Google, Yahoo and IP Geolocation

Geolocation,Search,SEM,SEO by on December 29, 2006 at 2:43 am

I continue to think about the fact that Google is in the Czech market before Yahoo. I wonder how many other countries this is true for?

Fundamentally, I believe this is due to the fact that search is core for Google, but it isn’t core for Yahoo – content is. Related to the “peanut butter” problem, the barriers for localizing all of Yahoo’s content are tremendous, but it is far easier for Google to make its core search and adwords available in a new language. Just imagine trying to transalate and You’ll quickly be able to see how much harder Yahoo’s job is.

Google began licensing IP geolocation technology over 6 years ago. The most visible use of this technology is the country level redirects they do (visitors to from the Czech Republic are automatically redirected to However, the technology enables a number of other critical components of Google’s business:

  • Search anywhere. Not only can you send users to a localized version, but you can figure out where servers are hosted, helping to match users with content relevant to them and their country.
  • Adwords anywhere. You can buy keywords in any country (and in most major cities). Since Google is easily able to customize search for any country they can also sell adds in any country (payment options obviously being one of the most major hurdles)
  • Adsense anywhere. Because Google can distinguish the country of visitors (and has ad inventory), Google can accept publishers that receive traffic from anywhere. Seriously, how absurd is it that YPN is only accepting publishers that receive US traffic?

Panama is Yahoo’s first step towards utilizing IP geolocation technologies, but this is all in the Overture division. I suspect that Yahoo is far from integrating these technologies into its search core. Yahoo had better get moving – 6 years is a lot of time to make up.


  1. […] Google, Yahoo and IP Geolocation […]

  2. Lucian — February 15, 2007 @ 7:00 am

    It’s not too hard to build a database with IP’s and countries, you can get one exameple from

  3. davenaff — February 15, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    It is very easy to build a crappy IP Geolocation datbased and lots of people have done it. For example, many people just take the regional registries (RIPE, ARIN, etc.) and call it a day.

    It is very hard to determine if an IP geo database is any good. And even harder to actually build a highly accurate database.

  4. […] International Sites, particularly Asian sites (Baidu, Sohu, Sina, Yandex, etc.). I can’t speak to the quality of these sites, but four of them are in Alexa’s top 20 and others are very popular. Digg and Digg users would certainly benefit from international versions of its site. (Hint, follow the Google model, not the Yahoo model). […]

  5. […] The only solace I take in any of this is that the question of whether companies can comply with state or national laws online is no longer at issue. Years ago, the IP geolocation industry was set back by Yahoo’s insistence, that Yahoo couldn’t technically comply with a French ruling to remove Nazi memorabilia from their site (ironically, Yahoo’s refusal to utilize IP geolocation technologies set them back several years on Google). […]

  6. Milly — January 28, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

    The best company with the most accurate IP geolocation data is Quova – they are the market leader and power all of the major search engines. Check out http://www.quova.comor download this whitepaper – its excellent:

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