In a stunner this morning, HUMAN announced that it would merge with bot management rival PerimeterX (keeping the HUMAN name for the combined company). While we have seen some web application firewall (WAF) vendors acquire bot management capabilities (F5 and Shape, Imperva and Distil), seeing two bot management vendors join forces may raise some eyebrows.

A Joint Offering

If executed correctly, there could be some strong synergies in the combined company. In the bot management space, PerimeterX has strength in security and e-commerce, while HUMAN excels in ad fraud and media fraud and has built a strong security focus over the last few years. HUMAN will bring additional customers to the table on the marketing side, while PerimeterX provides additional offerings around client-side security and account protection. PerimeterX will also benefit from HUMAN’s more robust partner program.

Plans for the joint product appear to be attractive to existing HUMAN and PerimeterX customers and to prospects. The company intends to use the HUMAN defense platform as the base for all products going forward, so all customers will benefit from strong detection, analytics, and threat intelligence. As the PerimeterX products layer on top of the HUMAN defense platform, Bot Defender’s superior reporting, usability, and integrations will help HUMAN provide a better user experience and reach a broader set of stakeholders.

Whither WAF And Other Questions

The number of bot management specialists continues to decrease as they are acquired by WAF or API security vendors or they expand their own offerings. HUMAN and PerimeterX are two of the remaining bot management specialists — neither has WAF or API security capabilities. The WAF and API security gap is one that HUMAN will need to address in the near future, either through partnership, acquisition, or homegrown development.

Successfully combining the products — quickly — and providing a migration path for those on the existing products will be critical: Customers will want to see HUMAN’s ad fraud capabilities and PerimeterX’s Hype Sales Protection and Business Insights dashboard in the same UI. Longer term, it will be interesting to see how the teams combine the other PerimeterX offerings with the HUMAN platform and how they create new packaged offerings for specific stakeholders or verticals.

HUMAN has aggressive plans to bring the two companies together from both a product and go-to-market standpoint. While mergers can be distracting, both firms have a history of successful execution — if the two teams can find their rhythm, address the WAF and API gaps, and negotiate the overlaps, this will be a powerful team-up. For customers, prospects, and partners of each vendor wondering how this merger will impact them, check out The Forrester Wave™: Bot Management, Q2 2022 or reach out to set up an inquiry.