Here are a selection of frequently asked questions and their associated answers. You can generally read your way through all the questions and answers, or you can click one of the questions to immediately jump down to its answer.
We’ve tried to set the questions out in some sort of sequence. If you can’t find an answer to your question here or elsewhere in the support pages, you could ask it in our Support Forum, or make use of any of the other types of support we offer.
Agents and Contacts
Importing my Addresses
Lists and Letters
About my Profile and Account
Email and Messaging
What is the difference between an Imported Address, a Contact, an Agent, and a Follower?
This is easy to understand once you see the explanation.
Imported Addresses are the people you’ve imported information about into LifeLinker, but haven’t yet decided what to do with. The chances are that many of the email addresses you automatically import into LifeLinker will be people or businesses that you don’t want to make into Contacts, and probably you won’t even remember who some of them are!
As time allows, you should go through your list of imported and unprocessed email addresses, and either delete them or else make them into Contacts. Ideally you should not have any remaining unprocessed imported addresses – they should all either become Contacts or be deleted.
Contacts are the people you’ve decided you want to send messages to. You might send these people messages from time to time, sharing the highlights and events in your life, and of course, they will get your valedictory farewell message upon your death, too.
You can sort your Contacts into different lists, so as to be able to customize the messages you send; a different message to each list. Each contact can belong to no lists, to one list, or to as many lists as you wish. If they belong to no lists, they’ll get your general valedictory note on your passing; and if they belong to any (or many) lists, they’ll get those special messages too.
Agents are very special. These are people you know well, have regular contact with, and trust – people like your spouse, your siblings, your parents and/or children, and very close friends. It is their duty to change your status when you die – it is only when one of your Agents changes your status that the system knows to then send out your valedictory messages and the advice of your passing and to activate your obituary page and virtual wake. Your Agents can also update/complete your obituary, and will moderate your virtual wake. We suggest you appoint many different people as Agents, so that no matter what, when, and where, someone will be aware of what is happening with you and able to quickly update your status when the time comes.
Followers are people who want to know when you die, but who you haven’t chosen as contacts. You might choose to follow other LifeLinker members yourself. If you and the other person are reasonably closely connected, then you will probably be contacts of each other, but if you are wanting to, for example, follow a famous person, then the chances are they won’t want to make you a contact (and they also wouldn’t want to be your contact, either). So followers are people who are not as closely connected to each other. Followers only receive a notification of the death of the person they are following, they don’t get other personal notifications at that time or during the person’s life. In other words, you might follow famous people, but be contacts with friends.
LifeLinker is all about creating a broad network of contacts, and protecting your account by appointing multiple Agents. We do all we can to make both processes as simple as possible for you.
There are four main ways you can create contacts. To add an Agent, you simply check the option ‘Appoint as Agent’ (or similar words) any time you are adding a contact, or you go to an existing contact and click the icon to make them an agent too.
So let’s start by looking at how you add contacts.
You’ve already had one chance to add some contacts – when you first created your account, you were given an option to immediately add some contacts. A similar option appears the second time you log into your account, maybe even the third time.
But, don’t worry, you don’t have to log out and in again to be able to add contacts! That’s just there to encourage you to get started. There are two main ways you can add contacts while logged in. The first is what we term the ‘Quickly Add Specific Friends’ option that lets you add contacts, one by one, if you know their email address. Just simply fill in their first name and email address on this form, then on the next form, decide if you want to make them an Agent and if you want to ask to get their updates too, possibly add some personal extra text to the email that goes out, and you’re done. Quick and easy.
The second way is wonderful – almost essential – to add people in bulk, and to make sure you’re not forgetting anyone – it is the ‘Bulk Import Your Address Books’ option, where you bring in all the email addresses stored in your (eg Gmail or Apple/iOS/etc email account) and then decide which of the imported addresses you want to make into contacts and Agents, and which are not relevant.
And now for another brilliant way to add to your network. While you’re simply reading your emails, as you normally do, any time you receive an email from someone who you think should become one of your contacts or Agents, simply forward their email to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our system will automatically work out who you are from your email address, and then look to find out who you got the email from, and add that person to your network. How easy is that!
