Also known as IP tracking software, an IP tracker is a software tool that makes it possible to convert an Internet protocol address into a host name, and identify various types of information that is associated with that host name. Depending on how the tracking software is configured, the data captured may include location, contact telephone numbers, and other data. The information collected using an IP tracker can sometimes aid in the development of sales campaigns, the preparation of studies regarding consumer habits online, and other essential tasks that aid in enhancing online business opportunities.
There are a number of variations on the IP tracker, depending on the intended purpose for the tracking activity. Many sites use what is known as a web site visitor tracker that makes it possible to collect information like the general location of the visitor, or perhaps even the city or town where the visitor is located. While applications of this type do not generally contain any type of malicious code that continues to track movements after the visitor leaves the web site, the software will sometimes be flagged as a privacy invasion by anti-virus software. When this takes place, the anti-virus program will typically block the IP tracker and make identifying the location of the visitor impossible.
As part of the overall process, some forms of the IP tracker will attempt to related the IP address to other information regarding the host name that is readily available in various databases open to the general public. For example, the IP tracker may convert the address to a host name, then proceed to scan different databases to tie back information such as physical and mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and other pieces of information that can be used in some type of direct mail campaign. This process is initiated when an individual visits a web site, the data is captured, and then distributed to different businesses that offer goods and services somehow connected with the content of the visited web site or one of the ads that the visitor clicked on while at the site.
Businesses may also use an IP tracker as a way of getting an idea of how many visitors from a general location are visiting the web site on a daily basis. This data can be helpful in determining ways to make the site more attractive to a significant number of people residing in a given area, which in turn is likely to increase traffic and generate additional revenue for the web site owner. Even retail businesses that operate a web site along with brick and mortar establishments may find this data useful, since identifying where site visitors are located may provide information that aids in deciding where to open new stores, based on the consistency and number of visitors connected with a given location.