For more than two years now, FamilySearch has been publicly involved with third party entities either through its certification program or with declared "partnerships." A list of many of these entities can be easily seen by going to the FamilySearch.org App Gallery. What is the underlying purpose of these arrangements?
Despite the obvious advantages to both sides of such agreements, there are always those detractors who would like to see some sort-of conspiracy or ulterior motive attributed to anything having to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So what are these advantages?
In addressing this subject, I do not claim to have any insight other than that gained from listening to people and reading blog posts for the past few years. It seems to me that the first and most obvious advantage is heavily on the side of FamilySearch and the Church. One of the main religious goals of the Church (and thereby FamilySearch) is to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. This ultimate goal includes extending the blessings of the Gospel to all mankind, both living and dead. This explains the reason for accumulating a vast library of records about family history. See LDS.org on Family History.
If spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and researching our ancestors are related principles, then making the information we accumulate about our ancestors available to others, even those not of our faith, is an important objective. As a side note, this is also one reason why keeping your own family history "private" or restricting its availability or refusing to share with family members is the antithesis of the basic reasons for doing the research in the first place. So, the question becomes, how do we, as a people and members of the Church, best share our knowledge with others around the world? One way to do this is to share the accumulated Historic Record Collections and microfilm with some of the larger online genealogy companies. Hence, the partnership agreements with Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, Findmypast.com and AmericanAncestors.org. It also helps to explain why there are so many agreements with other family history oriented entities.
This may appear as a simplistic explanation for what appears to be a highly complex set of agreements, but as is always the case, there underlying motivation for actions taken by the Church is rather straight forward and easily understood.
I can only assume that each agreement with each of the third party family history entities has been separately negotiated and that the parties are satisfied with the arrangements. I have no need-to-know reason for learning about the details of each arrangement or contract, but I can be assured that these arrangements ultimately further the goals of the Church and FamilySearch and that they also benefit the other parties to the agreements. Meanwhile, my own personal benefit of having access to many more records and some highly beneficial programs is obvious to me.