Please see our separate page about creating contacts that gives you more information and screen shots to walk you through these options.
Well, obviously, you need at least one person to be able to transition your account in the event of your death.
But, you know the saying – ‘When you have two, you only have one, and when you have one, you have none’? And you also for sure know Murphy’s Law.
Thinking about Mr Murphy in particular, what happens if your one Agent is on a round-the-world cruise and away from their internet for several weeks in a row, at a time when needed? Okay, so you appoint a second Agent. But what happens now if your first Agent is enjoying their cruise and your second Agent is unwell? So you appoint a third Agent, but when the time comes, they’re climbing Mt Everest, or on a distant retreat, or somewhere else. So you appoint a fourth Agent, but alas, the tragic accident that took your life also took the fourth Agent’s life at the same time, because they were with you when the bus crashed or whatever. Your fifth Agent – their computer is broken. Your sixth agent – well, see if you can think of something that interferes with their ability to quickly learn about and update your status. And so it goes….
One of the most valuable aspects of LifeLinker’s service is ensuring that everyone gets a timely and prompt notification of your own situation, and so for that, you really need to have plenty of Agents. That way, when the time comes, hopefully there are one of two Agents able to quickly report on your passing.
So, how many Agents should you have? We ask you to have at least two, and we hope you’ll have three or four or more. There’s no such thing as ‘too many’ Agents, but there’s definitely ‘too few’! (Note that different levels of membership allow different numbers of Agents, but even a completely free membership allows you to have three, and our lowest paid plan gives you the ability to have six.)
We sometimes have members tell us ‘I want my friend to be my Agent, but he doesn’t want to also join LifeLinker. Can you make an exception for him, please?’
There are two reasons why we ask Agents also to be LifeLinker members. Both are for your protection.
The first reason is a security type reason. By restricting access to LifeLinker to people who have registered with us, rather than allowing anyone and everyone to experiment with the system and try to hack and crash it, we have added a weak but slight barrier to help protect the integrity of everything we do. Sure, we have plenty of other security layers in place too, but the first place we start from is restricting access to the system to only ‘known’ logged in members.
What do we mean by ‘known’? Well, the simple fact that you have requested someone to be your agent means that they are obviously known to you.
The second reason is a ‘data integrity’ type reason. Let’s think of a LifeLinker member – let’s call him Bob. He has two agents, Suzie and Sally. Eventually, after many happy and healthy years, Bob dies. Okay, so everyone then expects Suzie and Sally to change Bob’s status, right, and cause all his contacts to receive advice of his passing, his personalized farewell letters, and so on.
But – if Suzie and Sally aren’t also LifeLinker members, there’s a terrible assumption we are all making and which might prevent the system from working. What say Suzie and Sally both predeceased Bob? They need to also be LifeLinker members, so the system can know this, and warn Bob ‘Hey, Bob, you no longer have any Agents, you need to appoint some more’.
This is the main reason. It is sort of an endless loop, in a way. Bob needs to have some Agents to ensure that his account status is correct and able to be updated if and when it becomes time to do so. And his Agents, in turn, also need to be members, and with their own Agents, so the system knows that Bob’s status is ‘covered’ by active Agents. (And Bob’s Agents’ Agents also need to have Agents, and so on it goes – this doesn’t become a true endless/infinite series, of course, because people swap Agent responsibilities – “I’ll be your Agent if you’ll be mine” sort of thing.)
Initially, when you invite someone to become one of your Agents, you’ll see in the listing of your agents that their status is shown as Pending.
That means you are waiting to hear back from them if they’ll agree to become your Agent or not. Hopefully they will accept. At that point, their status may change to either Active or Provisional.
A Provisional status means they have agreed to become your Agent, but they have yet to appoint at least two of their own Agents. When they have two or more Agents themselves, their status will change to show them as Active.
Eventually, they might either choose to stop being your Agent, or leave LifeLinker, or perhaps they may even die themselves. In such cases, their status will then change to show Resigned.
One other possibility – you might decide you no longer need or want them as an Agent, in which case you can remove that privilege from them and then they will show as Removed.
