On June 8, 2011, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo join content delivery networks Akamai and Limelight, as well as the Internet Society, to test the next-generation Internet protocol, IPv6. The companies support more than one billion combined Web site visits daily. All plan to enable the IPv6 protocol on their main services for 24 hours. I detailed this back in January. Now the day is upon us.
While IPv4 only provides location data to target ads based on approximate locations such as cities of "postal ZIP codes + four," Quova executive Evelyn Dixon said IPv6 will give marketers and advertisers more precise targeting by connecting each device to its own IP address. That will allow advertisers to target more precisely. When I asked about the personally identifiable information gleaned from that one-on-one connection, she said companies in the ad space and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will need to renegotiate the newly mandated privacy laws when the next-generation Internet protocol rolls out.
Today, Quova's technology relies on IP geolocation, which determines the physical location and Internet connection characteristics of Web visitors, and then taps this data to target and serve up information. It can identify anything with an IP address such as Google TVs, laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones and any other Internet-connected device requiring an IP address.
On Wednesday, Global Crossing -- an IP, Ethernet, data center and video solutions provider -- said it would join the test, too. The company said in a press release that it will increase technical support for customers and visitors testing their ability to connect that day to the company's IPv6-enabled Web site. It also will provide advice through a corporate Facebook page and a hashtag on Twitter (#IPv6Day >>) to communicate with users for the day.
Quova's Web site describes the next version of the Internet protocol as using 128-bit characters, making it possible to have 340,282,366,920,938,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP addresses.