Question about public ISP numbers and uniqueness

IP Address Questions and AnswersQuestion about public ISP numbers and uniqueness
Vignesh Krishnan asked 2 years ago

We operate a company in the survey space and we had a question -  we're trying to balance survey uniqueness (one respondent takes a survey only 1 time) but also with the fact that 10000s of users may be signed up on "AT&T Miami" or "Verizon New York". That is, there may be 1000s of people on the the same IP address and we don't want to disallow everyone from taking a survey just because 1 person took a survey.
Our issue is that we need to allow every unique person to take a survey, but also, we don't want to use cookies to track uniqueness because that can be easily cleared.
Is there a way to track "the device" they are taking the surveys from without using the IP (thousands of people may have the same IP). We'd also like to not use cookies because like I mentioned, those can be cleared easily, and people may use multiple browsers so a cookie won't be consistent across browers.
Or, another way to ask the question is - is there a way to "know" which phone belongs to user A as opposed to user B from amongst 1000s of people who are using the same IP address, but at the same time determine uniqueness without using cookies?

4 Answers
Best Answer
wimiadmin Staff answered 2 years ago

Cookies would definitely solve the problem....but since you don't want to use cookies, lets look at other options.
When you say 1,000's of people on the same IP, I'm trying to picture this scenario. In the US, this is unlikely, unless you're specifically targeting college kids that might all visit your website from the college wifi. 100's of people using the same IP if you're targeting hotel guests and they're all taking the survey from the hotel wifi. Both of these scenarios are unlikely.
I think instead of making this too complicated at the moment that you put out a test survey and review your results and log files. If many users come from the same IP address, review the IP addresses and suspected user base and determine what would best help you move forward.
Not everyone who is on the AT&T Miami will share the same IP address, nor will the same IP show for everyone of the Verizon New York connection.

Vignesh Krishnan answered 2 years ago

Hi Wimi admin - thanks for the response and helping us think through this.
I guess you're right that there will be "multiple routers" for AT&T in a city - not sure how many people will be on it - 10s or 100s or 1000s. If it's 10s or 100s, it's not so bad.
On a similar note, I noticed that after going to your site - "", I got the '5 attempts error'. Basically, gave me an error stating that I had reached my lookup limit.
Couple of questions with regards to that - a) Is that a daily limit/ weekly limit? b) how do you all track that - is it just IP address based? Using my wife's phone she got the same error after a further 5 attempts, so seems it's not IP based because we got a total of 10 tries!
Also, on your previous comment, your college or organization example is a good one. There may be many people on that same IP and not being able access our surveys, specifically if it's a targeted survey. The more people there are on a single IP , the worse it is for us. We're just trying to avoid choking our own traffic :).

wimiadmin Staff answered 2 years ago

The lookup limit is in place for 24 hours. If someone needs more lookups, they can sign up for a free or paid account that suits their needs.

I can't reveal how we monitor and limit our traffic. It's combination of things to make sure we're truly limiting only those who are doing more than 5 lookups per 24 hour period. We're not perfect, I promise, but we're mostly happy with what we have in place currently.

If you and your wife are on the same mobile provider, disconnect from your wifi and go to our homepage from each phone. I'll bet you each have your own separate IP address and don't share a single IP.

Vignesh Krishnan answered 2 years ago

Hi wimiadmin, thanks for the response. I appreciate your responses.
As a follow up, per your above note, we did try disconnecting and using our phones to get to your site, and it's displaying the same IP for both of us via Miami, FL  even though we are nowhere close to there. In fact, we tried driving around a few miles too and the IP address remained the same , sigh!
In any case, no further questions here - appreciate the follow up. Have a great day.

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