Geotargeting Your Visitors
Why should you restrict visitors to your website?
After all, the internet is a global, mass, communication medium – isn’t it great to share and not be selfish about it? Well that’s of course a very valid point, and early on during the first years of global internet access everything was pretty much open. Mostly the boundaries were technical, for instance if you wanted to find a book stored somewhere in Wales – the answer was available. However to interrogate the database which held this information you had to telnet into the University of Wales library in Aberystwyth, which was cool for geeks looking for a book but not so good for people who had no idea what TELNET meant.
The internet has of course changed greatly, and accessibility is perhaps one of the biggest areas of change. Now anyone can access a website without difficulty, you don’t need to learn different programs. There is simply no need to learn about ARCHIE, GOPHUR<, TELNET or FreeAgent depending on what you where looking for or trying to access. Now the majority of the population can find whatever they want simply by using search engines. You can track down that file, article or video from your mobile phone whilst sitting on your bus to work. It needs no special knowledge or technical insight.
The internet became fabulously open, but as web visitors rose from 100’s to millions suddenly it became important to web site owners to control who watched their content. Now it sounds rather nasty and commercial, but the reality is that bandwidth costs money. So imagine you’re a business in a small town in Texas, you take some advice and decide that a few sexy adverts would really sell your business to prospective buyers of your luxury lingerie. Great, you employ a local model and a video company based down the road and shoot a wonderfully sexy video displaying your products. It’s a fantastic idea, but in reality you may have some problems. Your first month with your video displayed on your site may be a storming success due to views, but then you’ll get the bill for the bandwidth your video has consumed.
This is the problem, your sexy video, may become popular but perhaps to the wrong people. High class expensive lingerie from the US, will probably not sell to hundreds of thousands of viewers watching from Eastern Europe. However you will still incur bandwidth charges from wherever people watch this video. The big companies soon realised this and took moves to take control. After all when you think about it, the big sites have lots of worries about allowing unrestricted access to their content. Media sites for example need permission to broadcast shows to certain countries, so for instance – BBC Iplayer USA sounds great except when you discover there’s a different website designed to serve the US for a small fee – who’s going to use the US version if you can watch the UK one for free?
Of course nobody will, and as the internet expands web site owners are forced into the same dilemma, bandwidth costs money and so you need to ensure that only prospective purchasers watch things like video and audio streams. The solution is geotargeting where you look up the location of each and every visitor to your website, then make a small decision on what they can see on the site. You can redirect them to an appropriate language, give them a neat message or simply block access to specific areas of your site to minimize costs. So it will possibly lead to certain posts liek this one – how to watch BBC iplayer in USA posts where people seek to bypass these blocks but it will at least spare you the huge bandwidth costs of unlimited traffic.