ACSP Suggestion 2010.2: Vendor Usage of IP Addresses for Geo-Location
Author: Guillermo Mena
Submitted On: 27 January 2010
Recently I have had trouble activating software bought online (and downloaded) which checks for my location to be in the United States as part of the installation process. My IP reflects that I live in Puerto Rico, which is politically part of the United States, but the software insists that I am not in the United States. I am sending this in the hope that ARIN might clarify that Puerto Rico is part of the United States when IP’s from Puerto Rico are checked.
(The problem has happened with two games from publisher Electronic Arts, which even forwards Puerto Rico IP’s to their Spain store and quotes us prices in Euros. I have written them with no response.)
While I have not had the issue arise with other software this does not mean it doesn’t occur. For example, a check on craigslist.org will show that even though they list Puerto Rico as a United States “city”, our category listings still show the Erotic Services category which in the US has been replaced with Adult Services. (The change was done in the US for legal reasons and – although I do not know the specific coding of the website – has probably not been done for Puerto Rico because the software doesn’t realize we also fall under United States legal jurisdiction.)
If you can help at all in this matter, even if just by providing guidance, I would appreciate it. If this is not the proper forum to make this suggestion, please advice..
Status: Closed Updated: 10 February 2010
10 February 2010
Thank you for your suggestion that ARIN help vendors better utilize IP addresses for the purposes of geo-location.
ARIN is not the proper forum to address this issue as it is not related to how ARIN collects and reports data, but rather how other entities use various data sources to determine a geographic location based on an IP address. The information published in ARIN’s Whois directory service is freely available to the public, including those companies that provide geo-location services to companies like Craigslist and Electronic Arts. Content and service providers act independently in this regard, and frequently get data through third-parties. Whether or not that data is used correctly is beyond ARIN’s purview.
It is a recognized problem that some major content providers use geo-location databases which misidentify blocks of IP addresses. A participant in the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) has established a wiki that describes the problem and offers helpful suggestions for fixing the problem, found at:
Hopefully this wiki will assist you in your endeavors. Suggestion 2010.2 is now closed.