Our B2B marketing manager was asking me if there is a way to take the IP's we store of visitors to our website and get business name, address, and possibly phone from it. (I personally think it would be creepy if I visited someone's page and then they called me out of the blue trying to sell me their stuff, but whateve).

Anyway, to my (limited) knowledge the best we could do is take the IP and look up the ISP and the general vicinity, but that would only show where the node was they use, e.g. even if they were in SF, it would just show the node they are using in Fremont. Furthermore, ISP's don't make that information public, so you would have to call them to get specific information about that IP. They won't be willing to do this for privacy concerns. Not to mention most companies take measures to block their public IP from being associated with them.

She found a company called Lead Forensics that claims they can get business name, phone, address, what pages they viewed and for how long, etc... a long list of things.

Can someone shed some light on this? Is this company making false claims? Is all you can really do (without breaking the law or violating privacy rights) is just get the ISP and node location the business is using?


2 Answers 2


You are correct in your suspicion that attempting to do any level of useful individual user identification by IP address is going to be generally impossible.

Even if you can identify the IP block as being owned by a specific business, the contact information will be for a technical department that is the equivalent of a corporate ISP, and you will find them less than helpful if you attempt to use them to identify which of their 50,000 employees/contractors/guest wireless visitors happened to be on your website at a specific time. If they even have that information in the first place.

What companies like Lean Forensics do, I'm assuming from what I see on their website, is something that you cannot. They likely act like an advertising network, aggregating data and tracking users across the entire Internet, and gathering and buying information about those users. Then, when users they know about access your website, they can uniquely identify them and associate them with data they've already gathered elsewhere. However, it's also not going to be 100% effective. They'll only be able to provide information on users that they both have information on in the first place, and can identify as specific users they're tracking. Since IP addresses are shared and can be reassigned, it also won't be as accurate as what you'd get with a typical ad-network that uses techniques like tracking cookies instead of IP addresses alone. Ethics and creepiness factors aside, it is, however, far superior to anything you'd be able to come up solely from the data you have in your logs.


I think what you are looking for is 'whois [ip]'

  • 1
    That gives you information about the IP address owner, (often an ISP) and not the web user, which the poster already apparently understands.
    – Xander
    Jan 12, 2017 at 20:33

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