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DULUTH, Ga. - Digital Envoy has won a U.S. patent for a technology it describes as "non-invasively" targeting the physical location of Web surfers, which it says is essential for doing business in cyberspace. The company's recent announcement could also accelerate a battle over the technology with Google, with Digital Envoy vice president Rob Friedman vowing the company would enforce the patent vigorously.
"We feel that no other provider will be able to offer accurate geo-location solutions without infringing on our patent rights," Friedman said in a statement. "We plan to aggressively defend our patent in order to protect the techniques, methods, and applications of this technology that offer so much value to our partners and customers."
This technology is described as pinpointing the physical location of Web surfers right down to the city level, based on IP addresses
Does anyone have a link to a more detailed description of this patent?
What if I have a database of IP ranges and their corresponding countries - does that infringe on their patent? If so, that would be going to far.
A Patent would probably strengthen Digital Envoy's position should Google try to go it alone and develop an 'inhouse' replacement....
Google currently pays US$8,000 a month for its use of the Digital Envoy technology and has offered to increase that amount by 50 percent, Kratz said. But he suspects that Google is making millions from syndicating its ads to third parties and that the court discovery process will determine just how much. That way, it can come to appropriate fees
Basically, Digital Envoy's technique comprises 3 steps (my summary):
1. use nslookup to determine the hostname and hope it contains the name of the city
2. if that fails, try to figure out the city name by tracing the request -> look at the location of switches and routers (tracert)
3. store the information in a database.
These guys should be nominated for the Nobel prize.
The technique as summarised is nothing more than the automation of what many admins already do manually when they are curious about a referer. Credit card gateways also do this to try and match the user to a geographic area. Clearcommerce uses this technique, amongst others, to combat fraud.
The database, over time might have value, but not the technique.
Digital Envoy claims they are the inventor of geo-location technology. Rubbish.
They claim a priority dating back to 1999. Rubbish.
They claim the patent was first filed before any other current geo-location company was in existence. This suggests they know full well a defunct geo-location company was in existence prior to their filing.
As I used geo-location well before 1999 I must file suits against both asap!
To quote Google Answers back in 2002:
Geolocation is a very inexact science, and the accuracy of the results are often fairly low, even
with the most advanced methods."
That's about what I thought the first time I heard about the lawsuit. I know for adwords... Google thinks I am where my T1 provider is. At work from one T1 they think I am in Texas and show Texas regional ads, Another T1 they they think another state. At home they always show me Virginia ads... though I am in Florida. If that's the basic extent of their patent, every sysop in the world will violate their patent in the course of their daily work. Somebody needs to tell the patent office folks how to go to ARIN and do a lookup. That seems to be the norm for the patent folk... they seem to be tech deficient.
But any proxy/cache (like AOL) will break the system of course. I wonder if AOL provides more specific location information to Google for their adwords?
The address is 220.253.nn.nnn - not a range we usually see in APAC.
It's the second occurrence in a month, but when trying to manage PPC ads aimed at specific markets (not all on Google), it makes a mockery of geo-targetting.