educational

Better Geo Targeting for Focused Messaging

Stephen Yagielowicz

The world is a big place, filled full of people from far away lands — not all of whom are reasonable prospects for a sale — while some of whom are downright detrimental to your profitability. Since they all can access your site via the Internet, some means should be found to cater to the best, via regionally focused content or marketing messages, while eliminating the worst, via technical means such as IPbased geo-targeting. Understanding the limited accuracy of various geo-location techniques is vital, however, when doing so.

For example, a person in Los Angeles shouldn’t be surprised when a geoscript pegs LA as the visitor’s location. IP-based geo-location shows this rural author, however, as being 170 miles away from his actual position — which is accurate enough for country and state-level user targeting, but not much tighter, on visitors far beyond the metropolis. Variances in Internet access technology and network architecture, as well as the ways in which a particular script or service will identify a user’s position make geo-location an often inexact science with limited practicality.

Focusing on the customers that can make you money while doing what you can to keep shoplifters and online bums at bay, is as old as shop keeping itself — and as easy in the digital age.

Anonymous proxies and other identity-obfuscating techniques employed by privacy-seeking surfers may also thwart accurate estimations of that visitor’s true location.

Geo-location has also gotten a bad rap in some circles due to the clumsy ways that it is used; such as dating site promos that might be convincing for city dwellers, but farm folks know those “in your town” models are not really here and looking for a date.

Better uses for geo-targeting include dynamically tweaking join page options such as currency, pricing and payment methods, as well as providing a gatekeeper that limits the best content to the best countries.

Premium paysite owners (especially those with exclusive / original content) may wish to take a two-pronged approach to this latter process: allowing only those visitors that are most likely to purchase your content, while redirecting the users most likely to pirate it — such as visitors from India, China and other hot spots of content theft.

These are countries that you may not even be able to bill, so why waste bandwidth or provide them with the opportunity to steal and share your content, fueling online piracy?

Don’t like to generalize? That’s understandable: every country has a ruling class with the ability, desire and means to purchase porn — so rather than blocking countries, try to send their citizens to a white label cam site or other destination — they will think it was the site they were looking for due to your similar branding, and you might snag a whale. The large cam sites also offer a breadth of billing options that your main site can’t match, generating more revenues from the same traffic mix and volume.

Recent XBIZ analysis reveals that the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and France, plus Italy and Australia, are the top-selling countries for premium porn marketers; providing an excellent starting point for setting up your geogatekeeper, just watch your own sales and stats to add or subtract countries from this list.

There are several ways to do this, including via .htaccess or through various services.

One tool is geoPlugin (www.geoplugin.com), a free solution that allows webmasters to deliver dynamic geotargeted content along with currency conversion, area codes and postal codes and more; enabling flexible marketing initiatives. This service is compatible with ASP, JavaScript, JSON, PHP and XML, for easy integration into any environment using a small snippet of code.

Also check out the offerings from MaxMind (www.maxmind.com), which provides widely integrated locational services, including free and premium products, considered by many operators to be among the best in the business.

However you do it, focusing on the customers that can make you money while doing what you can to keep shoplifters and online bums at bay, is as old as shop keeping itself — and as easy in the digital age as the use of geo-targeting technology.

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