The patent is significant because it allows Internet marketers to hone in on the location of IP users at the city level.
U.S. Patent No. 6,757,740 is titled "Systems and Methods for Determining, Collecting, and Using Geographic Locations of Internet Users," with technology dating back to 1999.
Every computer that communicates over the Internet is assigned an IP address. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255.
With Digital Envoy’s patent, websites can target content, advertising, or route traffic depending upon the geographic locations of their visitors.
Through website requests for geographic information, a central database tracks an Internet user's traffic on the web whereby a profile can be generated.
The invention also uses a central database that can store visitor's preferences as to what content should be delivered to an IP address, the available interface, and the network speed associated with that IP address.
Geo-location technology is not new, but Digital Envoy's Sanjay Parekh said the technology was thought of as inaccurate because attempts were made to geo-target Internet users by relying on things such as registry information.