Whatsmyip.com is a site tool that I use quite often. I like to turn on the VPN and surf anonymously under some circumstances. It’s not what you think… you can access content on certain services that you would not otherwise if accessing from the USA. Movies, TV shows, etc. Sometimes this will allow you to get around blocked content at work as well. Yeah there are other things… I’m not going to call anyone out here, you know who you are (Shane).
The tool allows me to quickly see if my VPN is working and if it is working properly. There are times when I pick a location, like say England for example. When I check my ip I find that I am really connected to a server in Kiribati. That won’t do.
Richard Andersson, founder of WhatsMyIP.com tells us about the name, the business, and himself.
Mike: What drove your interest in the idea of creating a site that would allow people to see their IP address easily?
Richard: I often try to create a tool or site that solves my own questions and if I think others might be able to make use of it then I polish the UX a bit and then publish it.
WhatsMyIP.Com is one of those sites. I wanted to show specific content only for myself during development and to do so I needed to know my own IP quickly. Later on, when I was trying to figure out who the owner was of a domain that I wanted to buy, I realized that there was no good whois data available – Sadly the GDPR has made that tool less functional now. I had to delete all contact details.
Mike: There is more to WhatsMyIp.com than just looking up your IP address. You offer an API, recommend VPN software, and articles. The site is free to use. How do you monetize it?
Richard: I run normal banners on the site as the main source of income. I used to run standard Adsense ads but I have been fortunate enough to be accepted into the https://holid.io platform which increases the income a lot. And then it’s the normal API subscriptions that also push the income a bit higher. I hope to continue the development of tools to monetize on the site. Also, thanks to the fairly big traffic the site receives, I’m also able to shuffle traffic around to more profitable sites and better-converting projects I own.
Mike: The business, or platform behind WhatsMyIP.com seems pretty complicated to an average guy like me. Did you build the site on your own? When did it launch?
Richard: Yes, I have developed websites since the late 90s and it would feel strange to have someone else doing all the fun stuff, even though I have tried to hire developers a few times for various projects but I have always ended up recoding everything from the ground up myself, all except one site at the moment. Most projects are sadly “crash and burns” where I just use them myself, but then every once and awhile there is a massive traffic increase and that’s the best sort of praise I can get.
WhatsMyIP has been around since 2001-12-27: https://whatsmyip.com/whois-history/whatsmyip.com but I was able to acquire it in 2017.
Mike: What has been the largest benefit of owning a keyword domain name?
Richard: It’s so easy to get traffic. Except for the first couple of weeks after launching the site I have never needed to reach out for a link or even being mentioned. I am amazed that I get new links on a daily basis – And they are good links! From well know authors that write multiple pages of network articles and then throws in a solid link to WhatsMyIP.Com. I wish getting links would be this simple all the time…
Mike: What information can one gain from an IP and why is it important to sometime hide your IP?
Richard: Individuals usually just like to make sure they spoof their geolocation when watching Netflix movies or similar due to that some movies are geolocation bound if you are in Europe your not able to watch some series that are available in the USA. While others have network issues and need to share their IP to get help or access to various things, very often games. And then there are developers like me who just very quickly need to know their public IP for various reasons.
Some IP API customers use the service to make the best possible assumption about what language to be used for their website visitors upon their first visit. It’s mostly language or community-related stuff, showing the local news with the best possible targeting.
When I first launched the site I thought more visitors would be trying to do Sherlock Holmes stuff, trying to find and trace individuals. But that’s not the case even though some use it to filter out spam and to confirm scammers.
You are usually able to figure out in which city the IP originates from.
Mike: Can you share what you paid for the name and any traffic statistics?
Richard: I have the domain for a longtime lease. I pay a hefty sum of money every month just to “lease/rent” the domain. But the domain is mine to lease for as long as I want. Due to the contract, I’m sadly not allowed to disclose what I pay per month for the domain, but the traffic is very good and I have managed to double the traffic every year. I think there is still a lot more to gain.
Mike: Do you own any other names or are you planning any additional online businesses in the near future?
Richard: Yes, WhatsMyIP.Com is just one of the many sites I’ve built since I started as a Webmaster. My most successful and profitable site is my Swedish Economy site Statsskuld, it’s in fact translated into English here: https://statsskuld.se/en/
Besides that, I just bought the domain: www.viewdns.com, and added all the tools I needed myself in my daily work. I paid good money for that domain resulting in that I decided to put in some extra time with the UX, please give it a try. The traffic is increasing thanks to that the site is so fast in its lookups, but I do know it still lacks a few functions.
I try to make use of big data, it might not look like that at first glance, but I already store over 90 million historical DNS records and its increasing with over a million per day.
Other than that I also own www.whatismyip.org which is the only site I’ve not coded myself, but I’m working on a new one. The site/service you see there now was something I bought and quickly customized it just to be able to monetize on the traffic the domain already got.
I used to run my own hosting company, resulting in that I have good knowledge of hosting and servers, so all my sites run on their own machines/vps. I’m very happy with the infrastructure.
Fun note; I have built my sites during long nights, and on trains commuting back and forth to my 8-5 job. My job titles have been developer, programmer, system developer, frontend developer, full-stack system developer and later on also CTO.
But the very first title I took upon myself back in the late 90s was Webmaster, and now that I have quit my day job and run my sites fulltime; I have decided to stick with Webmaster, being the master of the web has a good ring to it, I hope more site owners go back to their roots.