for March 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
Term4Sale Work Completed
During February Jeremiah completed his work on wrapping up all the responsive page changes to www.term4sale.com. While the main quoting pages had been completed earlier, a number of the support pages on the menu were still in the old style. Those were a lower priority to get wrapped up but still needed to be finished; it's all done now.
Personally I think Jeremiah has done a great job. His skills as a web developer have certainly accelerated during the decade that he has been on the Compulife team, and he has a great eye for look and feel. I think we have a great consumer site for the next few years and we hope you agree.
Jeremiah's work also demonstrates that using our engine any creative and competent person can construct just about any interface around that engine that adds the look, feel and functionality that they want. Jeremiah has demonstrated the masterful job that our programmer Chris has been doing since he first built the internet engine almost 20 years ago. None of the changes that Jeremiah made required any modifications to the Internet Engine. Other Compulife customers, who you don't even realize are customers, are using that engine to power their web applications. The engine is the program that actually does the quoting but lies beneath the surface - you don't see it you just see what it has done.
Our programmer Chris, who has now been with us for over a quarter of a century, is the man behind the curtain. His talents are not so obvious until you think about how fast and dependable our software really is.
I rarely talk about Chris by name because only a small group of our customers have ever had the opportunity to talk to him. Some of our internet engine customers know him because there are times we involve him with issues/problems that they have. But for the most part we don't want our average customers interrupting his important work.
Jeremiah is our point person for technical support issues and the overflow then comes to me (Bob). If we think that there is an issue that Chris needs to be involved with, we make the decision to involve him. So if you want to talk to Chris you can buy an internet engine and have an actual problem that Jeremiah can't handle (sorry, that's rare). At that point you might get to communicate with Chris. Otherwise he's in the kitchen, wearing the tall white hat, creating the next entree to be added to the menu.
With the completion of the U.S. www.term4sale.com, Jeremiah was able to make short work the Canadian version at www.term4sale.ca. That is now finished as well.
IMPORTANT Price Change News
It is now on to the price changes which I have been warning you about over the past year. We have been holding off on that change simply because Jeremiah has had his proverbial plate full with the updates we have been making to web quote option, the mobile edition of Compulife that we call "Compulife Basic, and the changes to www.term4sale.com. Oh yeah, he's been busy.
With the wrapup of that work, Jeremiah is now free to make the changes that we need to our Compulife pricing and I have now finalized precisely what that change will be. There is good news, and there is bad news.
First, the good news. There is no change in software pricing.
Now the bad news. A subscription to the Windows PC version of Compulife will no longer come with ANY free local zip code listings, it comes with the right to purchase local zip code listings.
That bad news is NOT bad news for agents who don't care about term4sale listings. If you have been buying Compulife to have access to the least expensive, fastest, easiest and most exhaustive source of life insurance product information in the market, then you can keep on paying what you have been paying; NO CHANGE.
If you value the www.term4sale.com zip code listings that you have, and you have had contacts from consumers, and better yet sales from those contacts, you will now need to pay $36 for the 3 local zip code listings that you get with your Windows PC subscription. Keep reading for important information about the zip code warranty.
You Can Lock In The Old Deal For Up to 5 Years
If you act by April 14, 2017, you can lock in the Old Deal where you got your local zip code listing included in the price of the Windows software. If you don't care about zip code listings, there is nothing you need to do.
Further, in the January Update News we announced the "30th and 35th Anniversary Special" To summarize that, agents can get a 4 or 5 year subscription to Compulife and take 30% off the total price. If you want to read more detail about that, you can go back to the January Update News by clicking here:
January Update News
While the 30% discount will be available until the end of October (both the Canadian and U.S. companies were actually founded in October 1982 and 1987 respectively), you have until April 15th to lock in the old "deal" and combine that with the 30% discount.
"New Deal" Starts April 18th
Generally Compulife invoices renewals 45 days before a subscription expires. For those whose subscription will expire at the end of May, 2017, we invoice renewals for 2017/2018 in the middle of April.
Beginning mid-April, those renewal invoices will break out the zip code listings as a second item, and the charge for 3 zip codes will be $36. The exception to that will be those who have a standard license, and who have decided to take advantage of the option to buy 6 local zip codes for $72. A personal use license has a maximum of 3.
Therefore, Compulife subscribers have until Friday, April 14th to lock in the old deal for up to 5 years.
EXAMPLE: You have a personal use subscription and were paying $180 per year which included your local zip codes for free. You're first renewal invoice, AFTER April 14th (45 days before expiration) will be for $180 PLUS $36.
First, you are NOT required to buy/pay for local zip codes. Simply contact us and tell us you don't want those zip codes and your invoice will be re-issued for just the $180.