Lastly, maybe they do not accept your invitation, and so they would show as Declined. We show everyone who is or was or has been invited to become an Agent on your Agent list. You can also remind people with a pending status by sending out reminder notices to encourage them to respond and hopefully accept your request.
Updates can be any type of message at all that you choose to share with some or all of your contacts, and of course, in time, when you pass, they will also be the messages you have prepared in advance to send to your various different lists of contacts.
You can send an update message at any time – simply go to the Lists option at the top of any page, click on it, and choose the option to send a one-off letter now.
You then can choose between sending the letter to all your contacts, to only your agents, or to one or more of the lists of contacts you’ve created. Write your letter, possibly attach a picture to it, and click ‘Send’, and off it goes.
Some people find this a useful modern way of sending an electronic version of their ‘Christmas Card Letter’. Others find it a great way to communicate with groups of people like fellow members of a sports club or whatever else.
There are limits on how many updates you can send each year, depending on your account type. Updates aren’t meant to be for trivial every day things like ‘what I had for breakfast this morning’ and ‘today is a nice day so I didn’t mind waiting because my bus was late’ sort of messages – Twitter and Facebook are the best places for those. But when it comes to sharing the important things in your life with the people who are important to you, updates become the best way of doing this.
We are adding more and more email services to the list of services you can automatically import your address book from, but we’ll of course never end up with every email service, everywhere in the world, and sadly there’s no standard universal way of exporting/importing/transferring email addresses from one service to another.
If you use a different email service, then the chances are it has some way of exporting all your address book info. If you can export it in a format such as xxxxxx then you can import your addresses using that option with our Import Address wizard.
We know exactly how you feel when thinking about this, because we too hesitate to use such services sometimes, on other sites!
Yes, it is perfectly safe to enter your user ID and password to allow the LifeLinker service to conveniently get a copy of your address book from other sites and services. The information isn’t stored on our servers; indeed, it isn’t even temporarily held by our server. The information passes through an external service called ‘CloudSponge’ that provides this type of mixing and matching of services for many different companies, and they contact your email service on your behalf, then they send us your address book information.
CloudSponge also doesn’t remember your login information – each time you choose to import or update your address book information, you’ll have to provide the log in details again.
Lastly, if you remain concerned, there’s a solution to that, too. Simply change your password directly with your email service, then have LifeLinker and CloudSponge get your address book information, then after that is done, change your password back again with your email service.
When the system has completed importing your addresses from an address book such as with Google/Gmail or Apple/iCloud, it sends you a notification, both by email and via the notification ‘bell’ icon at the top of the page to tell you it has completed the task.
Depending on how many addresses you have to import, and how many other import address requests the system is also working on simultaneously, this can take anywhere from less than a minute to more than ten minutes.
The notification tells you something like this :
1402 of 1467 contacts successfully imported; 34 failed and 31 were duplicates
It is easy to understand what ‘successfully imported’ means, and probably easy to understand about some addresses being duplicates – you already have those addresses either among your present contacts or as part of your existing list of unprocessed imported addresses.
Now for the serious sounding reference to failures. This means one of two things. Firstly, and most commonly, it means that the address record had no matching email address with in. That is common when you are importing phone books from your iPhone, for example – many of your phone contacts will have a phone number but no email address. There’s no point, for our purposes, in knowing about such people, so the system ignores them and rather inelegantly calls them ‘failed’.
There are also sometimes address records with strange data in a field. Perhaps the email address doesn’t include an @ sign, or who knows what else. If the system seems something that it can’t easily understand or know what to do with, it might again fail to import the record.
So, unless you can’t now find imported addresses for people you know you had stored email addresses for, the failures are probably nothing to worry about.
What are Lists and Do I Need Any?
Lists do three things for you.
First, as you appoint people as your Contacts (the people who you send information to and who will receive notice of your passing after you die) you’ll notice that some are close family members, some are more distant relatives, some are co-workers, some are former colleagues, then there are old school friends, members of the same sports clubs, churches, perhaps members of a political club or arts group you belong to, local neighbors, and so on.
