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  1. #1
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    Sorry this thread doesn't exactly fit in this forum, I think it is the closest though.

    I've been thinking of geographical tracking of users on my site for some time now. I was reminded of it again after reading an article compiled in Davenetics.

    Knowing the exact location of a visitor, helps in a lot of ways, none more so than for targetted advertising.

    There are a number of articles and a program that I know of, that deals with this issue.

    Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/02/te...ECOMMERCE.html

    Program: http://cello.cs.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/slamm/ip2ll/

    • User Registration: If a visitor has registered and his address information is available, targetted advertising is possible. However, the user has to login everytime he visits the site.
    • Ordinary Visitor: What if the user is not a registered user? Geographic tracking based on the IP address is done. Take a look at the program above.


    I would like to discuss the second option. How is it possible? As mentioned in the article, companies sell databases that contain IP addresses and their matching city, state, country locations.

    This data is also constantly updated due to the changing nature of the internet and is not perfect.

    I guess it is almost impossible to implement such a scheme for a small website, due to the lack of resources, but are there any other solutions?

    The program listed above does something like that. Basically, it resolves the ip address to its hostname. It queries the whois database and gets the city listed under the administrative contact.

    But this process does take a lot more time than when the necessary data is available in a local database and is not always accurate.


    Do you have any ideas on how this can be done easily? Or is geographic tracking going to be a highly error prone/costly process?

  2. #2
    I believe you have my stapler. scrubz's Avatar
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    Here's another article:

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-3424168.html

    I'm getting the impression that for a small company, it would be rather costly and unreliable to use IP addresses to track users. I wouldn't trust the accuracy for one thing. On the link you provided above, I put the name of a hosting company in Canada, and it reported that they were located in Turkey. I'm pretty sure that they didn't move to Turkey.

    If you use user registration, the user wouldn't necessarily need to log in everytime they used the site. Cookies can be used to save the username and password.

    If you want general information such as what country the user is from, you could prompt them for that info when they first visit your site (which could be annoying), and then save a cookie so they aren't asked again on future visits.

    You could also gather information when they subscribe to one of your services (newsletter) or download software. Ask them for a couple of pieces of information before they can proceed. This relies on user honesty, but it's an option.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot
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    The problem with user registration is - user registration itself! How many people are going to bother to register? And how many people are honestly going to enter their true location, down to their city and zip code?

    If they do register, cookies can be used, assuming they use the same computer everytime.


    Also, another option for small companies would be to examine their logs and gather the most common IP addresses. Then, these IP addresses (AND IP Address Blocks!) could be translated to their location and stored locally in the database. This can localize content for regular visitors who haven't registered.


    Is geotracking worth the trouble? I would like to use geotracking to let advertisers to be able to target their advertisements to local markets. Would it be better to allow users choose what advertisements they want to see?

    Does it make more sense allowing users to pick ads?
    http://www.kuro5hin.org/?op=displays.../27/181041/142


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