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Update News for June 2014
Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:
www.term4sale.com hits 3,000,000 comparisons
These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.
Sometime in June www.term4sale.com will hit 3,000,000 visitors. We believe that the occasion warrants a press release.
The following DRAFT PRESS RELEASE speaks for itself, but we would welcome any comments or thoughts you might have before we finalize and release it.
3,000,000 Term Life Insurance Comparisons and Counting
www.term4sale.com is celebrating the 15th year of offering personalized and instant term life insurance comparisons to consumers. The domain name was registered in 1998 and life insurance comparisons were available shortly thereafter.
On January 1, 2002, after it was obvious how popular the site was becoming, a quote counter was added to the www.term4sale.com website. Since that time over 3,000,000 life insurance comparisons have been produced, aproximately 250,000 per year.
Compulife president Bob Barney said, "3,000,000 may not seem like a big number, but you have to keep in mind that life insurance is not a product for which people like to shop. Most people will only buy life insurance a handful of times during their entire lifetime and often do it reluctantly. Most understand why they need it but would rather spend their time and money doing something else."
When asked why so many people use www.term4sale.com Barney said, "There is no other site that allows people to see more companies and term life insurance products than term4sale. The reason is simple, neither Compulife or www.term4sale sell life insurance. Compulife's revenue comes from selling life insurance comparison software to life insurance agents and agencies. Our software has more companies and products because that's what our customers want and life insurance companies do not have to pay to have their products included in Compulife. www.term4sale.com is unbiased and objective, we include all the companies and term life insurance products that are in the software."
Compulife Software was founded in the U.S. in 1987, 5 years after Barney started the Canadian company. Together they serve over 3,000 customers throughout North America. Barney explained, "Many of our customers are insurance agencies who in turn provide comparisons to their agents. As a result, many thousands of agents use our life insurance comparisons each month. In the over quarter century we have been in business, I'd like to know just how much money we have saved consumers who have found a better deal because of those comparisons."
Compulife's current U.S. database of companies includes over 100 U.S. life insurance companies, another 20 in Canada. While the company's software compares more than just term life products, www.term4sale.com sticks to term life insurance. Barney reasons that it's a big enough challenge for many consumers trying to figure out why 20 year term costs more than 10 year term. For that reason he likes to keep the public web site as simple as possible. He reasons that if consumers want to get into more complicated options they are best to contact the agents who subscribe to Compulife, and who are listed at the www.term4sale.com website.
Each agent/agency customer of Compulife is entitled to be listed by zip code at the www.term4sale.com website. Consumers, looking for agents, can get a list of the 3 agents that are closest to their particular zip code. Barney strongly urges consumers to call all three. He told us, "It's important to have agents compete for your business. You're not just shopping for the best product, you are shopping for the best advice and service. Should you buy 10 year term or 20 year term? Should you buy term or whole life? How much life insurance do you need?" Barney believes its best to hear different opinions and work with the agent who makes the most sense.
Barney also thinks its important to make sure that the agents you talk to know that you are shopping. That way they will be more inclined to sharpen their pencils and offer the best products up front, realizing that you might go down the street to do the business. Unfortunately most consumers buy after talking to only one agent, and most agents know that. Barney said, "If your agent knows you're shopping, then your agent will shop. You need to keep the agent on their toes."
As background, www.term4sale.com was never intended to be a major revenue generator for Compulife. The purpose of the site was to add value to a subscription to Compulife. It's intended to be one more benefit that Compulife subscribers have because they subscribe to our software. It is our hope that every agent who subscribes makes a sale or two because of www.term4sale.com.
In the early going we allowed agents to buy additional zip codes to broaden the number of areas in which agents are listed. That number has been rising and so we want to make changes that will tend to make it easier for all subscribers to have a benefit from the software, but to still allow those who want to buy additional zip codes, the ability to do so.
Therefore, the following changes will impact the maximum number of term4sale listings that a subscriber can purchase. The change we will be making for 2015 will impact a minority of our subscribers, those who buy a large number of zip codes. Once again, the purpose in making the change is to try to ensure that more subscribers benefit from the www.term4sale.com listing service.
Buying additional zip codes is a little like buying additional properties on a Monopoly board, or putting your money down on additional spots on a roulette board. However, because the consumer is ALWAYS given 3 agents names, and because we will go to nearby zip codes to fill the list, the total number of listings does impact how many hits any one zip code can expect to receive.
For example, if we had 8,000 zip code listings, you can expect those listings to produce fewer contacts than if we reduced the total number of listings to 6,000. The same volume of consumers would be shared by a smaller group of listings. That impacts the individual agent who has 2 listings (for free) much more than it impacts the agent with 20 listings (2 free, 18 purchased). By reducing the total number of listings, the agent with 2 listings has a greater chance of being connected to a consumer buying a life insurance policy.
