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Update News for December 2010    


Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:

These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.


Merry Christmas

Growing up there were two things our family didn't discuss: politics and religion. My parents were of the view that discussions about religion and politics were a bad idea because it led to arguments. I am quite certain my parents were not alone and many folks felt that way and still feel that way today.

In years past I have taken the occasion of Christmas, and Compulife's December bulletin, to explain my views on Christmas and how it relates to Christianity. Some would offer the "advice" that such religious discussions are a bad idea from a business point of view, and that I should not mix religion and business. Some people felt especially strong about it and made an effort to let me know. In that regard I began to offer my Christmas greeting as a separate document, and provided a link to it. I have done so again this year.

Merry Christmas


Lead Marketing For Canadian Subscribers

Last month we invited Canadian subscribers to respond to a proposal that we were making for those who are implementing our on-line web quotes for their web sites. We had very little negative response and so plan to move forward with the proposed changes. The objective/goal for these changes is to provide a way for Canadian subscribers to benefit from web traffic to their on-line Compulife quote systems, where the traffic is coming from areas in which they are not licensed to sell.

For example, assume that you are licensed to sell life insurance in Ontario and have installed Compulife's on-line quote system for your web site. Someone from British Columbia visits your site and attempts to run a quote. Our proposal will let you hand that individual off to a list of Compulife subscribers from www.term4sale.ca. In return for doing so, you will generate additional FREE listings for yourself at www.term4sale.ca. This will increase the likelihood that you get a reciprocal sale from visitors to that site, or from agents in other provinces using the Compulife quotes and this option on their web site.

IMPORTANT: This will be an OPTION to your online quotes; you do not have to use it. If you already have arrangements for handling insurance inquiries that come from provinces that you do not sell in, there is not need to disturb those existing relationships.

Canadian subscribers will recall that when we first announced our QuinStreet deal for U.S. subscribers, we advised that QuinStreet does not buy leads in Canada. We asked for input from anyone with an alternative. No one came up with an alternative and so we gave it further consideration and came up with an idea that we think may be even better than the Quinstreet deal in the U.S. In fact we are developing this for our Canadian subscribers with the view that it is a backup plan for our U.S. site, should we need an alternative.

The new idea is a combination of the QuinStreet concept and the new "Buy Now" button that we will be adding to the Term4Sale web site comparison results page. If you don't know what we are referring to, the Quinstreet deal (for Americans) is described in the U.S. bulletin for December. CLICK HERE if you wish to read that bulletin. More information about the "Buy Now" button follows later in this bulletin.

The new deal for Canadian subscribers will be called the "Term4Sale Referral Program". If you activate the option on the control panel for your web quotes, consumers who visit YOUR site, from provinces that you do not sell in, and who request a quote from a province that you do not sell in, will be referred to agents listed at www.term4sale.ca who sell in that province. Your compensation for each automatic referral will be an additional free postal code listing on www.term4sale.ca, for the balance of the current calendar year, and for the full calendar year that follows.

That's a $12 to $23 value; keep reading!

In order to enable the option we will need to modify the control panels of Canadian online quote option subscribers. First, you will have check box (defaulted to no) that will indicate if you want the Term4Sale Referral Program enabled. Second, we will provide you with a list of provinces and you will check off those provinces in which you are licensed to sell life insurance.

If a visitor to your web site attempts to run a quote in a province checked off in your control panel, the quotes will run exactly as they do now. If a visitor to your web site attempts to run a quote from a site that is NOT checked off in your control panel, then a new form/page will appear when they press the "Compare Now" button. The page will say:

The above information, complete with the information that was originally entered into the client entry page, will be emailed to each of the Compulife subscribers in that postal code. A copy of the email will also be sent to Compulife with another copy to the referring site/agent. Each email request will generate a free "postal code" credit for the referring agent, and those credit(s) can be used at the beginning of the month which follows, to the end of the current calendar year plus one more full calendar year (a $12 to $23 value).

So each referral gets you another postal code listing at www.term4sale.ca, with the potential of more requests for insurance in a province in which you sell. If other agents in other provinces participate, it means more actual consumers requests for those listings. If you contemplate the program, you will appreciate that it could easily snowball with participants increasing the volume of business as a result.


Coming Improvements To Term4Sale Listings

NOTE: The following is taken from our U.S. bulletin. The changes described there, will be made to the Canadian web site once they have been implemented successfully on the U.S. site.

