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Update News for December 2011    


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 - Maybe

As we approached Thanksgiving, I began to say to people "Happy Thanksgiving". Most seemed quite happy to receive that greeting and most returned it. But I wonder if we shouldn't abandon that greeting given that it's a not so subtle message that there is a reason to give thanks. Give thanks to "whom" for "what"?

Now any amateur historian will be happy to point out that the Thanksgiving holiday began with a focus on thanking God for the many blessings witnessed at harvest time. It wasn't a "let's remember to thank the farmer for his hard work day", it was farmers (in those days most were farmers or gardeners) remembering to thank God day.

No doubt that is offensive to those who don't believe in God. Given all the controversy over Christmas, and everyone choosing to switch from saying "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holiday", I have to wonder why we don't say "Happy Holiday" at Thanksgiving. After all, it is a statutory holiday and even people who don't believe in God get to take the day off.

But I refuse to give in to the "Happy Holiday" trend. Sorry, I just can't bring myself to do it. If you want to say Happy Holiday instead of Happy Thanksgiving, or Happy Holiday instead of Happy 4th, I think I can be persuaded to go along. But December 25th is Christmas, and as we move into and through the month of December, it had been customary to greet others with "Merry Christmas". I am not changing the custom and I am not having it changed for me.

Of course not everyone is a Christian and so the logic goes that we should say "Happy Holiday" so as not to offend people who aren't Christians. But why should people who aren't Christians be offended? Should you be offended if you are not an American and someone wishes you a Happy 4th?

Personally, when someone sneezes, and someone else says "God Bless You", should I be offended? Why should we invoke the blessings of God because someone sneezed? Now I happen to know the answer to that, and theoretically I should be offended, but how offended am I really? Not enough to make a case out of it and I certain don't go around correcting people every time they do it. But what if the person who sneezed doesn't believe in God? What if someone standing nearby, who hears the "God Bless You", is an atheist? Isn't anyone worried about offending those folks?

Of greater potential offense is the proverbial "Oh My God!" which seems to jump out of many people who are confronted with a big surprise. I hear a lot of that almost every time Ty Pennington shows someone their new house, or the folks from Publishers ClearingHouse show up at the door with the really big cheque. Now that's pretty close to taking the name of God in vain (close, but no cigar), and so the "Oh My God" is not an outburst I like to hear. Of course if you really want to offend someone, try yelling "Thank You Jesus!".

But it's funny (not ha-ha) how we never hear about how offensive it is when those pesky Christians run around saying "Merry Christmas", especially if they do it to their business customers. In response, most businesses have replaced "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holiday".

Now you can't tell me that "Happy Holiday" is not a substitute for "Merry Christmas". On December 26th I don't hear people wishing anyone Happy Holiday as we approach the New Year. It's now "Happy New Year!". Isn't anyone worried that someone from Chinese or Jewish descent will be offended, given that January 1st is not the start of their New Year?

But in the interest of going along to get along, I am not going to wish you "Merry Christmas" in this bulletin. I have been told by some of my customers NOT to mix religion with business and so I have a separate bulletin in which I wish those who choose to read it a Merry Christmas. You can find this years Christmas Greeting here:

It's Not A Gift Unless...

That's right. Not all gifts are really gifts and you will need to read that bulletin to find out which gifts are not gifts. And you will have to read that bulletin if you want me to wish you a Merry Christmas. Otherwise, please ignore the bulletin and forget what I have said. Consider all this my Andy Rooney (RIP) moment.

To Happy Holiday I say "Bah, Humbug", in that other spirit of the season (more Andy Rooney).

Apart from that, enjoy the day off (thanks to the federal government) and make sure you don't eat too much.


Here's A Gift For Internet Quote Subscribers

Compulife has completed work on the "Term4Sale Lead Exchange". This new function allows you to refer your out-of-province visitors (provinces in which you don't sell) to the www.term4sale.ca website. In return for actual leads generated from the transfer, you will receive free postal code listings at www.term4sale.ca, increasing your chances of sales from that site in place you do sell.

In the spirit of gift giving, and as an incentive to turn on the feature, we will give you a free postal code to the end of 2014, for just turning on the new Lead Exchange function. So if you haven't done so, it makes sense to do it now. And if you already have, you need to claim your additional free postal code.