You can group your Contacts into lists that match the common ties that connect you to each of your Contacts. This is a very flexible enhancement. You can make as many different lists as you like, you can have as many (or as few) Contacts on each list, and you can put each of your Contacts onto as many different lists as you like, or just leave them be, not on any special lists.
Now, for the reason you do this, which brings up the second thing a list does for you. You can create separate advice letters for each of your lists, making your farewelll notes more customized for each list of Contacts. Not only that. You can send relevant and focused messages to your lists at any time – for example, if you have a ‘Huskies Football Supporter’ list, then each football season the chances are you might be sending them a message or two.
In addition, your farewell note might include reminiscences of past games attended and shared with people on your list, hopes/predictions for the team’s future, and so on.
If you want to send personal notes to specific individuals, perhaps saying things that you wanted to say but never got around to or providing closure on matters you never felt comfortable addressing previously, then simply create a ‘list’ and only put one person on it. You might call the list ‘John’s personal list’ and put John into that one list.
The third thing lists can be used for is to send updates and general letters to the people on them at any time. So if you want to express your delight at your team winning the trophy, you can send a letter about that to your fellow team supporters. If you’re wanting to organize a block party for your neighbors, you can send a letter just to that group, and so on.
Oh – you can call the lists anything you like. The people on the lists won’t know what you call your lists, so if you name one ‘the really strange people at work’ they’ll not know you’ve called them that!
For more information about lists, please refer to the separate help page about sorting your contacts into lists.
Can I have a List with only One Person on it?
Yes, absolutely. You can have as many people on a list as you like, or as few. And if you want a very personal farewell note for only one person, create a list for just that person, and write a letter just for him or her.
Can One Person be on more than One List?
Yes, each of your contacts can be on as many lists as you like – or even on none. If a contact is on no lists, they will only receive your general farewell note when you die. If they are on one or more special lists, they will also receive the additional special letters you have prepared for the people on those lists.
What are Letters?
We mentioned above about Lists. Letters are what you write to send to the people on your lists – you can either write Farewell Letters that will be sent after you die, or regular letters that will be sent as soon as you’ve finished them and clicked on Send.
As you set up each list, you are prompted to pre-write the farewell note that will in time be sent to the people on the list.
If/when you wish to send a general letter to people on a list, or to all your Agents, or indeed to all your contacts entirely, you can do this too. Please refer to our page about sending letters to your contacts for more information on this.
Currently there’s a limitation in our email module that limits you to only one attachment.
We’ll remove this in a future update, but for now if you want to add more than one attachment there are two ways to do this. The first is to send multiple emails, each with one attachment. The second is to zip up all the attachments into one single zip file and send that with your email message.
We give you a quick impression of how well you’re using LifeLinker by showing you a ‘Profile Strength Score’. This gives you points for all the important things to do with building up your LifeLinker presence.
The more you tell us about yourself, the more points you get. The more you add contacts and generally develop your network, the more points you get. The better you sort through your contacts and create lists (and prepare valedictory letters for those lists), the more points you get. The more agents you have – yes, again, the more points you get.
There are also two things that are harder for you to control which earn you points. The more people who have added you as a contact, the more points you get, and, lastly, the longer you’ve been a member – yes, you guessed right. The more points you get.
We try and make upgrading your account as easy as possible, of course!
Simple click your name on the top menu bar on any page, then choose the ‘My Account’ option from the drop-down choices that appear.
And then, from the page that opens, on the left hand side click the Membership button. That opens up a page that shows your current membership level and offers you a choice of different membership types.
When you’ve found the membership type that best suits your continued use, you then have a choice of buying a one, two, or three year membership, or for about the cost of four years of annual membership, you can buy a lifetime membership instead.
This is such an important question that we have a separate page that discusses this in full detail. Please go to the Agents – Duties and Features page.
There is nothing magic about this. The system only knows what it is told. The system relies upon your Agents – this is why we urge you to appoint multiple Agents, and to carefully choose people who will generally be closely in contact with you and likely to know if something should ever happen to you.
The more Agents you have, the sooner one of them will find out any important news, and hopefully then remember to update your LifeLinker status.
