The Buzz about Amazon’s SES

I love Amazon. When recently asked, I quickly named them as one of my favorite brands. I buy everything I can through Amazon. Their fast shipping and great prices are hard to beat.

Recently we have been contemplating putting some of our resources into the Amazon Cloud (AWS) and we have therefore spent a LOT of time experimenting with and testing just about all of their cloud technologies. Amazon is solving common computing problems by offering scalable solutions on a pay-as-you go basis. It is a great idea, and works well in many cases.

Enter SES

Recently Amazon has announced their new Simple Email Service (SES). SES is the latest addition to their wide range of cloud services, and it is designed to help companies deliver bulk mail. Perhaps the most notable part of SES is its price, which is many times lower than the current industry average.

So how is Amazon able to offer what sounds like the same service as SocketLabs for a fraction of the price? I don’t think that they can – and I don’t think they want to, either. Amazon’s cloud services provide decent value, but always with some level of compromise. This is not a criticism, just the nature of the business. Amazon’s services work on economy of scale. However, economy of scale does not transfer well to some services, so there is where compromises have to be made.

Economy of scale does not transfer well to email deliverability. I know this without a doubt from 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies deliver their bulk email.

Email delivery is a complicated animal, unlike other areas of computing. It is more of a professional service, and less of a data processing service. Much like accountants, lawyers, and many other professionals address the unique needs of their clients, so does SocketLabs when it comes to email delivery. Professional services do not work well in an economy of scale model because they involve real human time, not just machines and algorithms.

Email Senders Need More

I think Amazon’s idea about bringing economy of scale to outbound email delivery is an interesting experiment. But at the price point they are working in, I just can’t see how they can offer help to confused or troubled emailers along the way.

Email senders need more than data processing. They need access to a team of experienced experts that can answer the questions they have and help them handle any problems that arise. I can see outbound email senders getting frustrated when there is no human to plead their case to in times of trouble, only an algorithm.

The Value of SocketLabs On-Demand

  • Free, professional support including 24×7 access to a technician during any service outage situation.
  • SMTP access from any email-enabled application, so you can start sending with us in minutes. APIs are available, but not necessary.
  • Dedicated IPs with select account plans isolate your email from the crowd and put you in control of your own reputation.
  • Rich web based and API reporting of outbound messages sent, failed, opens/clicks, and complaints. Right down to the indivual message level!
  • Open and Click tracking tells you who is opening and interacting with your outbound messages.
  • DKIM signing of your outbound messages ensures top deliverability with the large ISPs.
  • Suppression Lists automatically block repeat delivery attempts to addresses which have bounced or filed a complaint.
  • Message and Campaign tracking and reporting with user-defined message and campaign identifiers.

We Are Still Busy Innovating

We are still busy innovating and have amazing plans for 2011 and beyond. Our code-name Nashville release is due out in weeks and will bring multi-server and multi-user management as well as a freshened UI and a few other goodies.

Please stay tuned for more information the Nashville release, as well as hints to some of the other really cool things ready to emerge from under cover.

Best regards,

John Alessi

Follow me on Twitter: @johnalessi

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