for July 2017
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
Keep An Eye Out For Postal Codes
In April we ended our longstanding policy of providing 3 local postal codes FREE with a subscription. Those local postal codes now cost $12 each per year (still a 50% cost saving over buying additional postal codes).
The decision is having the desired effect. About 1/2 of subscribers are dropping postal codes on renewal, simply as they did not participate and were ignoring consumer email contacts or not realizing why they got that phone call from nowhere. Those who do participate are happy to pay for those local postal codes.
What this means is that postal codes that were previously taken are now coming back into the market on a month by month basis and that will continue to happen month by month over the next year. It would be a good idea to check every month or two to see if a great postal code in your area, previously locked up as someone else's local postal code, has become available. You can monitor that here:
Postal Code Analyzer
Antivirus Products -
Our Biggest Support Headache
The antivirus industry likes to talk about some of their mistakes as "false positives". Now you may think that an antivirus mistake would be letting in a virus and not catching it but I suspect that there are many more of these "false positive" mistakes that tend to make peoples' lives miserable. They certainly make our life miserable.
What is a "false positive". Let's have one of the biggest antivirus product/companies explain it for you:
Click Here to read:
My Norton product incorrectly alerts that a file is infected,
or a program or website is suspicious
"A false positive occurs when your Norton product incorrectly alerts that a file is infected, or a program or website is suspicious. Common indicators of a false positive are:
- Your Norton product alerts that a file or program developed and created by you or a legitimate company is suspicious, or is a threat
- Your Norton product indicates that a legitimate website is malicious
- Your Norton product blocks downloading a file as suspicious"
Stop and think about this for a moment, are they detecting viruses, or are you?
I rely upon this as prima facie evidence that most antivirus software today operates with the assumption that software is guilty until proven innocent.
If you are a large software manufacturer, with million of people using your software programs, then antivirus companies make sure to avoid warning consumers that you have a virus because that becomes an enormous embarrassment for the antivirus company. Has that happened anyway? Oh yes it has, have a look:
Popular Antivirus Program Mistakenly IDs Windows as a Threat, Creating Chaos
But this was story was even more amusing:
Panda antivirus labels itself as malware, then borks EVERYTHING
Now imagine that you are a niche software company like Compulife, which serves a mere few thousand customers. If you are an antivirus company, and you give that software a "false positive", does anyone care?
The problems with modern antivirus products are not unknown. Here are a few more articles that you may want to consider on the subject:
False Positives Sink Antivirus Ratings
No one antivirus product is free of these issues.
Antivirus Aggravation: False Positive Detection Delivers Negative Outcome for Windows Users
Translation: Antivirus products can be a pain in the butt.
And just so you know we are not alone in our sense of frustration with this:
Why Anti-virus Software Sucks
This article offers some advice about how to deal with the situation:
Exclude Files from Norton Antivirus Scans - Ignore False Positives With File and Folder Exclusions
The problem with the "exclude" advice, where basically you use a function in the antivirus software to identify some files or folders as "off limits" to the antivirus software, is that most customers don't know how to do it. And because each antivirus product has its own way of doing it, and because the antivirus companies frequently change how that is done, we simply cannot keep up with how they all work. We are here to answer questions about our software, not some other software that has managed to intrude on the function of our software. And frankly, it shouldn't be our responsibility. You decided to put the antivirus software on your computer, don't you think you should learn how to make it work?
But our biggest problem is the customer who places more faith in their antivirus program than our assurance that there is no problem in the Compulife product. Paranoid that our software may be infecting their computer the customer tends to believe the antivirus product versus a live human being from Compulife telling them the problem is not in our software. And that's before our customer has even tried to talk to the antivirus support people (usually located in a foreign land).
So What Is The Point I Am Making?
First, I am not saying you shouldn't have antivirus protection.
I have antivirus software on my computer. I use the free version of AVAST which you can get here:
Avast also sells a version that they call Avast for Business; YOU DON'T NEED IT. The Avast free software is how Avast prospects for purchasers of its pay-to-play product. On a side note, our term4sale website is use by a lot of agents to get free quotes. Those agents are too cheap to buy our much more powerful agent PC software. But after a while, it does dawn on some of the smarter agents that maybe being listed at term4sale could lead to a sale, and that could be profitable. And after they try our program, they find a lot of good stuff that we don't give away from free.
But in the final analysis all that most of our customers want from antivirus software is to keep their computer from getting a virus. In that regard the free version of Avast works just fine. While it isn't perfect, none of them are.
And the free product serves Avast well by increasing the number of canaries that Avast has in the coal mines, helping them detect new threats faster. Your use of their product helps Avast, they learn from it. In a similar way, from time to time someone using term4sale reports a legitimate issue to us which leads to an update that benefits our paying customers. Avast is benefiting from a very similar strategy.
All this to say that the FREE version of Avast is all you need.
Do I think Avast is perfect? Far from it. But Avast is easy to work with and temporarily turn off. Even I have to do that from time to time when I use some of the software tools that I have. But unlike some virus products, this one does not clobber Compulife's software without warning (at least not yet) and I know how to get around it. And if you do have a problem, and you are using Avast, then it is easier to help you because I know how it works.
So Avast is not perfect (once again, none of them are) but it's free and if you get stuck with Compulife and are using Avast we can help you.
To summarize, the most important thing is PLEASE do not place absolute faith in these antivirus products. When you call with what turns out to be an antivirus product that has attacked Compulife, and we tell you it's OK to run our software, or that there is no virus in our software, please cut us some slack and give us the benefit of the doubt. It's frustrating when some customers consider us guilty until proven innocent just because their antivirus product pops off on our software.