Geolocation services: what's good, what's not?

Sam Kington sam at
Wed Dec 3 00:49:17 GMT 2014


The new EU VAT rules require us to work out where a customer is so we can charge the right VAT rate.

The customer's billing address is obvious, and we can get the issuing bank and country from our credit card supplier if they don't do something stupid and pay with an American Express card. What about IP addresses, though? What do people currently use for geolocation?

Our risk-assessment code uses IP::World at the moment, and that appears to do the job but we haven't really looked at it, because we don't particularly care: it's just one of many checks we do to determine whether a new customer is trustworthy or not. Is this something the VAT man will trust? Does using its updater script make a difference? If not, what have people had luck with? Reasonable fees are acceptable; the business understands that building this sort of database is hard and annoying.


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