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Update News for August 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.
NOTE for Canadian Subscribers: We have not yet released this new GOWIN.EXE file for our Canadian customers. We thought we would let it settle down on the U.S. side, before exposing our subscribers to the problems from Norton. If you do not use Norton, and would like to try the new Compulife program, you can download it here:
During July we released a midmonth update to our U.S. subscribers with a new version of our Windows program that included important new features. Subscribers who use the Norton anti-virus software discovered that Norton has placed the new GOWIN.EXE program into quarantine. The result was that Compulife disappeared from their computer.
The worst part of it was that Norton did all this WITHOUT ASKING!
IMPORTANT: There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the Compulife program. There are many different virus software products on the market and ONLY Norton is doing this to our software.
To address this, we have created a special bulletin which you will find here:
In the bulletin we quote from a Pegasus (email program) bulletin. They encountered a virtually identical problem with Norton. Here is what they said:
NOTE: You can read the Pegasus Bulletin here
We completely agree with these folks and we agree with the blogger who posted the comment on-line which said that Norton was probably the first "virus" that people paid to get. Of course we would be happy to retract our comments if Norton stops attacking our product.
The newest version of Compulife's Windows software replaces the "Install SD Card" option with a new sub-menu called "Compulife Mobile Quotes".
As we mentioned before, the newest GOWIN.EXE is NOT in the Canadian monthly update. If you would like to have a copy, you can download it here:
For those of you who still have the older Palm and Windows PDA's, the "Install SD Card" option is still in the software under the new "Compulife Mobile Quotes" button/menu.
In addition to that, there are now 3 new options on the "Compulife Mobile Quotes" menu.
The first new option allows you to "Copy Compulife To Flash Drive". A Flash Drive is one of those memory sticks that let you take files from one computer to another. If you don't have one, you should be able to pick one up at your local Walmart or Radio Shack. As of the writing of this bulletin, Walmart is offering a 2gb USB flash drive, with key ring attachment, for $5.84. You can get a 4gb flash drive for $7.99.
You only need 30meg for Compulife, but you may still want the bigger drive so you can load on the family pictures. Those are always handy to have with you when you travel or are visiting friends and family.
After plugging the Flash Drive into the USB port of your computer, you can select the "Copy Compulife To Flash Drive" option from the new Menu. The program will ask which drive contains your Flash Drive. Identify the respective drive and click OK.
NOTE: If you don't know which drive letter your computer assigns to the Flash Drive, then unplug the flash drive and go to "My Computer" or "Computer". That icon should be on the computer desktop or can be found on the Start Menu. When you click on "My Computer" or "Computer" you should see a list of storage devices on your computer, such as the C: drive, D: drive, etc. Plug in the Flash Drive while watching the computer screen. The Flash drive should suddenly appear as a new drive on the list, such as E: drive. If that suddenly appears after you plug in the Flash Drive, you will now know that your flash drive is the E: drive.
Once the Flash Drive has been updated with the files, close the Compulife program. Once the Compulife program closes (there may be a delay while the files are still being transferred to the flash drive), you can remove the flash drive and take it with you.
When you are in front of another computer, or if you are plugging the flash drive back into the same computer, the computer may automatically display the flash drive.
NOTE: If that does not happen, take the flash drive out and go to "My Computer" or "Computer" and display the list of drives on your computer. Now plug the flash drive in. It should appear on the screen.
Also NOTE: Not only will you see the drive letter assigned to the flash drive, it should now be identified with a Compulife "CQS" icon.
When you double click on the Drive/Icon, a list of files and folders will appear. Look for the file "RunCQS.exe". When you find it, double click on "RunCQS". This will start the Compulife program and you can run it from the flash drive just as you do on your own computer.
You can now take Compulife, on the Flash Drive, with you wherever you go. Anywhere you can find a computer, whether it is in your client's home or office, or in your resort, you can plug the flash drive into the computer and run Compulife quotes. You can email the quotes, print the quotes, whatever you want, wherever you want.
Also remember, if you update the Compulife on your computer, you should also update the flash drive. Just repeat the above process of installing to the flash drive. It's fast and it's easy.
For those of you with smart phones, you can obtain a mobile version of Compulife at no additional cost. The Windows program now lets you obtain the link / address for you mobile device by clicking on the third option on the "Compulife Mobile Quotes" menu. The option is called "Compulife Mobile (On Web)".
Click on that option and your Compulife program will direct your computer browswer to the Mobile Quote page.
NOTE: If it does not display your mobile quote page, contact Compulife so that we can set up a mobile account for you.
The final option on the "Compulife Mobile Quotes" menu is the "Mobile Control Panel". This is where you go to select the companies that you want to appear in your Mobile Quotes (on Web).
All in all, with the new options we have given you, we think you now have maximum flexibility in taking your Compulife with you, wherever you go. And please remember, this doesn't mean that you can hand out Compulife to your friends or colleagues. Please pay attention to your license agreement which defines when and how Compulife can be used.
