Free tool reveals blog commentators’ exact location (GDPR Radar)!
Do you want to know the countries and cities of your blog commentators? Or you have just someone you want to know where he/she is commenting from.
I will show you how to locate their cities so easily using free tools.
There are a couple of tools out there that give you broader stats on where a percentage of your readers come from. Alexa, for instance will openly state:
Not everyone reading your blog ends up with a comment. So these stats are not so very important in the context. We are interested about those who drop comments. Where are they commenting from?
Why is this important?
The world is weird and people need information for different reasons. Has someone ever dropped a comment telling you he’s commenting from X location?
Yes I have had so many of such cases. And fortunately for me, most of my readers are genuine. I will show you a case just in a couple of minutes. So keep reading.
Locate your blog commentators with WordPress.
I do not blog on other platforms so I don’t know much about anything else. WordPress is my best blogging platform so I’ll be pulling materials for the post from WP.
Once someone drops a comment on your blog, he doesn’t only leave the comment. Well, he may add his name, email, website, Twitter handle, etc.
But WordPress will pick something else and add to it. And that’s what helps us know the comment author’s country and city. This is the commentators’ Public IP Address.
This IP Address is what gives us access to the Internet. Whether the address is fixed or dynamic does not really matter in this case.
The American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN)
ARIN is an organisation that supports the operation and growth of the Internet. It maintains the WHOIS Database of IP addresses and their different contacts and registration materials.
Internet Service Providers (ISP) obtain and register IPs with ARIN. These IPs are then assigned to their users and customers when they connect to the net. So right now as you are connected to the Internet, you have been assigned an IP address.
The way your ISP assigns its IPs to customers differ. This may affect the accuracy of trying to locate someone from the IP address.
This is even more difficult with mobile phones are they are carried from region to region. In the process, they obtain new addresses from different cell towers.
But the commentator’s IP address from WP, at the moment of commenting tells you where the author was located during commenting.
So how do you get the information?
Go to your WP comment moderation page. There you find the IP addresses of your comment authors. Now, Pick it over to an IP location tool.
For the sake of this demo, let’s use iplocation.net
Enter the IP address in the form field and hit the IP Lookup button.
The Iplocation tool actually connects and pulls data from different Geolocation Providers. Each of these Geolocation Providers gets their IP address information from ARIN.
To see what the results look like, let’s take a case study.
Lorraine Reguly, one of my pals and a fabulous editor dropped a comment and mentioned she lives in Canada:
Did she really make this comment from Canada? Let’s find out.
First, I’m going to login to my comment dashboard and grab her IP address.
Now move to the iplocation.net tool to find out:
What are the results?
Results from all Geolocation Providers give us her City (Thunder Bay), Region (Ontario) and Country (Canada).
Basically, this is how to know the exact location of your comment authors.
How accurate is this?
This can never be 100% accurate. But for the most part, you are going to get more accurate results whether the commentator is on mobile Phone or PC.
Note however that this can be tricked by using Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Blog Commenting and the GDPR
Will GDPR change the way WP collects data from commentators?
Basically, we require the commentator’s Email, Name, Website and to an extent, Twitter handle. This is for standard WP commenting system.
The user’s IP address is picked without consent. But the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) says that IP addresses should be treated as personal data:
Your visitors’ IP address is required for different crucial purposes, including security and analytics. It will just be as hard to run a successful online business without collecting this data.
A lot has been said these days as as the GDPR started applying in all Member States of the European Union (“EU”) from the 25th of May 2018.
Depending on the nature of your blog, you may have to give the regulation serious attention. This doesn’t really matter where you’re blogging from. It’s about where your services/products are consumed.
Generally, if European readers/consumers are not required on your blog, you may as well set any GDPR document on fire.
Have you updated your Privacy page? What’s your Privacy statement regarding blog commenting user data (Including their IP addresses) ?
Drop your comments and let’s fire up a conversation.