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Update News for January 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.
The beginning of a New Year means that we are reaching the end of another. It's always always a good time to reflect back upon the past year. As we here at Compulife look back on 2010 the first thought that comes to mind is "Thank You".
On behalf of all of us here at Compulife, let me extend our sincere appreciation for your business during this past year. For many of you it is actually many thanks for the many years you have done business with us. We could not do what we do without your support. While Compulife is not a charity, we also hope that you aren't a charity either. We like to believe that for every dollar you pay for Compulife that you're earning many more dollars in profit.
We are very excited about 2011 and the new things that we are doing to improve our services for you. We hope to make our product an even greater source of revenue for you, and that together we will enjoy many more years of mutual profitability.
Thank you and Happy New Year.
The following two sections are related to zip codes in the U.S. Compulife will be making similar changes to our Canadian system although we have not found a Canadian postal code database company with the income per household information that we have here in the U.S. We have found the geographical information including a database that lists the number of private homes in the postal code.
Once the U.S. modifications are complete, then we will go to work on the Canadian version of Term4sale. Believe it or not, our Canadian web site is more heavily used per capita than in the U.S. At the time of this bulletin there were 1,816,727 visits to the U.S. version of Term4Sale, while the Canadian site had 423,112 visitors. That is almost a 3 to 1 higher visitor count per capita than the U.S.
By contrast, U.S. zip code listing are about 9 to 1, U.S. versus Canada. This means that Canadian subscribers who are listed at www.term4sale.ca are getting a much bigger bang for their listing bug than U.S. subscribers.
The first stage in the improvements to our agent listings at www.term4sale.com is nearing completion. We believe that this change necessitates your immediate attention as there are some who will need to re-think the zip codes in which they are currently listed. The method and mechanism for looking up zip codes is changing.
IMPORTANT: If you are listed at www.term4sale.com you need to pay close attention to what follows. This is particularly true if you have a number of listings that you pay additional money to purchase.
You snooze; you lose.
NOTE: Subscribers will be able to swap their current zip codes to other zip codes without cost, assuming that the new zip codes they choose are available.
Prior to the change that we are introducing, zip code searches were numeric. If a consumer asks for a list of agents, and there aren't 3 agents already listed in that specific zip code, www.term4sale.com provides a list of agents in nearby zip codes.
In all cases, www.term4sale.com gives the consumer a list of 3 different agents. That logic does not change. What is changing is that instead of the nearby zip codes being looked up based upon "numeric" closeness, the system will be switching over to a "geographical" lookup based upon actual "as the crow flies" distance.
To accomplish this Compulife has purchased a zip code database that gives us the geographic location (longitude and latitude) of every zip code in the United States. The first step in integrating that database with our current system of zip code listings involved integrating the zip codes that we already have listed together with the data from the national file including the longitude and latitude latitude information for those zip codes.
That work is now completed. But before switching over to that new lookup mechanism, we needed to create a tool that allows subscribers to see zip code listings, and shop for zip code listings, where they could see zip codes based upon their distance from each other. The tool we have come up with is called the "Zip Code Analyzer".
Compulife's "Zip Code Analyzer" does a lot more than just help you determine where a zip code is in relationship to another. 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 apparent value than others. In fact we think this will create a sort of land rush.
With that in mind: You snooze; you lose.
The new zip code analyzer can be found by clicking on this link:
Zip Code Analyzer
The following will describe how the new web page / service works.
First, the system gives you the opportunity to enter 3 values:
To learn the system and the logic behind it, let's begin with an example of the zip code that Compulife is located in.
Go to: Zip Code Analyzer
Enter the value of 40356 for the zip code.
Next, leave the default number of subscriber listings at 300. In this case you will not get 300 results because there are much less that 300 term4sale zip code listings in the state of Kentucky.
Next, leave the default number of vacant zip codes set at 10.
Once those values have been entered, click on "Analyze This". Your report will be generated almost instantly.
The first column of information is titled "Subscribers Listed" and is the total number of subscribers who are already listed in that zip code.
NOTE: There are no subscribers actually listed in 40356 and so the number in the first column is 0.
The third column is titled "Distance" and advises you how many miles the zip code is located from the zip code that you entered. In this case, the first zip code is 0 miles away because it is the zip code that you requested. The next zip code is 40340 which is 1 mile away, and so on.
"Distance" is the default sort order of the report. For the purpose of the tutorial, let's not play with other sorting options until further in the tutorial.
The fourth column is called "Zip Code Income - Millions" and the values expressed in this column are millions of dollars of revenue. The value comes from multiplying the value found in the two columns which follow. This column, with the next column, will be VERY, VERY important information that helps you value one zip code listing versus another.
The fifth column is the "Income Per Household" for that zip code and is the average household income per each household in that zip code. The higher the average income per household of one zip code versus another, the more insurance the average person is likely to purchase.
The sixth column is the "Number of Households". Obviously if the average income per households in the zip code is high, but there are only a small number of households, the value of that zip code won't be as high as a zip code with a somewhat smaller income, but many more households.
Back to our example of 40356. You will notice that the zip code with the highest household income is zip code 40059, which an average household income of $98,316.00 (it's 66 miles from the zip code that we are analyzing, which is 40356). However zip code 40059 only has 4350 households.
