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Update News for September 2014

Here is a quick run-down on what you will find in this bulletin:

    • Anti-Virus Troubles Coming This Month



    • On-Line Payment Option Starting In September



    • Term4Sale Listings For 2015



    • Term4Sale Listings For 2016



    • ROP Factors Next For Conversion



These topics will be dealt with in more detail throughout this bulletin.

Anti-Virus Troubles Coming This Month
Depending on WHICH anti-virus product you have put on your computer, you can expect more troubles with Compulife during September. The worst offender is Norton, for which we have dedicated a web page which you will find here:

Norton Is Crap
If you have Norton, you better read that page. And if you have Norton, you need to understand how to use Norton (most Norton users DO NOT know how to use the software). And if you don’t know how to use Norton it’s like putting a lock on your fire extinguisher and throwing away the key. Needless to say, it’s not much good for protection after that.

Other anti-virus offenders that routinely drive us nuts are AVG and Bit Defender.

I used to really like PC Tools, and still have it on a couple of computers. Unfortunately that company was bought out by Norton, who is terminating the service and inviting all the PC Tools customers to flip over to Norton. THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN OUR OFFICE.

For the past year we have begun using AVAST, and we have been using their FREE version of their software. Here are some reviews on that product:

Avast Reviews
NOTE: These reviews are for the FREE version of the product. Of course they would like you to upgrade, which is where they make their money. Based upon my own personal use, and the reviews of the product, I’d say the FREE version is just fine.

Avast also works with Windows XP. Yes, I STILL have some computers running XP. As I told you in a previous bulletin, I am in NO RUSH to run out and replace ALL the computers that we use. About half our machines have been upgraded, and are now running Windows 8.1. But some will continue to run Windows XP until next year, when I expect prices for equipment to fall. And yes, rumors are that Microsoft will announce the roll out of their next version of Windows this fall. Here’s one article:

Why Microsoft needs to reveal Windows 9 sooner than later: The end of Windows 7
Back to anti-virus troubles. It is worth noting that the reason Microsoft claims that we all need their latest and newest operating systems is because those newer OS’s are more secure. That means that they come with a lot of internal security features. This begs the question, if you have the newest Windows 8.1, why does anyone needs a supplementary anti-virus program? But having said that, most people are used to putting 3rd party anti-virus programs on their computers. In the case of Microsoft, they themselves offer a free anti-virus product called:

Microsoft Security Essentials
I suspect it is not bundled into their OS due to the concern that they will be accused of having a monopoly, an accusation that stuck with their browser when it was bundled with their operating system. Regardless, it makes complete sense to add an anti-virus product to your computer.

NOTE: Microsoft Security Essentials no longer works with Windows XP.

The problem with anti-virus products is that Compulife is a small, niche company in the software world. The number of our installations is TINY compared to most generic software offered in the market. Many anti-virus products rely upon feedback information from users of software, to determine if those software products have a virus or not. So anytime we roll out a changed program file, we set off the anti-virus products.

During September we will be introducing new versions of our two key program files:

If either of these programs is likely to set off your anti-virus software it is CQSDOWN.EXE. CQSDOWN is the program in Compulife that is responsible for obtaining update files from the Internet. As soon as something on your computer reaches out to the internet, your anti-virus software will be paying attention. If it warns you about “suspicious activity” when CQSDOWN.EXE is doing that, and you tell the anti-virus software to “block” or “quarantine” the software, then you will have have plenty of trouble running Compulife.

After your anti-virus product becomes happy with CQSDOWN.EXE there is usually no problem until we replace it with a newer version, which we will be doing in September. Your anti-virus software may see that the file has been changed and start all over. You can expect a warning when that happens. Once again, if you “block” or “quarantine” the software then you will have trouble running Compulife.

Incidentally, this is where Norton really, and I mean really, ticks us off. It will block/quarantine our software without even asking you. Bang, Compulife just disappears. Sorry, but that’s NOT anti-virus software, that’s a virus you paid to put on your computer. We recommend, if that happens, that you get Norton off your computer. You can replace Norton with the FREE version of AVAST.

The next article will talk about WHY we are replacing CQSDOWN.EXE and GOWIN.EXE.

On-Line Payment Option Starting In September
Jeremiah has been hard at working this summer, designing a new invoicing/payment system that is more automated. A number of our subscribers have indicated that they would like to be able to pay by credit cards on-line, and we have been moving slowly on that for a couple of reasons.

