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Update News for February 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.
During January we spent a significant amount of time restructuring the product categories for joint life. These categories now more closely parallel the categories for single life. We have also expanded the categories to allow the addition of more UL/Term to 100 variations. With the categories in place, we will be working in the next few months to add more UL products to those joint life categories.
If you don't have a web site, then this is a great opportunity to get one started. The first thing you need is a domain name. Good domain names are short and sweet, easy to spell and remember.
Avoid domain names with suffixes other than .com. When you say "something something DOT com", people know 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.
Canadians have the added benefit of the .ca domain name. Having said that, I personally would prefer to have the same domain name in both .com and .ca. For example, www.term4sale.com takes a consumer to the U.S. version of our public web comparisons, whereas www.term4sale.ca take a consumer to the Canadian version. Even so, the consumer is given the option, at www.term4sale.com, to go to the Canadian site. If you had a Canadian .ca domain name that was the same as a .com name your don't own, you risk some consumers ending up at the other site.
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 like to have 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.
Compulife's "Zip Code Analyzer" is finished and working great.
The zip code analyzer can be found by clicking on this link:
Zip Code Analyzer
We realize the zip code lookup tool is of very little use to Canadian subscribers, other than to show them how the Canadian version will act and perform when it is completed. Everything will be the same except that postal codes will be used instead of zip code.
We will first complete all the changes that we are discussing here for the U.S. version, and once those are tested and working fine, adapt those changes for www.term4sale.ca.
Subscribers who have used this new tool have had nice things to say about it. The Zip Code Analyzer provides you with important information about the relative value of one zip code over another. We think that with this new information a lot of subscribers are going to want to grab available zip codes that have more obvious value than others. In fact we think this will create a sort of land rush.
With that in mind: You snooze; you lose.
The Analyzer gives you the opportunity to enter 3 values:
In last month's bulletin we provided you with a TUTORIAL/EXAMPLE to teach you how to use the zip code analyzer. That is now available on the actual site and you can check it out by clicking on the following link:
We have also published the rules for being listed on the Zip Code Analyzer. For a complete review of the rules you can click here:
Zip Code Listing Rules
Listing prices for zip codes will be determined differently for 2012. During 2011 we will be monitoring the actual number of email-to-agent listing requests where a consumer uses the new email mechanism to contact an agent or agents at the www.term4sale.com.
At the end of the year, the number of email contacts per zip code will be a new column added to the zip code database for the Zip Code Analyzer. You will be able to see how many actual requests a particular zip code produced. The new pricing (yet to be determined) will be based upon the number of actual consumer requests (by email).
With the completion of Compulife's new Zip Code Analyzer, we have now turned out attention to integrating the new geographic lookup into our web site. You can monitor progress on the new system at:
NOTE: This is a work in progress and is by no means finished. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions or questions are welcome.
Go to www.termterm.com, enter in your zip code, and run a quote. Click on the "Find An Agent" button to follow the changes that we are making. When it is ready you will be able to test the email function. You will be able to confirm that you are getting emails from the site OK.
For example, you will want to make sure that these emails are not going to your spam folder. We are running into more and more examples of service/support emails that we send to subscribers, ending up in spam folders. The call comes in, "I didn't get the email you usually send out." We respond, "Check your spam folder.". The subscriber finds it there then asks, "Why did it go in there?". Good question, it's your email and your spam folder. The fact is that many virus/adware/spam software programs are throwing the baby out with the bath water. You still have to tell this stuff what's good and not good, and when it is in doubt, it will consider it NOT good.
For more information about the new email function, read the following section titled, "Term4Sale - Email Contact".
Only after the testing is complete, and the new functions are moved over to www.term4sale.com, will we begin to officially tabulate email requests for 2012 pricing data.
One of the things that we have finished is the ability to store a separate/different email address for your www.term4sale.com listing versus the email that we have on your account for administration purposes. If you need to use a different email for www.term4sale.com, please advise us by sending the information about that change to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the new look up system is doing everything the way we want it, we will then move the changes to www.term4sale.com and go live.
On a side note, do you like that domain name "termterm.com"? Personally, I really like it. If I was starting from scratch, and could have had that instead of term4sale, I think I would have gone for "TermTerm"; it's a great domain name.
I bagged it recently and the staff think we should hang on to it. I have decided to add it to the list of domain names that we have for sale for sale. It's not cheap, but it's a good one.
IMPORTANT: The first $995 buys termterm.com.
Once the geographic listing is fully completed we will move to modify the agent listings themselves. A new button has been added to the agent listings and it appears between the name and phone number. The button is called "contact" and appears under the title "Email". You can see that at www.termterm.com by doing a comparison and clicking on "Find An Agent".
Note, the old web site link button is gone. If there is a link to the agent's web site, we have indicated it by making the agent name itself a link.
If the consumer clicks on the "contact" button an email form comes up and says:
Below that paragraph the form will then ask for the consumer's name, email address, phone number, 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.
One More Time: 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. If you need to use a different email for www.term4sale.com, please advise us by email. You can send your request to email@example.com.
NOTE: Previously we were going to call this the "Buy Now" button but in keeping with the fact that www.term4sale.com does not sell life insurance, we think the "More Info" name for the button will be more appropriate.
The "More Info" button will be part of a change made to the www.term4sale.com results page. Currently, next to each individual product in the display you will see the same "Find an agent" button which does exactly what the "Find an agent" button at the top of the screen does. The button next to each product in the comparison will be replaced with the new button called "More Info". "More Info" 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:
IMPORTANT: Neither Term4Sale, Inc. or it's parent company Compulife Software, Inc. sell life insurance. Compulife provides life insurance comparison software to thousands of life insurance agents throughout the United States and Canada.
You have expressed an interest in the following life insurance policy:
NOTE: Not all agents sell for all companies. With that in mind we recommend that you complete the following email form. After you submit the request, an email will be sent to the following 3 Compulife subscribers:
Each of the above subscribers will be invited to contact you if they offer the company/product that you have selected, or if they can advise you of which comparable product(s) they do offer that would be a competitive substitute.
If you prefer to contact agents individually, feel free to call them or use the email contact button next to each agent's name which appears on the above list.
We recommend that you let agents compete for your business. We believe this is the best way to obtain the best advice and product suitable for your situation. Completing the following form will alert all three that you are shopping for a life insurance policy. We would also invite you read the important information that follows this Contact Form, which will assist you in picking the right agent/product:
IMPORTANT: The agents listed at this web site are NOT employees of Compulife Software, Inc. - they are subscribers to our life insurance comparison software. While we cannot and do not control their business practices, they have been forewarned to be polite, courteous and helpful in serving you. If you experience any difficulties in dealing with agents listed on this site, we appreciate hearing from you immediately. Please email any comments you have to Compulife President Robert L. (Bob) Barney at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call Bob at (888) 798-3488.
Following this will be the same information that now follows the list of agents in the "Find Agent" webpage...
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 that 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. If the stranger is a life insurance agent that 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. 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.
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.
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.