US web filtering company 8e6 Technologies has re-launched itself in the UK with the promise to woo SurfControl customers wary of being forced to upgrade to products from new owner, Websense.

Using partner and reseller Wick Hill, the company plans to promote its R3000 web filtering appliance to the SurfControl user base, whose products are likely to be phased out in the aftermath of the company’s acquisition by Websense last April for $400 million.

According to 8e6’s Eric Lundbohm, the acquisition has presented customers with an opportunity to choose between rival systems in a way that they would not have done had the two companies remained separate.

"We operate in a replacement market. Most of the time we are replacing Websense," he said. The company had had a presence in the UK for some time, but had decided to expand more aggressively in the UK and parts of Europe only recently, despite being a relative unknown.

The R3000 is a pretty straightforward appliance capable of URL interception using the company’s own database, signature-based detection for applications such as IM, P2P and illegal proxies, and laptop filtering. The company reckons it has better reporting – always a major headache with filtering boxes - than rival systems. The company also sells a product called ProxyBlocker.

Managing director of partner Wick Hill, Ian Kilpatrick, reckons that signing up both SurfControl customers at renewal time, as well as possibly disgruntled resellers, is a tactic that will bear fruit.

"The street price is going to drop, with a lot of people selling the same product," he said. "A large number of companies are being forced to migrate [from SurfControl]."

Websense has not confirmed such a move in clear terms, but a statement on its website implies as much.

"There will be no requirement for you to "migrate" to Websense products during your Subscription Term. However, Websense offers best-of-breed technology in Web security and information leak prevention. Although we will continue to support your SurfControl products, we invite you to explore our solutions for intelligent content protection," it says.

Despite its startup-sounding name (pronounced ‘eighty-six’), 8e6 has been around since as long ago as 1995, having been founded under the X-Stop name. It changed to its current name in late 2000.