Once again, to get this free additional postal code all you have to do is go to the control panel for your web quotes and activate the Term4Sale Lead Exchange option. Next, check off each province in which you sell life insurance. Each province you check off will quote from your site, and each province you do not check off will send your visitor to www.term4sale.ca.

Once you have activated the lead exchange, send us a link to your control panel, and we'll verify that it's on. If it's on, then you will get a free postal code listing to the end of 2014. Remember, free postal code listings are more important than paid postal code listings. If you don't know why, you need to keep reading.

And here's another incentive (gift) to get you going on this. For a limited time (we haven't decided how long yet), each qualified referral to term4sale will give you a FREE postal code, until 2014. Normally you get a free postal code for 12 to 23 months, but we are adding a bonus of another 12 months. That means your referral will be worth $24 to $36.

So, two potential gifts! A postal code for just activating the feature for at least one province, and an extended period of free listings for each qualified referral generated by your site to www.term4sale.ca.


Term4Sale Paid Listings For 2012

During November we sent out invoices for paid postal code listings. Two things of importance regarding the invoices for those listings:

First, prices have not changed. Postal code listings remain at $12 per year. We had hoped to raise the prices for 2012 for those postal codes which have produced the most contacts. Unfortunately we do not feel the volume of contacts has reached a level where we can warrant any price increase.

Second, if you did not receive ANY contact as a result of postal code listings at www.term4sale.ca, you can apply to have your 2012 invoice cut in half. To qualify you have to read this and contact us. If you contact us we will check the Term4Sale request history, to see if you received any emails as a result of your listings. If you received NO email requests, your invoice will be cut in half, no matter how many postal codes you are renewing.

IMPORTANT: This is the only place you will be told about this rebate. If you decide, because you did not think you received enough consumer contact, to not renew your paid listings, or to reduce the number, we will not tell you that there is the potential to cut your invoice in half. You will only learn of it by reading this bulletin.

And remember, if you reduce or cancel your paid postal codes listings, it increases the number of potential contacts that other subscribers will receive. Ultimately our goal is that every Compulife subscriber receives business as a result of their subscription to Compulife which includes FREE listings to www.term4sale.ca. Primarily this is a value added benefit intended to reward all our customers.


Term4Sale Lead Exchange

We have now introduced the new referral program that works in conjunction with Compulife's own www.term4sale.ca web site.

You can read the complete details for the new program here:

Term4Sale Lead Exchange

If you would like to see what it looks like, you can go here:

www.termsample.com

Once you are on the sample quote page, go to the quote box in the bottom left hand corner, and select the province of Saskatchewan and click the "Compare Now" button to run a quote. When you click the compare now button you will be asked to enter the postal code that you are looking at. For this example, enter the postal code: S7S

You will now see the referral page. If the consumer fills in that page, and submits it for the agent contact and to do a quote, an email is sent to the 3 agents who are listed. Another email is sent to the referring agent and the referring agent/site will be alerted that they have received a free postal code listing at www.term4sale.ca.

Once again, you can read all about this at:

Term4Sale Lead Exchange

In summary, you get to offload leads for areas you don't sell, in exchange for more FREE postal code listings at Term4Sale, for areas in which you do sell.

REMINDER: FREE postal codes are worth more than postal codes that you buy. You can read more about that here:

Term4Sale Lead Exchange


Term4Sale Professional Referral Program

Our newest idea and next project to promote www.term4sale.ca will be introduced in early 2012. It will be called the "Term4Sale - Professional Referral Program".

This new referral program will allow financial professionals, who do NOT sell life insurance, the opportunity to refer their website visitors to www.term4sale.ca. In return we will pay a $20 referral fee.

The financial professionals who sign up will be given a client entry box, not unlike the one provided to our subscribers. This one will have the Term4Sale logo on top, and will require that the consumer enter their name, phone number and email address in order to do the quote. It will also explain that their quote request information will be sent to 3 Compulife subscribers who will contact them in order to compete for their business.

You can get a glimpse of what the box will look like by visiting the new "draft" home page for Term4Sale, which you can see by clicking here. The Canadian version of this page will be similiar, but a different background colour.