Second, if you want those local zip codes for FREE you can act before April 14th and add up to 5 years to your current subscription by paying $180 times the number of years that you want less the accumulated discount that we offer:
|Period Of Renewal
As we noted earlier, the special anniversary discounts for 4 and 5 years will be available to the end of October. However, the ability to lock in the "old deal" where 3 local zip codes come WITH your subscription for FREE is gone after April 14th.
Assume that you have your 3 local zip codes, and you want to keep those. You would be well advised to act before April 14th, and add 1 to 5 years to your current subscription.
Let's say you want to add 5 years. The math is simple. Take $180 X 5 which is $900, subtract 30% from $900 ($270 discount) and you pay $630 for 5 years.
Question: Is the money refundable if you want to quit during the 5 years. NO.
But a software license to Compulife is fully transferable. Find another agent, who is NOT a Compulife subscriber, and you can sell the unused portion of your license for any price that you want.
Let's imagine that after 3 years (2 years left on your license) that you want out. At that point, a Compulife subscription, with 3 local zip code listings is $180 plus $36 ($216). Assuming we are still giving the 10% discount, the retail value of the rest of your subscription to another agent would be $216 X 2 X .9 (10% off) = $388.80. Tell your friend that you'll give them your subscription for say $315 (a 20% saving), and you will have gotten half your money back having used 60% of the subscription yourself.
And yes, AS ALWAYS, if you are referring/introducing a new person to Compulife, we'll sweeten that deal if they do the trial and the tutorial. They'll get a bonus 6 months added to the subscription and a 4th local local zip code for FREE for the rest of that subscription.
Let me explain that by explaining the referral deal. Normally a new prospective customer to Compulife can get a 4 month FREE subscription to Compulife by install a FREE TRIAL version of the software, and then doing a "tutorial" which requires them to build a Pick 12 spreadsheet and email us the results.
But if YOU refer that agent to us we bonus their 4 free months to 6. As compensation for your referral, we give you an additional LOCAL ZIP CODE for FREE for up to 3 years (to the end of the year we are in plus 2). Refer someone in March, and you would get another LOCAL ZIP CODE for free to the end of December 2019. Yes, it's a LOCAL zip code meaning you can use it to bump someone within 20 miles of your location (bumping occurs in November). At the end of 2019, when it ceases to be a free local zip code, you will have first right of refusal to renew that zip code as a paid zip code listing.
THERE IS NOT LIMIT to the number of local zip codes that you can add by referring agents. Refer 100 agents for trials, and each one that does the tutorial gets a FREE 6 months subscription (including their own 3 zip code listings) and you get a FREE local zip code to the end of 2019.
Did I mention there is NO LIMIT to the number you can earn? I am always amazed by the number of subscribers who miss this opportunity to earn more local zip codes. Folks, this stuff is important.
The only other way to add more local zip codes is to upgrade to a standard license which allows you to double your local zip codes from 3 to 6.
So It's Really A $36 Price Increase
No it isn't if you don't care about zip code listings.
Yes it is if you want your local zip codes. That makes it a $36 price increase but then there are two things you need to remember. First, you can put off the price increase for up to 5 more years and you can get a discount doing that. Second, we know how much money you make when you sell an insurance policy and it makes $36 look like chump change.
And Don't Forget About
The Zip Code Warranty
This past year we formalized what we have been telling our customers for a number of years. For every 3 zip code listings a subscriber has we expect ONE email contact from a consumer. We don't count test emails, duplicate emails or obvious spam (and we don't get many of any of those).
We are now guaranteeing that you get that result, or your zip code renewals for the following year will be adjusted at your request.
NOTE: The warranty does not and did not apply to free zip codes if that's all you had. The reason is that the warranty basically lets you get your listings for free again which was redundant if you were getting them for FREE anyway.
Let's say you have 30 total zip codes, 3 locals and 27 additional zip codes. We expect (guarantee) that during the course of that year you will get 10 email contacts from consumers.
NOTE: This does not include phone contacts - we wouldn't know if someone called you anyway. Incidentally, if you are listed in a zip code that is local, make sure you show a local phone number because consumers will be more inclined to call that.
If in the above example you get less than 10 contacts, here's how the renewal for the following year would work.
Let's assume you only got 5 contacts from the 30 zip codes. That would be the number of contacts that we would expect that 15 zip code listings would produce. Therefore, in the following year we will let you keep the exact same 30 listings, and charge you as though you were only buying 15 of them. Your invoice would be cut in half. Note: You can add to the original 30 but you cannot subtract or change the original 30 if we do that.
In effect, we are reducing the following year price for under-performing zip codes.
So while you will now start paying for those 3 local zip code listing (at your first renewal after April 14th) we are guaranteeing that you will get one email contact from those 3 listings or you go back to getting those 3 zip codes for free the following renewal.
Internet Engine Price Increase
The annual price of the internet engine is being increased from $960 to $1,200 effective April 14th. In order to purchase an internet engine, a subscriber must have a $300 standard license agreement, so the total cost will be going from $1,260 to $1,500 per year.
