Facebook has acquired an ICANN accredited registrar.
According to a tweet from Pinky Brand (below) the news came via an update from ICANN to registry operators
— Pinky Brand (@pinkybrand) April 14, 2016
On the GNSO Council call this evening Susan Kawaguchi confirmed the acquisition.
So who did they acquire?
They’ve acquired a registrar called RegistrarSEC (IANA ID: 2475). They’ve also been known as “Focus IP, Inc. dba AppDetex”.
If you haven’t heard of them it’s probably not that surprising. According to data from both TLD Logic and nTLDStats the registrar’s portfolio is tiny. TLD Logic reports only 8 names as of November 2015, while nTLDStats shows zero registrations in new TLDs.
According to their site, they are a corporate registrar, so they’d be playing in the same space as Mark Monitor, CSC, Com Laude.
But why would Facebook want a corporate registrar?
Acquiring a company is usually motivated by one of 3 things. Either you want their clients, their staff or their technology.
In the case of RegistrarSEC it’s not very clear which of these was the driver, but it obviously wasn’t the clients.
Facebook has recently expanded its services to target the corporate market with “Facebook At Work”. Building up a strong portfolio of services that can help serve a very lucrative, security conscious client base might be part of their plan. Bear in mind, of course, that Facebook is a very big company so this acquisition could mean a lot, or very little.
RegistrarSEC could have been acquired if Facebook acquired its parent company AppDetex, which was doing a lot of work in the area of mobile app fraud detection.
Now that technology would be something of value to a company like Facebook, which is very much a “mobile first” player these days.
Update: Apparently Facebook has NOT acquired the parent company just the registrar, so my theory about the technology was completely wrong!