Again, the system only knows what it is told. The system is relying on your Agents being honest, diligent and accurate, and not playing practical jokes by changing your status incorrectly. This is why we suggest you be careful with who you select to be your Agents – they have to be people you totally trust.
We have included a safety feature, as well. Once an Agent changes your status, the first thing that happens is the system then emails all your agents – and you, too – telling them who has changed your status and any additional information the Agent has provided about what is happening.
There is then a ‘safety delay’ during which time you or any of your Agents can correct and cancel any wrong advice. You can set the length of this delay by going to the ‘My Account’ part of your profile, then choosing the ‘Set Status’ option and deciding how long you want this safety delay to be. The system defaults to eight hours, but you might want to extend that to 12 hours or longer. It is a difficult compromise as between having a lengthy safety period but then delayed advice, or a short safety period and a small risk of mistake.
Only after the safety delay time has expired does the system send out advice to all your contacts.
We have lots of additional features and services we will be adding. Some of them are obvious and are already in development and nearly ready to be released – you might occasionally see hints and clues about these already appearing in places on the site.
Others are new ‘extensions’ to our core range of services and perhaps not quite so obvious. And, perhaps the most exciting category are the things we’ve not yet thought about, but which you suggest to us. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let us know – you can see our User Forum Suggestions category and add your thoughts there if you wish (we’ve already taken one such suggestion and implemented it).
As for the timings and the exact details of what will come out and when, we’d rather not say. Not only is software notoriously always late getting released, but we don’t want to commit ourselves to any sequence of features. It may well be that a suggestion from you is so great that it shoots to the top of the pile and delays everything else!
Yes, we agree that a lifetime account, either for free, or paying only a modest sum – and for hopefully a very long lifetime of use – is a tremendous value and bargain. Of course, when you see a deal this good, it does sort of beg the question ‘Will you guys actually survive and stay in business?’.
The quick answer is yes, as far as we can tell. Almost everything is computerized and automated, and with computer costs continuing their steady decline every year, the cost of keeping your data online and available to you and those who care about you is minimal. These small ongoing costs will probably be matched by ongoing revenue from existing users. The ‘heavy lifting’ in terms of costs is in developing and continuing to enhance the service, not in simply maintaining it in present form.
If you – or any other user – takes advantage of one of our optional additional services, the income from that will help us defray ongoing expenses. Plus as we grow, we will have some advertising revenue from ads on our web pages. While the income we get from that will be tiny, so too are the costs of continuing to keep everything online and operational. In the worst case, we could probably ‘freeze’ the service in place and keep it going for many years without any additional development or marketing costs, and with any small advertising income more than covering the maintenance costs of keeping the basic service up.
If something unforeseeable happened such that we did need to end the service, we’d give you as much warning as possible so you could download your contact details and other information before the service went offline.
One more point. We use the world’s largest and hopefully best ‘cloud’ computer service (Amazon Web Services) as a store for this website and your information. They do about as close to 100% a job as anyone, anywhere, ever could, at ensuring the reliability of our site and your data.
Lastly, if we ever should cease operating, we’d possibly have some other company keen to take over the service and fold it in to whatever else they do, so even the worst case scenario might not be that bad.
There’s Something I Really Don’t Understand – How Can I Talk to Someone and Have You Walk Me Through It?
We offer four levels of support to our members, including phone support. Choose the form of support which is easiest and best for you. First of course, please check our support pages and this FAQ to see if we’ve already answered the question for you.
If you don’t find an answer your question, you can choose from :
- Send us an email.
- Go to our User Forums and post a question there for anyone (including ourselves) to answer.
- Use our on-screen chat service and chat/type with one of us directly in the program. There’s a button at the bottom right of every page that you simply click on to be connected to us (assuming it says that Live Chat is Online).
- Call and speak to a real live person. The previous three support options are free, but if you want to talk to a live person, we charge US$1.25 per minute, in five-minute (ie $6.25) increments. Details here.
If you phone in, we expect most questions will be resolved in less than ten minutes and many in less than five. And if your question is actually a result of a bug in our software, then of course there’d be no fee at all for your calling to tell us about it – quite the opposite, we’ll delightedly thank you for helping us find and resolve an issue.