By comparison look at zip code 41017. It's 80 miles from the zip code that we are analyzing (which is 40356). The household income for that zip code is less at $58,004.00, but the total number of households is three times as much, at 15,494.
That's why column number 4 is the most important zip code information in terms of volume. It shows the zip code income and will find the largest valued combinations of household income and number of households. To make it easier to identify those zip codes, click on the header for the 4th column, which says "Zip Code Income - Millions". The first time you click on it, the column and listings are ordered in smallest zip code income to highest. Click that same header again, and the largest zip code income moves to the top of the list. You will now see that the highest zip code income is for zip code 41017, followed by 41042, followed by 40207, etc.
Once you have identified that, you will then need to determine which of those codes is more important to you, income per household versus number of households.
Of course zip codes that already have 3 people listed in them, will not be available for you to be listed in. For more information about listing rules, keep reading. The rules will be changing for listing priorities, and will be changing again in a year, based upon actual consumer email contacts with subscribers.
Looking over the list of zip codes you will notice that some zip codes have "zero" zip code income. This is because there are "zero" households in the zip code which means that the zip code is most likely a post office box. You would be well advised to avoid post office box zip codes as most consumers, when identifying their zip code to www.term4sale.com, will enter in the zip code where there home is actually located.
Once again, with this important information now in hand we suspect that there will be a lot of subscribers who want to re-shuffle their listings. With that in mind, the next section of the bulletin is a review of the updated rules.
Back to our tutorial. Let's take a closer look at zip code 41017. If you think that is a zip code that might be good for you, then you need to go back to the top of the page and replace 40356 with 41017; click the "Analyze This" button again. This will now reorganize the report with the focus on 41017. You can see what other zip codes surround that zip code.
IMPORTANT: It would make no sense to purchase zip codes next to 41017, such as 41015. The fact that no one is listed in 41015 means that the system will look for people that are listed near 41015. To see that listing, enter in 41015 and click on "Analyze This". You will see that the first zip code with a listed subscriber is 41017. Next is 41042 followed by 40502. Providing that the same subscriber is not listed in more than one of those zip codes, that will be the list given to the consumer. Needless to say, if you want 41015, you are better to actually take 41017.
The next step in the tutorial is to search zip code 60048. We are looking at that zip code because there are already 3 subscribers listed; note that the code is full. But if you are looking to be listed in that area, you will notice zip code 60045 which is about the 6th code on the list. There is only one subscriber in that zip code and it is open for others to be listed.
The following rules also apply to Canada.
There are two different types of Compulife subscriptions:
Personal Use Agent Edition subscribers get two FREE listing at www.term4sale.ca. The first of those listings is a "Home Postal Code" listing and the second listing is free.
Standard Use subscribers get three FREE listing at www.term4sale.ca. The first of those listings is a "Home Postal Code" listing and the other two listings are free.
Home Postal Codes are more important than any other postal code listings. A home postal code is a postal code that you may select from any postal code that is a local phone call from the local telephone number that you list. If a postal code has three people listed in it, and that postal code is one that you want, and if you make that postal code your home postal code, you can bump a person from that listing if it is not their home postal code.
If a 4th subscriber wants to make a postal code his/her home postal code, and the three agents current listed are all using that postal code as their home postal code, then the three who are allowed to be listed will be those who have been Compulife subscribers the longest, regardless of the type of license. New customers cannot bump old customers from home postal codes.
Personal Use edition subscribers and Standard Use subscribers have additional free postal codes which take priority over postal codes that have been purchased (providing that the free listing is placed in a postal code that is a local phone call from the subscriber). If a postal code has three subscribers listed, and one subscriber purchased that listing, then another subscriber using the FREE listing versus the paid listing can have it. If four agents with free listings want the same postal code with that free listing, then the subscribers who have subscribed the longest will win that race. Of course home postal code listings beat free listings.
From there personal use and standard use subscribers can purchase additional postal codes listings for $1 per month (payable for the balance of the calendar year).
Purchased postal codes are on a first come, first serve basis. Once there are three subscribers listed in a postal code, no one else can purchase a listing in that postal code. The maximum number of postal codes that any one subscriber may purchase is 4% of total number of postal code listings of subscribers. This is to ensure that no one subscriber dominates Term4Sale listings.
Once again, postal code listings may be purchased for $12 per year ($1 per month for the balance of the calendar year, payable annually). That pricing will change for 2012.
Listing prices for postal codes will be determined differently for 2012. During 2011 we will be monitoring the number of agent listing requests where a consumer uses the new email mechanism to contact an agent or agents in the system.
At the end of the year, the number of contacts per postal code will be a value added to the postal code database for the postal Code Analyzer, and you will be able to see how many actual requests a postal code produced. The new pricing (yet to be determined) will be based upon the number of actual consumer request (by email).
Once the geographic listing is fully implemented in January, 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:
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.
A further change will also be made to the www.term4sale.ca 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:
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 purchasing 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, as a way to get the best advice and product suitable for your situation. Completing the following form will alert all three by email. 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.ca 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.ca. 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.ca, 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 postal 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 postal codes based upon postal code populations. That methodology will now be amended. The future value of a postal codes (for 2012 billing purposes) will be based upon actual email contacts that are generated by that postal code listing.
Further, by tracking the "contact" hits on postal codes, we will be able to provide you with that information later in 2011 - as part of the agent postal code search panel that lets subscribers review postal code listings. Of course postal 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.
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.