Based upon our data for the past few years, we expect on average that you would receive one email contact from a consumer per year, for every 3 zip codes that you have. That does NOT include consumers who simply call you, and we know they do because some call us, at which point we give out phone numbers of the 3 agents.
Our previous "cap" or upper limit of zip codes per subscriber has been 400. That currently represents about 4% of the total listings. That cap will be reduced for 2015 to 100. Before anyone with more than 100 panics, there are ways for the subscriber who still wants 400, to keep 400, it will simply cost more.
First, the upper limit for a "personal use subscription" ($199 per year) will reduce to 100. That's it, that's the limit for a $199 subscription. If you buy 2 personal use licenses (two separate agents) for the partner pricing of $299 for the pair, each agent will have an upper limit of 100. Partner pricing just means a discount on the windows software when bought together. Each of the partners is considered a separate person when it comes to other benefits such as term4sale.com.
Second, the upper limit for a "standard license subscription" ($299 per year) will also reduce to 100, but we will allow 3 more multiples of 100 through the purchase of "standard sub-licenses" at $199 per license after the first license of $299.
If you are an individual agent with 400 listings, and you want to keep those 400 listings, you can buy a standard license, and 3 sub user licenses, for $299+$199+$199+$199 for a total software license fee of $896. That will also permit up to 20 machines in one location.
The good news is that the standard license will still receive 3 FREE zip codes with the subscription, and so the agent who buys the 4 licenses to get 400 listings, will also get a total of 12 free listings. Remember, free listings can BUMP paid listings.
Here's some good news for Personal Use Subscribers. For 2015 we will increase the number of your FREE zip codes from 2 to 3. And as noted, FREE zip codes can bump paid zip codes. For those of you who do not buy zip codes, that's more opportunity for a sale.
And because paid zip codes are $15 per year, that means that a personal use license will include $45 worth of listings for 2015.
The goal in making these changes is to ensure that each and every subscriber to Compulife, has some tangible benefit from the www.term4sale.com website. In a perfect world (from Compulife's point of view), we would not have ANY paid listings. Rather, we would have subscribers in every zip code, ready to assist consumers who use www.term4sale.com
The next change, that we expect to make in 2016, is to grade the price of zip codes by population and income of the area covered by the zip code. Some zip codes will go down in price, some will stay at $15, and some will go up in price. Once again, that is not next year (2015), those are changes we will make in 2016.
We routinely get asked about how updates work, and so we thought this review would be helpful.
There are two basic types of updates to Compulife's software:
2. Mid-Month Updates
Monthly updates are a fresh version of our software which is posted at the beginning of each month. When you get to the beginning of the month, your software is set up to require/need a monthly update, and the update contains a complete new copy of all the files that make up the Compulife program.
Monthly updates hail back to the days when we shipped updates on diskettes. Each month our subscribers got a box is disks, and they used those in place of the previous month's box of disks. They then mailed the box back to us. Once again, that was a monthly routine.
Once a significant number of our subscribers were on the internet, and once internet speeds we sufficient to allow updates by internet, our subscribers had the option of getting monthly updates by disks or internet. Once everyone was on the internet, we ceased shipping disks and all customers get updates by internet.
Midmonth updates are incremental updates. If a product or rate changes during the month, we will post an update that adds only those files necessary to amend our latest monthly update and add the change or new information.
The biggest misconception is that mid-month updates only occur once in the middle of the month. NO, that is not the case. A mid-month update can happen ANYTIME during the course of a month, and we have had as many as 3 different mid-month updates on the same day. We try to turn important changes around as quickly as we receive them.
We have stuck with the monthly update logic simply because it is a nice cut off point for subscription renewals. For example, if you have paid to the end of September 2014, you will be able to use the software right through the entire month of September. What you will not be able to do is get and use the November 2014 edition of the software until you have renewed. Again, the mechanism that controls all that has been in place for years and it's just been too easy to just keep running it. And after all, our biggest update is the monthly update, and it's still only about 12 megabytes of compressed data, which today is the size of one high quality photograph. In a world that uses gigabytes of data, we're the angel that dances on the head of a pin.
Wonder why Compulife is so fast? That's your answer. And if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
We almost had the new company information ready for release in May, but several additional changes/improvements meant we missed our objective. Look for the new feature in one of the first midmonth updates in June.
And then it's on to a new feature that we won't be talking about until we actually introduce it. You will like it, as many have asked for it.