This approach allows them to collect email addresses and gain permission for sending emails to participants directly from LDT for promotion of other races.
LDT Gets $60 Million in Funding
LDT recently did a $60 Million fundraising round. They have opened a US office and have contacted a number of RunSignup customers. We understand that they have proposed to a number of our customers that they should be the primary registration site. The reasoning, as we understand it, is that they need to collect customer data directly so they can do remarketing to those customers for other races so they can bring those other races “new” customers.
It is with the timing of this new round of funding that their level of energy in pursuing races that use RunSignup has escalated. The idea that some of our customers may think that LDT is a partner of ours has become a concern to us. We have evaluated partnering with them, and we evaluated their main selling points.
LDT Main Selling Points are Not Compelling
Race Listing Website – One of the basic propositions of LDT is that they will become the hub of where people go to find events. Whether LDT will achieve that goal is to be seen. And we think we do it better.
Of course Google is a pretty popular place for searching for events, and is in fact the main driver of registrations on our platform and we do a number of optimizations to ensure high ranking of race websites. In addition, Google has become more focused on searching for Events so it is even less likely that LDT will become the only hub for where endurance participants search for events. We add code to each race that automatically puts your race (and logo, etc.) on the Google Event Calendar so it shows your race like this:
Email Promotion – LDT also promotes that they will email potential participants about your race. They do this by collecting emails from participants who have signed up for other races. This is a common practice that many other registration vendors have done for 20 years. RunSignup specifically does not have the right to use email addresses from one race to promote another race. The participant email addresses belong to the race. This is a strong philosophical belief of our company. To determine if there is a market for shared email addresses, we will do a survey at the RunSignup Symposium in late July and see if there is interest in forming an industry wide database of participants. We would be happy to provide the technology to share email addresses if that is what some in the community want. We think putting that data into a registration company’s hands is not conducive to the endurance community and creates way too many conflicts of interest.
Facebook and Social Media Advertising – LDT is spending quite a bit of money on advertising. They had done previous rounds of funding and have already raised $21M before this latest round according to Crunchbase:
From what we have heard from multiple European and UK races, Timers and Registration providers, much of this money was spent on advertising. Obviously, if LDT is willing to spend money advertising on your race, it might be worthwhile to do business with them. But there are many advertising firms and approaches that a race can use to do advertising themselves or rely on a third party vendor like Big Run Media.
We are actually big believers in leveraging Social Media and advertising. We offer full, integrated referral tracking so you can measure your spend exactly, and conduct A/B testing yourself. In addition, we offer a number of third party tracking capabilities and keep them up to date like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Finally, having free integrated Social Media tools like Facebook Fundraising brings material financial benefits to our customers.
Optimized Checkout – While we agree that faster registration flows (which we have supported for the past 6 years – heck, we even had support for 1-Click Checkout, Saved Credit Cards (about a million participants have their credit cards securely saved on our platform), remembering preferences for shirt sizes and emergency contact, etc.) mean less drop outs. We also think that races can miss out on additional revenue generation options like donations and store items, referral programs like joining teams, data validation options for things like expected time for corral placement, and support of non-binary participants if fast check out is the only consideration.
We also have severe concerns about their registration forms. They simply seem immature to us. For example:
- No support for Non-Binary
- Address Autocomplete does not work well for many US addresses. And is incredibly frustrating to switch to enter manually.
- Their birthdate picker is scroll only. This is frustrating for people who like to type, and more concerning can lead to people inadvertently scrolling the birthdate year so their age is wrong for results calculations.
- They do not validate fields like expected finish time or pace.
- They do not seem to calculate or collect or make payments for Sales Tax, which is a liability for them and for races.
All of these form problems can result in data issues that will cause problems for your race. For these reasons we will not support any issues with data imported from LDT and why we have cut off their API access.
Lacking Full Endurance Solution – RunSignup offers literally hundreds of common features like free email, free photos, free results, bib assignment, txt messaging for emergencies and for results notifications, teams, integrated fundraising, donations, sales tax, add-ons,corrals, loyalty programs, pricing flexibility, CheckIn App, etc. that do not appear to be available with LDT.
Our Decision to Not Partner with LDT
We have tried for a number of years to help customers who wanted to get the extra registrations that LDT promised. When we began hearing from our customers that we were partners and it was “cool with us” if the race just pointed their website registration button to LDT – that is when we began to have a problem.
We had a number of conversations over the past few weeks with LDT (Bob and Eric have talked with Sam, Alex and John many times over the years). They made several proposals, none of which we felt were in our or our customer’s best interests. There are a number of factors that led us to the decision to not partner with LDT:
- We don’t believe that their four value propositions of Listing Service, Email Promotion, Advertising and Shorter Forms offer our customers significant benefits.
- We have heard from our customers that LDT has a partnership with us and they do not.
- We have talked with several European and UK registration vendors who have worked with LDT and they found that LDT did not deliver on promises, were late and irreconcilable with payments. In fact, we got zero recommendations.
- They have made clear statements to European races that they intend to become a full stack registration vendor.
What are the Options When LDT Calls?
Well, that is obviously up to you. We are famous for our nonexclusive contract, which means that we always want you to be happy with the quality and value of the services and support you receive from us. However, if you think LDT can do a better job than us, then by all means please try them out as your registration, results, photo, website and email platform. We have heard that they are making some very attractive financial deals with customers, so it may be in your best interest especially if you need cash up front.
If you want to continue to use RunSignup, we would love to continue supporting you. And if you can convince LDT to use the Affiliate or Referral model to get paid for registrations that they really, incrementally provide via their marketing programs, then you can do that. If you decide to use that without the Affiliate or Referral model, you will have to manually import any registrations that are done on their platform as there will not be API access for them, and we will not support issues that arise from those imported participants.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to your Account Manager or Sales Rep from RunSignup. If you have deep concerns, please feel free to reach out to Bob directly at bob.bickel at RunSignup.com.