Amazon is getting into the email business.

38 replies
I just got this email today.


As an Amazon SES customer, you don't need to build your own email solution from the ground up, or incur the costs of licensing, installing and operating third-party software. Instead, you can start sending messages in minutes using the AWS software development kits for Java and .NET, or code directly to our HTTPS interface using your favorite programming language.


Amazon is able to pass on the efficiencies of its scale to customers, and pricing for Amazon SES is only $0.10 per thousand email messages sent. Additionally, a customer can send 2,000 email messages for free each day when these emails originate from Amazon EC2 or AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
I am going to have to test this out for deliverability. I also wonder how they will combat people sending out spam.

Pricing seems pretty cool.
#amazon #business #mailing
  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    That could be good news if they do it right. Even if a person doesn't want to move their list, it could drive prices down at other services.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShelbyC
    Very cool!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author RaptorGabe
    Hmmmmm I like it . I also agree that this should get prices to drop hopefully
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Thomas,

    The guy in charge there says they're going to be very vigilant with outbound spam filtering. How effective that will be remains to be seen, but they do have the right intentions, and a solid person at the helm.

    One thing that most people I've seen discussing this seem to have missed is the feedback loop that's included. If I'm reading that right, it means you'll get notified of "this is spam" complaints from providers who have FBLs available, and can remove those people from your lists.

    The big ESPs already handle this, but it looks like the first time the option will be available to smaller mailers.


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    • Profile picture of the author Thomas Belknap
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      Thomas,

      The guy in charge there says they're going to be very vigilant with outbound spam filtering. How effective that will be remains to be seen, but they do have the right intentions, and a solid person at the helm.

      One thing that most people I've seen discussing this seem to have missed is the feedback loop that's included. If I'm reading that right, it means you'll get notified of "this is spam" complaints from providers who have FBLs available, and can remove those people from your lists.

      The big ESPs already handle this, but it looks like the first time the option will be available to smaller mailers.


      Paul
      Fantastic. That has me even more excited.
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  • Profile picture of the author MilesT
    IF - a developer creates a script that does what Aweber does? Amazon is very developer friendly so I'm sure there will be a ton of them clamoring to create apps for this service. For the cost of the app plus a few bucks ( if that ) a month you could run a pretty hefty list.
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  • Profile picture of the author halmo
    Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

    I just got this email today.

    I am going to have to test this out for deliverability. I also wonder how they will combat people sending out spam.

    Pricing seems pretty cool.
    Thomas, thank you for sharing this great info. Did they, by chance, include any links for more details in the e-mail that you could pass on? I tried to search on this, but couldn't find much more info. I am not currently an Amazon customer, but would like to find out what it would take to get this service.

    Yes, this might be great news for IMers. Thanks again.
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    • Profile picture of the author Thomas Belknap
      Originally Posted by halmo View Post

      Thomas, thank you for sharing this great info. Did they, by chance, include any links for more details in the e-mail that you could pass on? I tried to search on this, but couldn't find much more info. I am not currently an Amazon customer, but would like to find out what it would take to get this service.

      Yes, this might be great news for IMers. Thanks again.
      It has a lot of possibilities for services to offer to both online and offline customers.

      Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES)
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    The first thing that I thought when I got that email was this is going to drive prices down, like others have mentioned... but then I started to think about Amazon's history and I just don't think that they will present their service without a big learning curve. They have a habit of over-complicating their explanations of what their services can offer.
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    • Profile picture of the author Thomas Belknap
      Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

      The first thing that I thought when I got that email was this is going to drive prices down, like others have mentioned... but then I started to think about Amazon's history and I just don't think that they will present their service without a big learning curve. They have a habit of over-complicating their explanations of what their services can offer.

      There will be plenty of people creating scripts for this. They will figure it out for the people that can't.
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  • Profile picture of the author Diver's
    This is a very interesting news... more choice with better pricing for us
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  • Profile picture of the author Ntech25
    This sounds very cool. First I'm hearing of it. Will have to look more into it. Thanks for sharing
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  • Profile picture of the author Richelo Killian
    What they DON'T tell you, is that there is no list or any other management.

    So, they don't have an application you can log into, manage your lists, run AutoResponders, have signup forms, or ANYTHING to that effect.

    It is PURELY a sending service.

    So, smaller email service providers will be able to send through Amazon's service, instead of maintaining their own infrastructure.

    Will it drive ESP prices down? Maybe some of the TOP tier senders who charge per message yes, but, companies like Aweber, GetResponse and Imnica Mail.... Highly unlikely.
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    • Profile picture of the author Thomas Belknap
      Originally Posted by Richelo Killian View Post

      What they DON'T tell you, is that there is no list or any other management.

      So, they don't have an application you can log into, manage your lists, run AutoResponders, have signup forms, or ANYTHING to that effect.

      It is PURELY a sending service.

      So, smaller email service providers will be able to send through Amazon's service, instead of maintaining their own infrastructure.

      Will it drive ESP prices down? Maybe some of the TOP tier senders who charge per message yes, but, companies like Aweber, GetResponse and Imnica Mail.... Highly unlikely.

