Websense, Growing Fast, Acquires Spam Filtering Web Service

1/28/09Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s Websense (NASDAQ: WBSN), which develops security software for corporate computer networks and other organizations, says it has acquired Defensio, a spam filtering Web service created by two Canadians.

Defensio was founded outside of Montreal, QC, to address the vexing and time-consuming problem of managing spam in the comment areas of blogs and social networking sites. Defensio founder Carl Mercier has joined Websense as director of software development, although he does not plan to move from Canada to sunny San Diego, Websense spokesperson Cas Purdy told me. Purdy describes Mercier as a well-known developer in the Web 2.0 community.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Purdy, who did not identify the second Canadian software developer, says the acquisition closed last month. Websense apparently waited to announce the deal on the same day the company issued its fourth-quarter and year-end financial results. The company is growing fast; fourth-quarter sales of $79.3 million were up 30 percent over the same quarter in 2007, an impressive showing during a harrowing economic period. But Websense still posted an $11.9 million loss for the quarter.

Websense says it already has integrated Defensio into its ThreatSeeker Network, which will enable third-party Web 2.0 developers to access Defensio’s content classification abilities from their own applications. In fact, Websense says it recently used Defensio-derived analytical software to detect that the popular presidential social networking Web site—Mybarackobama.com—hosted links to malicious content within its user-generated blogs.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow