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Update News for June 2011
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
Le Spécimen français de Langue Contracte
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
With the completion and implementation of the new postal code look up system for the Canadian side of Term4Sale, and the ability for Canadian consumers to now contact Compulife subscribers in Canada by email, we are now moving forward with some advertising campaigns to draw more attention to the Term4Sale website.
We announced the advertising campaign to our Canadian and U.S. subscribers by email in the second last week of May. If you didn't see that email, here it is:
That email invited our subscribers to vote on which of the two ad series they thought would look better. If you didn't vote, you can still let us know what you think by going here:
To date we have had over 300 subscribers express their opinion on the ads. The overwhelming favorite was "Series 1" that features the photograph of a family. Our sincere thanks to everyone who voted. Series 1 is the ad series that we will be using.
The reason that we want to move forward with the ad campaign is that we now have a much better way to measure response. As we have in the past, we can still see daily counts of visits. More important, we can now see exactly how many and what kind of agent requests that consumers are making. This will give us a chance to measure the impact that various forms of promotion create.
Getting lots of visitors is great, providing some of those visitors actually contact subscribers to buy insurance. To try to improve that I recently amended our quote results page with a new second paragraph that says:
I think that the letter displayed when you Click Here is self explanatory. I hope that the letter, together with the ability for consumers to easily contact you by email, improves the number of consumer contacts that subscribers receive as a result of being listed on our site.
Note that the advertising email talked about 250,000 impressions. As I really didn't know what an impression was when we began this process, I thought we should try to explain.
When a web page is displayed, the advertising industry calls it an impression. If you leave the page and return, the return counts as a second impression. If you are sitting on the page and hit the refresh button, that's another impression.
You will notice on sites that carry a lot of advertising that if you re-display their page, the ads can/may change. That's the concept of buying ad impressions. If you buy 250,000 impressions then your message will display 250,000 times. It may be for a very short period, it may be longer. In fact some web sites will auto refresh. Even if you leave your browser parked on a page it may generate numerous impressions all by itself.
The Canadian order for 250,000 impressions is actually a piggyback order on the 750,000 impressions that we purchased for the U.S. company. We purchased the 1,000,000 impressions to get the best rate per thousand possible, and we are sharing the discount with the Canadian company. We intend to use those 1,000,000 impressions on the DrudgeReport, during that same 24 hour period.
To give you some idea of the volumes, in the United States the DrudgeReport generates about 30 million impressions per day (from about 1.5 million unique visitors). During the day that our ad will run, 750,000 of the 30,000,000 page displays will contain our ad.
We do not know the number of visitors to Drudge from Canada, but you can see that on just the basis of population difference, the Canadian ad displays will be more frequent as a total number of impressions during the day. We want to see what difference that makes in response volume. We also want to give the Canadian side a little more of a kick as we will likely run a second 1,000,000 order for the U.S. side, at a different time.
Some have asked, "Why Drudge?". It's my favorite site for breaking news and it's a favorite for others who like to dig into the news. Drudge visitors are internet-savy people trying to get to the bottom of things. We think that they are exactly the type of people who will want to run their own life insurance comparisons. While our target audience is primarily consumers, we also know that the media watches the Drudge Report very closely and it's a back door way for us to do a press release. The best traffic that we get to Term4Sale comes when the media refers to it in the stories that they do. Here are a couple of recent examples:
Will these ads be successful? We don't know. The only way that we can know if the Drudge Report ads will work is to give them a try. Of course the ad sales people claim they will be wildly successful, but then that's what they always say. Life insurance is a tough product to retail and so expectations must always be somewhere between realistic and pessimistic. Having said that, we certainly hope the ads are wildly successful and that you folks sell a lot of business as a result. That is the whole idea. If that happens we would like to raise the cost of listings at Term4Sale, which would give us more money to do more advertising, and grow this whole project like a snow ball. We'll have more to tell you next month.
As noted earlier, the work to convert to the new geographical postal code system for the Canadian part of Term4Sale is now complete and it is now live.
NOTE: ALL Canadian Compulife subscribers are entitled to at least two FREE postal code listings at www.term4sale.ca. Personal use subscribers get two, and agency subscribers get 3. If you are not using those listings, you might want to read some of these testimonials:
You can check the availability of Postal Codes by visiting: www.term4sale.ca/pc
We are now turning our attention back to the "Mobile Quote" option for Canadian subscribers. This will allow you to have personalized quote systems for your mobile devices such as smart phones, smart pads, etc. Our versions of software for these devices are all web based, and they are a FREE "add on" for existing subscribers.
The current service for subscribers is generic. You will find it here:
NOTE: Both links do the same thing. Use the one that displays better for your device.
The difference between the generic version, and the personalized version that is coming, is that the personalized version will have more features, and we are working to add even more features. The first important personalization is your ability to modify which companies appear in your quotes. We know that no agent sells all companies and that they need the ability to quote and compare the companies they do sell in a point of sale environment. That feature is in the coming web version.
Before we create the personalized mobile quotes for Canadian subscribers, there are two new features that we are working on adding. As soon as these are completed, tested and released in the U.S. market, we will implement the entire project for Canadian subscribers.
The first of these new features will allow you to select products that will appear in your spreadsheet. The current spreadsheet function only permits the display of the top 6 results, or the top results of two or three categories in a multi-category comparison.