We are redesigning the web site to ensure that term quotes are the more obvious primary function of the site. We would be happy to receive any comments about the new look that we are giving to The new www.term4sale.com, and the new programs we are implementing to promote the site. Send your email to service@compulife.com.


Term4Sale Advertising Campaign

During September the counter on term4sale.com hit the 2 million mark and continues to climb.

Also during September we continued with Google, Bing and Yahoo adword campaigns to promote the new site:

www.4biggestmistakes.com

As of the writing of this bulletin, and since we began in late July, Google has run the following ad:

a total of 4,741,296 times. The total number of clicks to the ad was 6,169 (not clicks to www.term4sale.com; but we suspect a number went on to term4sale. At some point we will build in a counter mechanism to get the numbers for that.

Cost per click has been climbing, but the good news is that the average cost per click has been .63 cents, making our total cost for the 6,169 visits $3,891.90.

Bing/Yahoo continues to be a better deal. We have run the same ad at Bing/Yahoo a total of 24,153,030 times. The total number of clicks to the ad was 59,680.

The cost per click for Bing has been much lower. The average cost per click is .07. Total cost of the compaign to date, based upon the average cost of .07 per click, has been $4,347.99.

As we reported before, and given these results, we will continue to run these advertising programs.

Suggestions as to other strategies for driving traffic would be welcome. We have had discussion with SEO [Search Engine Optimization] outfits, but we are being cautioned by others that some SEO strategies can actually hurt a site's rankings, rather than help it. Next year, as we anticipate some of our new product offering work quiets down, we hope to have Jeremiah spend some time learning more about SEO strategies. There is an important SEO conference in Las Vegas each year, and we will try to have Jeremiah attend next year.


Domain Names For Sale

The following are tips for choosing a good domain name:

Good domain names are short and sweet, easy to spell and remember.

You should avoid domain names with suffixes other than .com. When you say "something something DOT com", people know that that is a web address. By contrast, when you say "something something DOT info" many people will think or ask "DOT info DOT com?" DOT com is much less confusing.

Avoid short forms for words. If you do use a short form, as we do for "Term4Sale" (registered trademark), also register the domain name that is the long form of the short form. For example, if you enter in www.termforsale.com it goes to www.term4sale.com.

Avoid dashes like the plague. In most cases people who have registered domain names with dashes are doing so because the domain name that they really want is being used by someone else. If you use dashes to distinguish your domain name from the name that you really would have liked to have had, then all that will happen is most of your customers will end up at the other web site; not good.

Your domain name is important. Once you build up traffic and recognition for a domain name it is a bad idea to change it, even if you suddenly realize the old one was not a good one.

With those basic principles in mind, Compulife has spent time searching for available short domain names and we have been buying up recently abandoned domain names that we think are good. A number of the domain names that we have registered are for sale.

To get a list of current domain names for sale click this link:

Domain Names FOR SALE

The prices listed are a one time fee to Compulife which currently owns the domain names (except for those otherwise listed, which are for sale by third parties; compare prices!). The price includes the balance of the current one year registration of the domain name. Typical renewal costs are $12 per year for .com domain names.

Once you have a domain name then we can set a quoting site up for you. You can get your hosting at GoDaddy or other low cost IP's for about $60 per year. Once you setup your web site account, we can put your quoting page on your site at no charge.

The annual cost of the Compulife quote service for your web site is only $99 per year. The good news is that you can get the first 4 months for free by applying here:

Website Quotes Application

To date we have about 400 of these out there and the numbers are growing. Remember, the first 4 months are FREE.

Call us and we will be happy to discuss it further.


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 determined 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.

To summarize, the current Compulife program is called "GOWIN.EXE". The new program, when it is ready for you to use, will be called "CQS.EXE". The objective is to have CQS.EXE do exactly what GOWIN.EXE does, and only after that has been thoroughly test, and we are certain we can maintain the new data structure directly, without the need for data conversion, will we move over to the new system. Until that happens, you will have both programs in your system. This is no different a transition strategy than when we took our DOS software to Windows. Those who have been subscribers for years, will remember that transition and how relatively smooth it was.

The point of sharing this with you is that the process will be quite lengthy and so from this spring throughout most of 2011, 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.