Is IP Address Marketing Legal?

The interactive advertising bureau is an advertising business organization that creates standards for the marketing industry. They conduct research and give legal support for all people within the online advertising industry. 

The interactive advertising bureau defines IP targets as a message that is delivered to a user’s location determined by their Internet Protocol address, or IP address. The IP address is a line of numbers that have been assigned to an internet connection by the internet provider. 

Acquiring IP addresses to use for marketing can be tricky. They are hard to find. Most people don’t have a clue what their IP address is, and a lot of organizations don’t collect it when gathering personal data for marketing lists. 

There are businesses that have a role in IP targeting that can create a list of IP addresses. How they get these IP addresses, however, can be an ethical issue. U.S. privacy laws do not allow companies to match IP addresses with personal identifiable information (PII). 

Therefore, these companies can gather personal identifiable information, as well as IP addresses, but if they connect them together, they can be treading in illegal waters. That makes it harder for companies to tag IP addresses with people’s demographics. 

When these firms connect the personal data with IP addresses it is considered cyber stalking. Cyber stalking is the inappropriate use of online electronic communications to harass or frighten someone. This means harassing them with multiple advertisements, which means this is illegal. 

Companies can focus more on household data, instead of personal data. Connecting household data with IP addresses is legal and can provide a list of IP addresses with household information that can be used for marketing campaigns. 

One downfall of IP address targeting is that it may not be the exact location of where it says it is. For example, if you are targeting an IP address that leads back to Boston, MA then you would think it would lead to a household in Boston. 

However, this IP address may be assigned from a company in Boston that is providing service for a remote worker in Miami, FL. So be sure to remember while it may be that location, it also may not be. 

Another issue is that there are IP allocation processes that can allow for individuals to have a new IP address every time they log onto the internet. This makes it harder for marketing lists to stay accurate with useable information. 

This also means that companies have to keep constantly testing, refreshing, and updating their lists. It also means that if you were to buy a list of IP addresses to use for IP marketing, then it may become obsolete in the near future. So, you will end up having to buy another list or gather more IP addresses continually. 

There are other technologies like geofencing advertising that can help you achive the same goal.

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