First, we do NOT want you to transmit credit card information to Compulife by Internet. There are LOTS of horror stories about people having their credit card information stolen from on-line sources, and some major retailers have been hammered over it. We do not want your credit card information transmitted to us by computer, and we don’t want your credit card information stored ANYWHERE on our computers.

Currently, if you call us with your credit card, we input that information into the banking company’s software, then destroy/shred our paper copy of the information we took from you.

I have said, when we can develop a way to have you input your credit card DIRECTLY into that same banking company’s software, then we will offer that option. We are now on the verge of rolling that out.

Of course we needed to know who was paying for what, and so the new system will be invoice based and that’s where GOWIN.EXE is being modified. Your invoices for subscription renewal will now be shipped using the same mechanism that we have for updating the software. CQSDOWN will download your invoice from the web. GOWIN.EXE, when it detects your invoice, will let you display it on your computer screen.

There will be a “pay now” button on the invoice. If you click that button your browser will take you to the credit card company’s secure site, passing to that site the details of who you are and what invoice you are paying. At that point, if you put your credit card information in, your payment will be taken by the bank and confirmation of the payment will be sent to us by email. We will that process that payment information into our system which will let your system be updated with the new subscription. Obviously if you pay an invoice on a Saturday, it won’t be processed on our end until the next business day: Monday.

But this should save you and us a lot of time in that you don’t have to track us down to make a payment. It will also help us save some money where we don’t have to input the information for you into the banking site, and where most renewal invoices will no longer need to be mailed.

If you prefer to pay by check you can simply display the invoice, print it out on your computer, and cut a check as you always have. Incidentally, we prefer checks simply as we get all the money without the credit card company taking a scrape.

If you decide the invoice will need to be changed, then we will have to credit out the invoice and issue a new one. A common reason for this is someone elected to renew for 2 or 3 years to take advantage of discounts. If you decide you want to do that, then you can contact us by email at:
Once the new invoice is issued, you can pay that as described.

And finally, if you still want to pay by credit card by calling us, you can do that also.

Term4Sale Listings For 2015
In the June 2014 bulletin we talked about changes to Term4Sale listings and prices for 2015 and a number of subscribers expressed their unhappiness with the way we were making that change and the new limits that we were imposing on total listings.

I would underline that our main concern is that Term4Sale listings benefit each subscriber to Compulife, not just a small minority who are doing quite well with them. That is why we will be increasing the number of FREE listings from 2 to 3 for every subscriber. Those listings will be one “Home” listing, and two “Free” listings. You can read more about those distinctions here:

Understanding How Agents Are Listed
Our statistics for 2013 showed that for every 3 zip codes a subscriber had, they received on average of one email contact. With three free zip codes, you should expect one email contact per year (on average). We have no way of knowing if a consumer calls you at your listed phone number, although we know that happens because sometimes consumer call us.

Prices for additional listings, which agents pay to obtain, are $15 per year (pro-rated to the end of the calendar year). That means that the value of FREE listings is now $45.

Subscribers who don’t want their FREE listings will be allowed to exchange those listings for a $20 pear year reduction in the price of their software. In that case, a personal use subscription will reduce from $199 to $179 and an agency subscription will reduct from $299 to $279.

IMPORANT: You must ASK for this discount when paying the renewal, it is not provided automatically.

At the time you ask for it, we will check to make sure that you have no term4sale listings. If you have term4sale listings they will be deleted. If it turns out that the following re-pricing strategy generates more revenue for Term4Sale and Compulife, we may increase that discount/rebate further in 2015.

As background, we have a small group of subscribers who buy a significant number of additional paid listings and we are happy to have their business. However, some of the best zip codes are now taken and there is NO ROOM left for other subscribers who would like a share in those better zip codes. As background, we consider a better zip code to be one with a high population and income per household, versus a low population and income per household.

As a result we have been looking for a way to increase prices for those buying more than 100 zip codes, with the expected outcome that some of those who are buying more, will simply buy less, thereby opening up zip codes for others. Our original plan was to have the subscriber buy additional software licenses. That idea did not go over very well, some arguing that the pricing was too complicated. After further thought prices will increase in the following way.

The first 100 purchased zip codes will be at the $15 per year price level. If you wish to buy more than 100 zip codes zip codes two things must happen.

