Today ZIP codes matter more than ever in business. They provide a simple way to locate people, places and things and even get used as identity verification for credit card transactions (try using an Amex card at a gas pump).In this issue, I have a company for you that specializes in ZIP codes and has Web tools that will allow you to create Web applications for such things as identifying the nearest store based on location.The company is Zipwise and it offers three products: Hosted Dealer Locator, Geotargeting, and Developer Tools.The Hosted Dealer Locator is currently in beta and is free. You simply register, upload your dealers' names, contact details, and locations. Then you specify a logo, title, and background color to use, test your custom locator, and then copy the code Zipwise generates to your Web site.The final result is a form complete with your logo into which a user can enter their ZIP code. When submitted a pop-up window appears with a list of your dealers and their details ranked in distance order from the user's given ZIP code. Each dealer entry also has a link to a MapQuest map and driving directions. Very cool.Zipwise Geotargeting is a database of 1.7 million records that contains the beginning and end range of allocated IP address blocks with their 2-letter country code, country name, state or province, city name, region or municipality, latitude, and longitude.When you visit the Zipwise Geotargeting page, you'll see a Google map with your location as identified by the Geotargeting database. For me this shows me as being in darkest Los Angeles when I am, in reality, some 60 miles east of there which shows that the data is only as accurate as ISPs wish to specify how and where they deploy their addresses. Even so, knowing approximately where a user is located is better than not knowing at all.Geotargeting is priced at $249 for a single user on a single workstation only and not for Web site use; at $299 for access by two or more users within a company and again not for Web sites; and at $349 for a Web license.The final Zipwise Web product is Developer Tools. These consist of code samples in a variety of languages and the Zipwise ZIP code database. The Developer tools essentially provide you with all of the components to build services equivalent to the Hosted Dealer Locator.Zipwise Developer Tools are priced at $149.