We have made good progress on the changes to the zip code lookup system at www.term4sale.com. The first leg of the work is nearing completion. This is the new zip code look up tool which will match zip code requests based upon distance rather than numerical order.

To understand what we are talking about, go to www.term4sale.com and run a quote for the zip code 90210. When you get the quote results click on one of the "Find an Agent" buttons. When you review the list of agents, you will notice that there are already three Compulife subscribers listed in 90210. That will not change.

Next, go back to the home page of www.term4sale.com and run a quote for the zip code 40356 (Compulife's address). The following list is displayed:

40299 Hayes, Utley & Hedgspeth/ Glen Hedgspeth (502) 493-2777 Louisville
40245 Barnes Insurance Agency/ Bill Barnes (502) 245-3473 Louisville
40224 Med Link/ Robert Schwarz (502) 245-1371 Louisville

Notice that that the agents listed are in Louisville which is over 85 miles away from Nicholasville. By contrast Lexington, Kentucky is less than 10 miles away. We have two agents listed in Lexington which do not appear on the above list. The problem is that the current zip code listings for Lexington are 40502 and 40517. Those zip codes are further (numerically) from 40356 than the Louisville zip code numbers.

The first change that we have made (not yet implemented on the site) is that when faced with needing to find nearby numbers, the system will do the lookup based upon the geographic location of the zip code of the visitor then match that visitor with nearby subscribers who are listed in zip codes that are geographically as close as possible. This should give the consumer agents who are much closer than the current system does now. I think it is fair to say that a consumer in Nicholasville will be more inclined to call an agent, if that agent is listed in Lexington (which is nearby) versus Louisville which is over 1 1/2 hours away.

But this creates a new problem for agents trying to figure out in which zip codes to be listed. Because zip codes are not numerically predictable or in order of distance, the agent will need some way of reviewing different zip codes. To that end we will be building a new tool that will let you enter in a zip code, and get a report of nearby zip codes. The new tool will display zip codes that are already occupied by one of more existing subscribers (subscribers will not be identified). You will be able to try different zip codes and have the list regenerated in order of nearest current listings (for the state). With that tool in hand, you will no longer need to ask Jeremiah to review your available zip code options, you can do it yourself.

Once that part of the project is completed, we will move next to modify the agent listings themselves. A new button will be added to the list and will appear between the name and phone number. The button will be called "Contact" and will appear under the title "Email".

If the consumer clicks the contact button next to the agent name an email form will appear much as it does if you push the "Application Request" that now appears next to individual products in the $99 online quote option. If you do not know what we are referring to, go to:

www.termsampler.com

From that page, enter in client data and click the "Compare Now" button. On the results page, next to each product, is a "Request Application" button. If you click on that, fill it in, we will receive that request because this is our SAMPLE site. Providing that you give us your email address, we will forward back to you the email request that we receive from you. That will let you see what it looks like.

NOTE: When the online quotes are added to your web site, "Request Application" emails do not qo to Compulife, they go to you. That is one of the things that you can amend on the control panel for your site. The control panel is set up for you at the same time that you obtain the online quoting option.

We are now planning to add that same type of capability to the "Find An Agent" button. Once again, when this new change is completed, the consumer will be given a list of agents and in that list will be a new column between the agent name and phone number. The new column will be titled "Email" and there will be a "Contact" button next to each agent name.

If the consumer clicks on the "Contact" button, an email form will come up and say:

Below that paragraph the form will then ask for the consumer's name, phone number, email address, best time to be contacted and a note should they wish to pass along any information to you. Following that will appear the "Submit Contact Form" button. When the consumer pushes the button an email with the above information will be sent to the agent at the email address specified in the agent's account with Compulife. We will also provide the agent with the information that the client originally entered into the client entry form - birthdate, sex, face amount, insurance category, etc.

NOTE: We realize that that email address that you use for your Compulife subscription may end up being different than the one that you want these requests to go to and so we will offer you the option of specifying a different email for that purpose. Initially, and unless advised differently, we will use the default email for your subscription.