First, you must have a standard license for Compulife, the personal use discount does not apply. We will waive this requirement until your next actual renewal of Compulife. If you have paid ahead for your personal use edition, and have purchased multiple years, you will stay at the personal use level to the end of that current subscription renewal date. As of the invoicing for zip codes renewals in November, you cannot add time to your personal use subscription to extend this provision. You have until then to do so.

Second, zip code listing over 100, and up to the limit of 400 for a standard license, will be will be charged an addition $3 per zip code (25 cents per month). If you had purchased 200 zip codes, the first 100 will be $1,500, the second 100 will be $1,800.

Once again, we expect that many subscribers who buy more than 100 zip codes will re-examine their zip codes and reduce the number that they have. The result will be open up more zip codes for purchase by other subscribers, which will help solve rising demand for better zip codes that are full. On the other hand, if those already buying those zip codes elect to continue to do so, and term4sale revenue increases, then we will likely reduce prices further for those buying our software who do not want any listings.

Term4Sale Listings For 2016
In 2016, after changes that we will need to make to our subscriber database, zip codes will be priced differently for different zip codes, based upon zip code income. For some zip codes prices will go up, while for others zip codes prices will go down.

If you visit our zip code analyzer and enter in a zip code, the system provides a report which shows, among other things the income of a zip code (equal to the number of households times average household income). Zip code prices for 2016 will be based upon a scale of prices based upon “zip code income” (number of households times income per household). Here is what we have tentatively come up with:

      • zip code under $250 million – $.50 per month


      • zip code under $500 million – $.75 per month


      • zip code under $750 million – $1.00 per month


      • zip code under 1 billion = $1.25 per month


      • zip code under 1.25 billion = $1.50 per month


      • zip code under 1.5 billion $1.75 per month


      • zip code 1.5 billion or more $2.00 per month


Those prices will apply to the first 100 zip codes. Subscribers who buy more than 100 zip codes will be subject to the additional surcharge of .25 cents per month on zip codes over 100 zip codes.

We debated a way to offer a discount on low income zip codes for 2015 but we simply do not (yet) have a systematic way to generate individual zip code pricing within our client database. That will be something we will be working on for 2016.

ROP Factor Files To Change Next
With the online payment option completed, we can turn our attention back to the next step in our data conversion work. We will be focusing on those products which have Return of Premiums and which use factors to calculate the total premium.

For example, some companies apply a percentage calculation to a premium, in order to convert the non-ROP version of the product to the ROP version. It typically goes something like this:

      • Basic Premium = $600


      • ROP Factor = 50%


      • ROP Premium = Basic Premium + ROP Factor time Basic Premium


      • ROP Premium = $600 + $600 X 50%


      • ROP Premium = $600 + $300


    • ROP Premium = $900

The problem is that different companies use different factors and some factors vary by age, sex, category, etc. Therefore, those factors must be entered and stored and we created a data entry tool for that job. When we created the ROP data entry tool we decided to use a different data format than our basic premium storage. The reason was for the same reason that we have gone to a new data entry system for the company information files; improved technology.

But the current ROP storage system, which is different from the basic premium storage system, is also different from the new data storage system that we are moving to. Rather than add a third data storage tool for basic premiums, and then convert ROP factors after, we are doing the ROP factor conversion first. That way, once we introduce the new data retrieval system for the new ROP factors, we can remove the old system. That will also give us a chance to debug the new rate storage system with some numbers, and isolate those numbers to a small group of products; those with ROP. If bugs show up, they won’t affect non-ROP products.

Currently ROP factors are stored in files called ROPF.D0? (that’s D zero ?) where the ? is the category for the rates. For example, 30 year ROP term is stored in the “M” category and so the ROPF factors for the “M” category are stored in ROPF.D0M. Those factor tables will be replaced with one new file: ROPFT.000. All the ROP factors, for the different categories of ROP products, will be contained in ONE file.

Anyway, after the new ROPFT.000 file has been built and introduced into a newer GOWIN.EXE, we will continue to deliver both ROPF.d0? and ROPFT.000 files. We will maintain both for an interim period of time. That means that those with older copies of our internet engine will still have some time to upgrade the engine that they are using to the new version which will work with the new ROP data file. While there will be a time overlap, no one will want to be too tardy doing the upgrade because once we terminate service for the old ROPF factor files, future changes to that data will not be provided and ROP quotes will be wrong should changes to ROP factors occur.

We think this will also be a great trial run of how the new rate storage and retrieval system works. It means that when we begin to replace basic rate files, we will have already gotten our feet good and wet with that mechanism.


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