Why the location from an IP Address may be unreliable and what to do instead

  • Updated
Act-On uses IP addresses to determine location through a third-party provider.

IP addresses are not a perfect means to identify a physical location, but some services can provide accurate locations by aggregating different data points:

  • Autonomous System Numbers (ASN) assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
  • IP hierarchies from a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), National Internet Registry (NIR), or a Local Internet Registry (LIR)
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) IP information
  • Named host and node details
  • Self-reported information

These pieces of information are combined with other details that may be known, such as the physical address of a company office or data center, to provide reasonably accurate location details.

However, it is very easy to fool such a system accidentally or intentionally. For example, if you update your Facebook status from the on-board WiFi on a Delta Airlines flight it will likely say that you are at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia as this is Delta's home base and the location most associated with the IP address of the plane or network you are on.

As remote work has increased in recent years, misaligned location data is becoming more and more common, particularly for B2B sales. The location of a contact's place of business may be very different from where they are working from.

Because of this, we do not recommend relying on GEOIP data from Act-On reports to make key business decisions.

What can I do instead?

We always recommend gathering basic location data directly from your prospects and contacts. Any combination of country, state, city, and zip code information will always be more reliable than using GEOIP data to determine which sales region a prospect should be assigned to. 

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