The second feature will be the ability to email a PDF file copy of the quote. Currently, when subscribers attempt to email a link to the page they display, the link will not work for the recipient. The reason for that is that that quote pages are dynamic, not static. In order to email it, you would have to capture the page as it appears on your display. It's possible to do that by copying and pasting it into some kind of word processor, then saving the file and attaching that to an email. Most subscribers find that too complicated and so we are working on another solution. The new feature will permit you to click a button, enter the email address of the intended recipient, and the page will be sent as an attached PDF file.
As a side note, neither of these features will be in the web quote version of our software. These are features which have little use for consumers, they are features that would be useful for agents. Our problem with enabling features like this, in software available for free on the internet, is that it leaves an agent with less reason to actually buy Compulife. After all, if you could get a version of Compulife on the web, that did all the important stuff our Windows program does, why would you buy Compulife? And if agents don't buy Compulife, how do we generate money from the work that we do? So the web quote software that we provide, that allows agents and agencies to give free quotes on the web, must by necessity be very simple with the consumer as the primary target. This doesn't mean free comparisons aren't of value to agents, it just means we are reserving our best tools and features for paying customers.
We hope that subscribers have noticed that we have been making substantial progress in the addition of companies and products to our joint life U/L quotes. We think that we now have most of the players and if you haven't checked it out, please do so. If there is a company that you sell for, and know they have joint life U/L quotes, and they are not in the system, please send us an email drawing that to our attention. We will forward your email to the Head Office and underline that we are eager to have the quotes in Compulife.
It should be noted that agents and agencies can be much more successful in pressuring life companies to have their quotes in Compulife. Because Compulife does not sell life insurance, companies don't give the same weight to our views that they give to agents who actually sell their products.
For example, we have a couple of companies that seem to think that not having their CI products in Compulife doesn't matter. The excuse that they have given to us is that their products offer better benefits, and they don't want those products price compared to contracts with inferior benefits. We also stress that that is the reason for the sample/specimen contracts that we include in the software.
Our argument can fall on deaf ears because it's more of an excuse than an objection. But if the companies hear from their agents/brokers, that they want to see the company's products in Compulife, then that brings serious pressure to bear. So, if you need a company or product in Compulife that is not in Compulife, please get involved. We will be happy to reward you with coupon/discounts if you are the first to do so.
In May we added AXA Life Critical Illness quotes to Compulife. The company provided us with both English and French language specimen policy contracts. As they were not the first to do so, we have now changed the software for French language customers.
First, you must check off "French on Printouts", which is the last option on the Red Menu option list. After you do so, when you click on "Sample" to obtain a CI specimen policy, that will display the French language version (if available). If it is not available, then the English language version will display.
We admit that our capabilities in the French language are greatly limited. Our staff do not speak French and translations are difficult. Even so, we have found a very useful web based tool that we use for email communication:
As long as the English sentences are short and simple, they will translate to French so that the reader can understand them. We know the grammar can be bad. When we receive French language emails, the site does a good job of switching them to English. Once again, the grammar is not great but we get a sense of the problem or issue.
The problem is much greater for industry specific language. Translation of life insurance industry terminology is more difficult. We tend to rely upon the advice of agents who speak both English and French. Even that is a problem because different agents will give us different opinions. We do not know who is correct.
The most recent translation has been to our web quote option, which you can see here:
This is the version of Compulife you can add to your website for only $99 per year. You can obtain the first 4 months for FREE if you have not done that before.
Despite our limitations, we are making efforts to ensure that French speaking customers are able to produce quotes in French.
NOTE: The above, as it appears in English, was translated in to the following French using Free Translation:
Au mois de mai nous avons ajouté la Vie d'AXA les citations de Maladie Critiques à Compulife. L'entreprise nous a fournis avec les contrats de politique de spécimen de langue anglais et français. Comme ils n'étaient pas le premier faire alors, nous avons changé maintenant le logiciel pour les clients de langue français.
Premièrement, vous devez cocher « le français sur Impressions », qui est la dernière option sur la liste d'option de menu Rouge. Après que vous faites alors, quand vous cliquez sur « Echantillon » pour obtenir une politique de spécimen de CI, qui affichera la version de langue française (si disponible). Si ce n'être pas disponible, alors la version anglaise de langue affichera.
Nous admettons que nos capacités dans la langue française sont fort limitées. Notre personnel ne parle pas français et les traductions sont difficiles. Même alors, nous avons trouvé une toile un très utile outil basé que nous utilisons pour la communication d'e-mail :
Pourvu que les phrases anglaises sont courtes et simples, ils traduiront à français pour que le lecteur peut les comprendre. Nous savons que la grammaire peut être mauvaise. Quand nous recevons les e-mails français de langue, le site fait du bon travail de commutation les à l'anglais. De nouveau, la grammaire n'est pas grande mais nous obtenons un sens du problème ou du problème.
Le problème est beaucoup plus grand pour l'industrie langue spécifique. La traduction de terminologie d'industrie d'assurance-vie est plus difficile. Nous avons tendance à compter sur le conseil d'agents qui parlent anglais et français. Même cela est un problème parce que les agents différents nous donneront des opinions différentes. Nous ne savons pas qui est correct.
La traduction la plus récente a été à notre option de citation Web, que vous pouvez voir ici :
Ceci est la version de Compulife que vous pouvez ajouter à votre site Web pour seulement $99 par an. Vous pouvez obtenir les 4 premiers mois gratis si vous n'avez pas fait cela avant.
Malgré nos limitations, nous faisons des efforts pour garantir que français qui parle des clients peut produire des citations en français.
A week does not go by without a call from a subscriber wondering what to do about setting up a website. The first question I ask is if the subscriber has a domain name. Most do not. The discussion usually rolls around to what makes 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:
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:
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.
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.