Digital Element: 20 years providing geolocation of users to advertisers

Digital Element, the Atlanta-based technology company that pioneered the geolocation and IP intelligence industry, is now 20 years old. Digital Element introduced in 1999 its NetAcuity technology, which enables advertisers to target geographically users by IP address.

Digital Element’s data is used by many companies like Facebook, Hubspot, eBay, Netflix, Pinterest, Twitter, BBC, Sony, Hulu, Adobe, Intuit, and many more.

Initially focused on solutions for online advertising, Digital Element is also enabling applications on localized content, enhanced analytics, fraud detection and prevention, digital rights management, and mobile targeting.

“When you consider that the majority of start-ups don’t make it past their fifth year and the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company is now less than 18 years, I feel very proud about the path we’ve chosen in terms of the evolution of our solutions,” said Rob Friedman, co-founder and executive vice president at Digital Element. “Our geolocation and IP intelligence solutions were engineered in Atlanta―before the city became a world-renowned technology hub. Our company was one of the few that came out of the dot-com bust relatively unscathed. And, we were making privacy-sensitive data available to companies before it became such an important factor in interacting with digital consumers in more socially responsible and respectful ways.”

Digital Element says that has the ability to deliver 10 times more unique global locations than its nearest competitor (2 million versus 200,000). It does this based on investments in diverse data sourcing (infrastructure, GPS, Wi-Fi triangulation, etc.).

“All of our research and development has paid off exponentially,” said Friedman. “We can now pinpoint more locations with a higher order of magnitude than any competitor. Inferior geolocation data solutions are rendered nearly unusable in a world that requires high levels of accuracy and depth for today’s business applications. In the long run, the refusal to invest in proven solutions will cost companies more than they’ll save.”

The milestones of Digital Element

  • 1999: First introduced NetAcuity and pioneered the “geo-intelligence” or “geo-location” space
  • 2001: Introduced new databases, including connection speed, domain name, ISP, language and other characteristics about online users
  • 2002: Named Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum (and in 2003)
  • 2004: Issued patent for technology based on identifying location of Internet users to the city level utilizing IP addresses
  • 2005: Parent company Digital Envoy creates two business units: Digital Element and Digital Resolve
  • 2007: Acquired by Landmark Communications, Inc.
  • 2008: Keynote Assessment provided third-party validation for accuracy of location data and collection methods
  • 2009: Introduced NetAcuity EdgeTM, the first validated, global, partner-contributed geographic ZIP code and postcode level data
  • 2010: Opened first European office in London and expanded international sales team
  • 2011: Introduced IPv6 geographic database to address accessibility issues
  • 2012: Launched NetAcuity Developer’s Edition for evaluation, small deployments and developmental purposes
  • 2013: Received accreditation for the geographic location identifications reported by its NetAcuity platform from the Media Rating Council (MRC); and issued patent for hyperlocal geolocation technology
  • 2014: Introduced NetAcuity PulseTM, the industry’s first mobile-centric IP targeting solution
  • 2015: Launched GeoMprintTM, a new reverse geocoding solution
  • 2016: Received a GLOBE (Georgia Launching Opportunities by Exporting) Award from The International Trade Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development for expansion into Brazil; and became the only provide to offer a ZIP+4 IP-based targeting solution
  • 2018: Introduced industry’s first IP-to-Point-of-Interest (POI) database; and awarded MarTech Breakthrough Award for Best Geolocation Platform