Akamai buys identity provider Janrain

With Gigya now owned by SAP, marketers will deal with the two main, formerly independent identity providers as part of complementary ecosystems.

On Monday, content delivery network Akamai announced it will acquire customer identity provider Janrain.

The move means that the two leading once-independent identity providers are now integrated into other platforms. In the fall of 2017, marketing/e-commerce/enterprise resource planning platform SAP bought Janrain competitor Gigya.

Maintaining ‘digital trust.’ In its announcement, Akamai said the Janrain addition will let Akamai customers “establish and maintain digital trust with their users by providing a highly secure and resilient environment for collecting and storing sensitive user information, managing privacy controls, defending against identity fraud, and improving engagement and brand loyalty.”

For marketers, the integration of Janrain’s Identity Cloud with Akamai’s Intelligent Edge Platform means this identity service now has built-in security, anti-bot services and an ability to handle large spikes in traffic. And Akamai, which had been passing logins through its security/acceleration platform for sites and apps, can now also offer user authentication and authorization services on its platform. Deal terms were not made public.

‘Flash crowds after the Super Bowl.’ The Portland, Oregon-based Janrain, whose brand will disappear after the platforms are integrated, lets marketers offer users the ability to employ their Facebook or other social platform log-in credentials to sign onto participating sites or apps.

It also provides management of user profiles on and between environments, and lets sites/apps offer user-generated content according to their profiles. In June of 2017, it launched one of the first General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) portals for consumer data management.

Akamai CTO John Summers noted that his company’s Bot Manager detects bots at login and registration, helping to counter fraudulent efforts so marketers can more selectively grant access.

In particular, he said, his company’s threat intelligence service can guard against Credential Stuffing Attacks, where stolen user identity databases are employed in mass attacks on password-protected sites or apps. Akamai, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can also handle sudden boosts in traffic, Summers said, such as “flash crowds after the Super Bowl.”

SAP, Akamai. Shortly after Gigya became part of SAP, Janrain launched a new migration program for Gigya customers “concerned how the SAP acquisition will affect the functionality, integration, support and other services.”

In Janrain’s case, the acquisition by Akamai is arguably different, since Akamai is not itself in the business of marketing to customers based on their profiles, as SAP is. Summers also noted that customers will be able to employ the Akamai acceleration and security platform and still use a non-Janrain identity provider. Or they can use Janrain without adopting the rest of the Akamai platform.

Why you should care. Customer identity management is key to marketers’ ability to personalize their offers, but the previously independent Gigya and Janrain allowed the selection to be made around the identity services provided.

This acquisition means neither leading identity provider is independent, with each now offering a different set of supportive services.

In Janrain’s case, its identity management is now bolstered end-to-end by Akamai’s platform, offering anti-bot protection and the ability to handle large bursts of traffic, quickly. In Gigya’s case, the identity management is integrated into a platform also offering marketing and other services.

In the future, other platforms will also offer identity management services, especially with the growth of centralized customer data repositories like Customer Data Platforms and the growth of user consent management platforms. Going forward, virtually every option for a marketer’s choice of identity provider will now include consideration of its surrounding ecosystem.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.


About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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