The New "Buy Now" Button

A further change will also be made to the www.term4sale.com results page. Currently, next to each individual product in the display you will see the same "Find Agent" button which does exactly what the "Find Agent" button at the top of the screen does. This button will be replaced with a new button called "Buy Now". "Buy Now" will take the consumer to a new web page which will be a modified version of the agent listing page. It will state, the following:


Improving Consumer Traffic and Contacts

The objective of these changes is to make it easier for consumers who use www.term4sale.com to connect with subscribers to Compulife. From time to time we hear from subscribers who are very pleased with the business that they have done as a result of www.term4sale.com. We also hear from time to time from subscribers who are unhappy because they believe that they are not doing enough business from their listing.

We believe the new email/contact functions will result in more contacts for agents. Unlike phone calls, we think there will be less consumer resistance to making a contact by email. Some people find it stressful to pick up the phone and call a stranger, an agent just adds to that stress. It will be much easier for the consumer to send their name and phone number and have the agent call them. This way the agent breaks the ice.

Further, you will know that it was your listing at term4sale that produced the contact because the consumer's contact will come by an email generated by www.term4sale.com, whereas a consumer may call you about life insurance and never mention that they got your name from the web site.

Compulife will also be tracking these initial email requests and using the information to determine what volume of calls are being produced by each zip code listing. Earlier in the year we told you of other planned improvements where we indicated that we would begin to offer a system of evaluating zip codes based upon zip code populations. That methodology will now be amended. The future value of a zip codes (for 2012 billing purposes) will be based upon actual email contacts that are generated by that zip code listing.

Further, by tracking the "contact" hits on zip codes, we will be able to provide you with that information later in 2011 - as part of the agent zip code search panel that lets subscribers review zip code listings. Of course zip codes producing more hits than average will cost more to renew for 2012.

All of this additional work will be going on at the same time as the email contact changes are being made.


Compulife Mobile Quotation System

Work has been completed on the U.S. version of the Compulife Mobile Quotation System and the generic version of mobile quotes is no longer available in the U.S.

We expect that December will be taken up with work on the improved Term4Sale project and so our programmers will be unable to implement the web quotes for Canada until the new year. Until then Canadian subscribers are welcome to continue using our generic web quoting options which you will find here:

www.term4sale.ca/blackberry

and

www.term4sale.ca/iphone

Based upon reports from various smart phone users, the blackberry version works best, even on the Apple ipad. The iphone version is better for the iphone, because it does not require you to keep zooming in to read on the screen.

Once the personalized versions of these services are ready, the above links will take you to an application form to enrol for the personalized mobile quotes. That enrollment will be free for any current Compulife subscriber. Non-subscribers, who can current use the above links, will need to subscribe to Compulife in order to continue.


What's Next?

Once our work on the web engines and Mobile Quotation software is complete, we will be turning our attention to some important maintenance work that is needed to the data entry systems. Those programs have not been updated for quite some time, and some need to be converted to take advantage of the newer programming compilers that we have been using for the Windows software that we already distribute to you. Our goal is to make it easier to program future software, which will ensure that we can roll out changes and improvements more efficiently.

Further, having reviewed where we are heading over the next few years, and the changes that we would like to be able to make in the future, we have decided to stop and do a much more extensive overhaul than simply changing our data entry software. We have determine that we would also like to implement a better data storage structure that will make maintenance easier on both a data entry basis, as well as a programming basis.

To achieve our goals in this regard, we will be spending a fair bit of time reviewing our new data storage needs, and then building conversion software that will convert our existing data files into our new data file structure. Once we have done that, we will then introducing new comparison software that does exactly what it does now, but which derives its results from the new data structure. In other words, you will end up with a new program that does exactly what the old program did/does.

Once this first stage is completed, we will have both old program and old data, with new program and new data. Moving forward we will use the old data entry systems to maintain the old version, then converting old data to the new data forms for general distribution.

The next stage is to create the new data entry systems that talk to the new data format. Once we are satisfied that the new data entry system give us everything that we have now, we will then switch to the new data structure alone. We will only do this once we have thoroughly tested the new software to ensure it gives us no problems in maintaining the date. This may take several months. As far as the part you use, by the time we make that transition, you will have been using the new software for several months.

The point of sharing this with you is that the process will be quite lengthy and so from this spring throughout most of 2010, you will not be seeing many changes and improvements to the software that you use, even though the underlying foundation will be going through a massive change. Once the foundation has been reconstructed, and all the tools to work on the foundation have been built, the program will be in a position to make some substantial moves forward.

Think of it as transplant surgery, where you need to keep the patient alive and well, at the same time as you are swapping out the organs.