      I am paying for good deliverability, not for list management. If Amazon does well in getting my emails in inboxes then I would be afraid.

      The biggest selling point, on all three companies, was being able to get my email in their inbox. Otherwise a lot of us would have had scripts installed on our servers to manage our lists.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
        Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

        I am paying for good deliverability, not for list management. If Amazon does well in getting my emails in inboxes then I would be afraid.

        The biggest selling point, on all three companies, was being able to get my email in their inbox. Otherwise a lot of us would have had scripts installed on our servers to manage our lists.
        Absolutely! And like you mentioned there will be folks that will come up with a software to handle that stuff easily (the list management, creating web forms, etc.).

        Similar to S3. I use a software to make it easy to manage my videos, get the embed codes, etc. but still use S3 to host the videos.

        I would do the same in a heart beat for Amazon's email service if the deliverable rates are as good.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
        Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

        I am paying for good deliverability, not for list management. If Amazon does well in getting my emails in inboxes then I would be afraid.

        The biggest selling point, on all three companies, was being able to get my email in their inbox. Otherwise a lot of us would have had scripts installed on our servers to manage our lists.
        Exactly Thomas.

        One of the main reasons for using AWeber, etc is for
        high deliverability.

        However, that comes with a lack of full control of the
        functionality of the software and being constrained by
        the Terms of Service of the third-party autoresponder
        provider.

        It's possible to use e-mail software installed on your
        own server and then use an third-party smtp server
        to get deliverability too.

        For example, SMTP.com charge $5 for 2000 e-mail
        sends (=$0.0025 per e-mail sent).

        That way, you get full control of your list database
        and can customize the software to meet your needs.

        With Amazon SES charging from just $0.10 per 1000
        that's a much better rate than smtp-type servers -
        provided their servers maintain a good reputation and
        ensure deliverability.

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
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        • Profile picture of the author WillR
          Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

          However, that comes with a lack of full control of the
          functionality of the software and being constrained by
          the Terms of Service of the third-party autoresponder
          provider.
          You can't have your cake and eat it too. The only reason Awebers delivery rate is so good is because of the terms of service and requirements they have put in place to help protect it.

          I don't think I will be switching over anytime soon. If ain't bust...
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          • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
            Originally Posted by WillR View Post

            You can't have your cake and eat it too. The only reason Awebers delivery rate is so good is because of the terms of service and requirements they have put in place to help protect it.

            I don't think I will be switching over anytime soon. If ain't bust...
            The Terms of Service of the third-party autoresponder
            service OR any third-party smtp server will have a big
            effect on the deliverability obtained.

            And your deliverability will also be affected by the
            behavior of the rest of the list owners using the same
            e-mail server I.P. address as you.

            However...

            If your third-party autoresponder service servers get
            blacklisted, deliverability plummets. Your choices are
            to grind it out, or move your lists to another third-party
            autoresponder provider (i.e. a big hassle).

            If you instead use a third-party server (Amazon SES,
            smtp or otherwise), to deliver e-mails via software on
            your own server, you can change smtp service providers
            relatively easily and more importantly - not disrupt your
            lists, segmentation data, or have to change web forms,
            etc.

            For the record, I prefer to use servers which have strict
            Terms of Service to ensure deliverability. But I also want
            to have flexibility to change the provider I use to ensure
            deliverability of the e-mails too - with minimal hassle.

            Dedicated to mutual success,

            Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    Well, that's interesting.

    But I agree, it doesn't seem comparable to what the good autoresponders do, from what I've read. And I love what a good autoresponder company does from providing the sign-up boxes to taking care of the storage of my subscribers to sending my emails.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr BOLD
    if amazon is able to offer good deliverability and the shopping cart / membership script providers make the script compatible with amazon simple email service that would be really cool.. only time will tell...
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  • Profile picture of the author Uncle Dimitry
    Price point is not an argument.

    These folks will create scripts and charge you for access. Nobody is able to say if it would be cheaper.

    Simple math:
    15 sends per month from 20000 list is 300000 emails.
    Amazon price is $0.10 per 1000, which equals to $30 charged to script owner. But how much script owner would charge you?

    If you send 2 times a day, this number will grow to $120 per month, plus fees from script creator...
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Worner
      Originally Posted by Uncle Dimitry View Post

      Simple math:
      15 sends per month from 20000 list is 300000 emails.
      Amazon price is $0.10 per 100, which equals to $30 charged to script owner. But how much script owner would charge you?
      Actually, it is $0.10 per 1,000

      Chris
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      • Hopefullt they manage to get a large market share, and they learn to handle spam. It could be the start of a better email marketing era :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author Uncle Dimitry
        Originally Posted by Chris Worner View Post

        Actually, it is $0.10 per 1,000

        Chris
        yes, all math above still correct. On 2 sends per day from 20K list you'd have to pay $120 plus software owner license fees.
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        • Profile picture of the author Wide
          Originally Posted by Uncle Dimitry View Post

          yes, all math above still correct. On 2 sends per day from 20K list you'd have to pay $120 plus software owner license fees.
          You send 2 mails to your list per day? Thats like 10 times more than me, seems like a lot.