We are now concentrating our efforts into enabling the Compulife Mobile quotes for our Canadian subscribers. The following discusses what the new PDF function does, which has been released for U.S. subscribers, and which is working very well.
During July we sent an email blast to all U.S. subscribers reporting that we have added the ability to email PDF files from the Mobile Quote software. Here is what our U.S. subscribers got:
Here is the Canadian version which you should have already received:
With the completion of the PDF project in the U.S., our efforts are now turning to completing the web quote option for our Canadian subscribers. Our goal is to have that completed during August.
The above referenced email blast also reported to subscribers the results of our DrudgeReport advertising campaign.
To repeat what we said in the email, the results were very disappointing, but not a complete shock.
NOTE to Canadian subscribers: The results were actually better in Canada than they were in the U.S. We suspect it's because fewer people advertise life insurance websites in Canada, than they do in the U.S. Even so, what we are learning in the U.S., we plan to put into play in Canada.
Friendly "nudges" to buy life insurance just don't work. It requires something edgy to disturb people into pursuing anything related to life insurance and that's why I crafted a different advertising approach which you can find here:
The only problem with a more aggressive article/promotion, as you will see at www.4biggestmistakes.com, is that some things are said that seem up upset some agents. I had one agent take great exception with this line from the article:
He went on to explain why his customers thought the world of him and why the life insurance profession is important. He obviously did not think highly of his dentist.
I pointed out that the average person ranked a life insurance agent's popularity somewhere between a politician and a used car salesman. I then went on to say that was the bad news, and that while most people thought politicians were terrible, they probably had a much higher opinion of THEIR own favorite politician.
It is important to remember that the www.4biggestmistakes.com is trying to disturb people into visiting www.term4sale.ca, and when there, to obtain a list of agents from the site. Unless I missed it, that's why agents want to be listed at www.term4sale.ca. They want consumers to contact them so that our subscriber can compete for the consumer's business.
The only other comments we received were suggestions from agents who thought there were other thing that could or should be added in order to better explain life insurance options. Most of the suggestions were useful and certainly valid but I pointed out that we are tying to keep it short and SIMPLE.
Once again, the whole idea is to get the consumer to www.term4sale.ca, which then emphasizes the need to talk to an agent. Once the consumer actually contacts an agent, it is at that point when the agent brings to bear their knowledge of the market and advice. It is the agent who assists the client to find the right insurance, and the right amount of insurance.
www.term4sale.ca is NOT "Agent in a Drum". There is no substitute for the value that the agent brings to the process. For most consumers, becoming self taught about life insurance is never going to happen. Apart from anything else, it's just a boring and dull topic. One of my good friends describes it as a "grudge sale". Consumers don't buy it because they want it, they buy it because they feel they need to.
Anyway, we have already begun promoting the U.S version of www.4biggestmistakes.com through google adwords and bing/yahoo adwords. So far google is proving to be better.
As of the writing of this bulletin, google has run the following ad:
a total of 351,053 times. The total number of clicks to the ad was 345 (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.
The good news is that the average cost per click is .33 cents, making our total cost for the 345 visits $114.86.
Does this make this a better advertising venue than Drudge? I suspect not. I just think it's a more "in your face" message that is prompting the clicks. And I sincerely believe that is what it is going to take.
It is our intention to promote the Canadian version of the article on google.ca during August. The article will also be published on Canadian MoneySaver under Reader Services. The folks at Canadian MoneySaver thought it was quite helpful. I also have three articles coming out in Canadian MoneySaver this fall. Hopefully that will also help bring some attention.
Anyway, we are going to try promoting this some more, and we'll see where our numbers take us. We'll keep you posted next month.
We have come to conclusion that the Quinstreet referral program in the U.S. has been a complete bust. We are not aware of ANY subscribers who have gotten a dime from the company. Let us know if we are wrong.
With that in mind, we are now turning our attention to the development of an internal referral program where agents using our web quote option for their web sites will have the option of re-directing consumers from states that they do not sell in, to www.term4sale.com. As compensation for those re-directs (remember - OPTIONAL ONLY; for states you don't sell in), we will reward the agent with FREE listings at www.term4sale.com.
We actually first discussed this idea with our Canadian subscribers last December. Quinstreet is not doing business in Canada, so we wrestled with what to come up with there. The following is that story from our Canadian December 2010 Bulletin.
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 "More Info" 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:
Thank you for your comparison request. Unfortunately this is for a province in which we do not do currently do business. I have three agents who do sell life insurance in your province, and who use the same life insurance comparison software to locate competitive products for consumers. If you will complete the following I will forward along your request for a life insurance comparison for "name of province".
Your name: [______________________________]
Your email address: [______________________________]
Your phone number: [______________________________]
[CLICK HERE] to request a comparison for "name of province"
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.
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.