Have you encountered a website that you are trying to search for that is restricted in your country even if there is nothing malicious about it? This happens occasionally, and it is not due to a virus, a malware attack, or inappropriate content. This is due to the internet rules and regulations imposed in your country and a method called ‘geo-blocking.’
Why data is based on location
Geo-blocking is a filtering method that limits a certain region’s users in accessing certain online content. Although filtering can be done in a local modem, geo-blocking is similar to that, but it is large. One can have good intentions in applying restrictions in a modem, such as preventing kids’ access to porn. However, geo-blocking also has its benefits and negative consequences.
To explain further, here is an example. The American adaptation of the show “The Office” in the US is available on Netflix. However, in the UK, the show can be viewed on Amazon Prime, and therefore, Netflix UK cannot display the show “The Office.” You think that a show is released in Netflix USA means that it is released in your country’s Netflix, but it depends on certain aspects such as licensing agreements.
It may not be very pleasant, but geo-blocking does well in putting safeguards on the video provider’s content. It can be seen as an anti-piracy move and also bolster competition in securing licenses. However, any person who experienced internet freedom wants to stay that way. This means that there can be ways to circumvent geo-blocking methods in order to access restricted content.
It seems that most communist countries and nations that are constantly in civil conflict have their most websites restricted. Not only news websites that are blocked, even social media is banned. It can somehow be beneficial also to them so that outsiders cannot gain valuable information that may be used against them. Some countries like China banned websites so that they can launch their own versions.
The effects of geo-blocking are felt significantly in tourism. Places, where most international audiences can access, have the liberty to change their hotel rates, and plane ticket prices since those countries with limited access cannot compete. It is also the same with shopping sites, wherein the flow of resources depends on a country’s economic sanctions.
Everyday struggles of businesses experience
A video service provider without any effective geo-blocking strategies is prone to content violations. In contrast, restrictions can hamper economic competition in terms of select goods and tourism services. There is a thin line covered, and it is only a matter of which business sector can benefit the most out of geo-blocking.
Anyway, if you think about it, who blocks the content? As stated in the example, Netflix UK can’t release “The Office” due to being licensed to Amazon Prime even though Netflix USA has the show. Amazon Prime may have employed geo-blocking mechanisms, but the ones who make it happen are the internet service providers or ISPs.
Suppose a country decides to block all social media sites and porn sites. In that case, the ISPs are responsible for doing such under the government’s commands and the laws that are passed that make them official. The impact of internet middlemen is gradually increasing, and as long as there are people finding geo-blocking inconvenient, the middlemen remain to be relevant.
Fortunately, geo-blocking can be circumvented through the following tools: proxy sites, virtual private networks (VPNs), and TOR browsers. If you are in China trying to look for a vacation spot in Australia, you can browse the contents seamlessly using an Australian proxy. Find out info about an Australian proxy pool and other geolocation proxies that are relevant to your business, and learn how to bypass the restrictions with proxies.
Using the said tools not only access restricted content but can also stray away from wholesomeness. For example, certain crime syndicates use VPN to conduct their business transactions. Tor browsers can provide you access to the Deep Web, wherein far worse contents can be accessed.
As per business use cases, a proxy server is a go-to choice. Not only it ensures an extra layer of privacy, but also it allows companies to perform smooth and efficient data collection operations. While most websites have applied anti-scraping measures, including geolocation detection, proxies help you to rotate multiple IP addresses and create human-like browsing experiences.
Geo-blocking has advantages and disadvantages. Imposing restrictions can be good for protecting licensed content. Still, industries like tourism and other commodities can suffer from unfair competition. Circumventing the said method using tools like proxy sites, VPNs, and Tor browsers can be very effective. While the impact of geo-blocking varies from country to country, it is important to choose the right tool with a large IP pool, such as proxies in multiple countries.