sv_region no longer has any effect on how your server appears in the listings.
Short answer is you’re screwed. Garry / Facepunch / Rubat / whoever cannot fix this, only Valve can and they refuse to do so as they consider it a positive, not a negative. If you want to maintain a playerbase, you may very well need to move your server, presuming you don’t have any other quality issues with your server.
I’ve got the same issue with a dedicated server from Limestone in Dallas. They don’t seem to have any other locations. Am I forced to switch providers entirely to overcome this issue? That seems silly…
Is there no way to spoof my geolocation? I don’t know much about this. Can I setup another ip (located in the northeast for instance), that just points to my server?
Is there a tool or some way I can see where exactly my server is visible from? If really nobody can see it I guess I just admit I’ve wasted money and switch hosts… But it’s hard to tell if it’s just me and the few people I’ve asked or if it’s the whole of garrysmod players.
I don’t know of any tool like that, but I do know if you whois the top IP’s on gametracker some of them are using Limestone as well, so I guess they got populated somehow.
Seeing as LSN is located in the Central US (Texas) it’s probably visible to at least all US / NA players. Aside from that I’m not sure. That being said though I don’t know exactly how Valve’s fuckery works.
I’m going to give a general answer to everyone here RE geo-ip and so on.
In terms of geo-ip; Valves implementation is far from perfect and it seems even having a “bad IP” can easily be detrimental to server popularity. Certain IPs seem to almost ignore the whole geo-ip system and can be seen regardless of where they are. Fair it is not and honestly I wish Valve would revert it.
That said -
To pin all your server problems on geo-ip should be a final and absolute last resort. Look at the type of server you’re hosting, the attitudes your admins have, the content that goes with this server. If you’re running generic DarkRP#123 with Codehire / ScriptFodder addons #123 you’re generally going to find you’re competing with a huge number of servers with nothing making it stand out.
If you want to test if it’s geo-ip screwing you up or your server content, open a fresh server elsewhere with the exact same content then try and populate it with friends. If you do this during peak hours you’ll find either more players join (and stay) or no players join. If it’s the latter it’s probably your content. If it’s the former then you have geo-ip issues.
It’s interesting you mention Dallas, Texas because I actually moved my game servers from Montreal, Canada (iWeb) to Dallas, Texas (Quadranet). Upon doing that I’ve seen some crazy spike of 700% increase of players and about a 500% increase in player retention. The gamemodes themselves went unchanged but now instead of getting players that are primarily Canadian (with the occasional New Yorker) I’m now getting players from all over North America and South America as well.