IMPORTANT: Subscribers of the Internet engine have until April 14th to lock in the old price for up to 5 years, and yes, the same multi-year discounts that apply to basic subscriptions also apply to the internet engine price.
EXAMPLE: You are an internet engine customer and you want to lock in the old price for 5 years. The current annual subscription price (total) is $1,260. Multiply that by 5 and you get $6,300. Deduct from that 30% ($1,890) and your total cost for 5 years is $4,410.
To Catch A Pirate
As Internet Engine users will attest, the past year has been frustrating as Compulife has rolled out several data revisions that have required engine users to replace and update old engines. The process has been much more frustrating for Compulife as we have had to spend inordinate amounts of programming time and expense adding new security measures to deal with a chronic software piracy issue that we have talked about before. Currently we are about 1/2 way through a very expensive legal process attempting to get the matter resolved.
Since commencing the original lawsuit we have been forced to file a second lawsuit to deal with a second act of piracy which we discovered in the first week of September, 2016.
After June 2015 we knew that the pirates were still gaining access to our software but we didn't know how. The additional security measures that we had added before September 2016 were intended to either stop it or tell us how and where they were getting unauthorized access. We found out in September 2016 what their latest effort was but we didn't talk about it until we had released further counter measures to stop that from happening further.
Rather than me explaining what happened in September 2016, I'll let the expert witness that we have retained for the first and second lawsuit explain it, as she done in this court filing:
Declaration of Nancy Miracle
Ms. Miracle had completed an earlier expert opinion report regarding the first act of piracy which Compulife first discovered April 8, 2015. After attempting to resolve that in other ways, we eventually commenced the first lawsuit. That had been a different unauthorized access and use of our software that we were able to identify and shut down on April 10, 2015. However, after June 2015 they were back at it and our quotes were again appearing on the pirates' websites. We can't say with certainty how they were gaining access between June 2015 and September 2016 (I can prove they were) but here's what we found out in September 2016, as summed up by Ms. Miracle.:
4. Between September l, 2016 and September 6, 2016, a total of 871,055 accesses were
made to the www.term4sale.com website from a server located at the Internet address 18.104.22.168 8, an IP
address located Hot-Net lnternet Services, Ltd in lsrael.
5. Between 1:27 pm on September 1, 2016 and 12:26pm on September 4, 2016, 870,626
accesses were made to the Term4sale.com server from the server located at IP address 22.214.171.124.
The requests from 126.96.36.199 8 were formatted using proprietary information that is contained within the
Compulife Software and designed to integrate with the trade secret compilation of digital information
contained within the Compulife Software database concerning the term life insurance market, term life
products, and term life rates. Such information includes, but is not limited to, the proprietary names of
the templates used to display the information, the category types assigned to each type of insurance,
specific codes that indicate states of customer health and rating values for the type of insurance
company. Each request constituted a command to the software on the term4sale.com website to
produce quote information.
Let me continue by saying that we were completely shocked by the sheer volume and audacity of the unauthorized access. Almost a million quotes were taken in 3 days. Prior to that the site, over a 14 year period, had only done four million quotes. Consider that these same people had been told on repeated occasions to CEASE and DESIST. Consider there was already one lawsuit in play over the first act of piracy. Talk about malice!
So in addition to the counter measures we had no choice but to commence a second lawsuit.
Despite all that, so far they continue to use the quote information that they scraped from our site in September. Yes, their sites as of the writing of this bulletin are still using our quotes from September 2016. Yes, those quotes are out-of-date and they are full of bugs (these people do not care). I remain shocked by insurance regulators and life companies who appear to care less about this conduct (yes, I have complained to both).
In face, as of the writing of this bulletin, this page continues to be published on one of their websites:
NAAIP Agent that has been contacted by Bob
The good news, so far, is that they have not been able to repeat the scrape and update their site with newer information. So far they are certainly not deterred by the lawsuits and continue to ignore our demands to cease and desist.
Both lawsuits have now been joined for trial which will take place in Miami in October. We may have more information for you as this progresses.
While none of the changes that we made to the internet engine resulted in additional benefits for our internet engine customers, and actually caused some problems for about 4 who were using the engine in ways that we had not originally designed it to be used (no problem, it just wouldn't do it after the changes we made), the cost of all this work has been substantial. It has put into perspective for us that the pricing level that we have had for the engine is simply too low. If the new higher price means that we lose some internet engine customers, it will mean there are just that many fewer engines out there exposing our proprietary database and trade secrets to similar acts of theft.
Ciaara Would Like To Thank You
A number of subscribers responded to our offer last month to have Ciaara build a new responsive website for you. She has been inundated with prospects/requests, and will need a few months to catch up with the demand.
In the meantime, our thanks to all who reached out to Ciaara. She is now a busy girl.