          I bet we will start to see the first services using AWS as backbone within the next couple of months. Can't wait to see what they come up with
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    I can see real potential for third-party service providers using this as a backbone.

    As you have mentioned, deliverability will be key.
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
    I've been looking at this today and learning the technical details. I plan to run a delivery trial soon. If you want to play an active part, I'll be tweeting about it soon.

    Cheers,

    Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    I've been thinking about this a bit, and I'm not sure it's going to go well for them in the beginning. I know they'll try to do things the right way, but the team there will have quite a learning curve ahead of them.

    No matter how experienced they are, and the guy in charge is no newbie, every system has quirks and holes that will need to be patched. The biggest one for most places like this would usually be fraudulent credit card charges. (Stolen cards used by spammers.) Amazon may have a head start on that, due to their huge retail experience. Still, that's going to be an issue.

    I expect some places to extend the blocks on mail from the cloud service to their new offering, too, at least until they prove they're better at preventing outbound spam with this system than they are with the EC2 product. That's proven to be something of a problem for them.

    As far as people creating paid services that operate through AmazonSES, I'm not so sure. It's a very safe bet that some software will be designed and sold with hooks into the API, and fairly quickly at that. But basing a company on that extra 3rd party who can just cut you off... That's a risky move. It will happen, but I'm not so sure it will be anything big, unless Amazon itself enters the ESP game.

    By the way... When figuring the pricing, don't forget the bandwidth charges, both ways.


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  • Profile picture of the author stanislavlem
    Very interesting... It would be great if poeple will test this out!

    Don't forget to share your experience
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  • The following blog post put it into perspective a bit more. You can't start sending mail by the thousand straight away, there a few hoops to jump through before you get to that stage:

    Amazon Web Services Blog: Introducing the Amazon Simple Email Service
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    • Profile picture of the author rts2271
      Im testing it. SES is rockin

      Pros

      Delivery rate is destroying iContact and Aweber.
      Speed is fast with lots of good metrics back for the broadcast.
      My list on iContact is 450 bux a month. On SES it's 45 a month.

      Cons

      Major one...NO INTERFACE. Were using our own Mail Assembly and Delivery system that plugs in to it. There is no clean setup at this time, but my programmers are working on making a connector that allows our AR system to talk to SES.

      Ramp up delivery. Day 1 1k day 2 2k day 3 3k etc etc
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  • Profile picture of the author Richelo Killian
    There is still a lot of holes in the service. I am SURE they will fix it in time, but for now...

    How do they handle, and let YOUR software know of bounces and FBL's?

    A bounce can be one of 2 types...

    1. Hard Bounce. The address does not exist, or something to that effect. Basically, it's dead, and you'll never be able to deliver to it. Now, with ESP's, these are automatically removed from your list. With Amazon, right now from what I can tell, there is no way for them to notify you of this, which means you will continue to try and send to a dead address. This will waste money and bandwidth, AND, it will get their sending servers in trouble. Too many continuous hard bounces .... Blacklist.

    2. Soft Bounce. Mailbox full, and others like this. Usually removed after 3 soft bounces over a 7 day period. Again, no way for them to notify your software, so, they continue to send to an address that will ALSO get the blacklisted in the long run.

    FBL (Feed Back Loop). When someone hit's the "This is spam" button. If you're properly registered with the ISP's, they send you a special email, which needs to be automatically processed by your software, and the person immediately removed from your list. This is a requirement of CAN SPAM.

    I'm sure FBL's CAN be done with the Amazon service, but, you will need to go and register with all the ISP's providing FBL's.

    Next, we have SPF records. This basically tells the receiving server that a specified range of IP's is allowed to send email on your behalf. Going to be VERY interesting to see how they handle this. This is setup in DNS, and THEY will need to set it up for YOUR sending domain name.

    Next, we have DKIM and DomainKeys. These two are KEY in authenticating email as sent from you. A whole bunch of stuff needs to be done with generating the keys, loading them into your DNS, signing all outgoing emails with the keys, etc. Again, THEY need to load it into their DNS for YOUR sending domain!

    No offense to ANYONE here, but, most people have difficulty setting up a simple script. Now imagine having to jump through all the hoops of getting all the things mentioned above sorted.

    SPF and Bounces are the 2 main ones that I don't know how Amazon will handle. This is interesting, but, I think they may not have COMPLETELY thought this one through.

    BTW: You can send without SPF, ReverseDNS, DKIM and DomainKeys. Just don't expect your messages to land in Inboxes for more than a couple of days.
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    Imnica Mail - Email Marketing Service - Tired of being ripped off by your AutoResponder?

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    • Profile picture of the author rts2271
      Richelo,
      Spot on

      Heres what we have.

      Mail app that sends to our dedicated server, server relays with auth to SES. SES deliver as if it were SMTP.

      You have a interface to view the delivery stats but were working on tying that in with the AR system and making a handler to process the different statuses. There is nothing out there doing this right now so if you want the big service features your going to have to wait about 2-3 months as apps develop.

      Right now its kludgy, but if the delivery stays good for my test, and I can get my entire list sending through it (ETA 60 days) this solution comes and brings my costs down by almost 600 a month. Better delivery = greater sales.
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