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Thursday, October 05, 2006

They know where we live


OK, here's a puzzle I don't quite understand. I called up an article in Britain's
Independent newspaper today, and in the sidebar was an ad for a singles dating service. The headline: find singles in Tellico Plains, with photos of three lovely young ladies supposedly from the place.

Well, Tellico Plains is a tiny town about 30 miles from here, over the mountains and the state line in Tennessee.

And this is a newspaper in the UK.

How do they know I live near Tellico Plains?

Is it because I linked to the story from Yahoo! News? And since Yahoo! knows where I live (as I'm a My Yahoo! subscriber, with localized page and an email account), do they feed that info to newspaper sites? Or is there some deal where newspapers get a special ad link from a Yahoo! link?

What's the deal?
(Note, thanks to SpaceCoastWeb's explanation in the comments. Makes sense a bit, but I don't dialup to a local ISP, although I guess they could base it on the ISP's local phone number...But that's not in Tennessee. Why don't they target here?)

(photo: near downtown Tellico Plains, Saturday)

2 Comments:

  • Your IP address is available to any website you view. Over the last few years, geolocation of IP addresses has been used to target ads based on a viewer's metro region.

    With dialup, you can use different ISP access numbers to spoof your location, if you are willing to call long distance.

    Using an online proxy server will defeat the backtrace. Instead of ads for your hometown, you would recieve ads targeted for wherever the proxy is located.

    By Blogger spacecoastweb, at 1:32 PM  

  • It's the same principal if you don't use dialup. On DSL or another high-speed connection, ISP own ranges of IP addresses that can be geographically referenced, although as you found out, it's sometimes in the ballpark, not exact. And sometimes it's not even in the ballpark.

    By Blogger derek, at 2:19 PM  

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