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Amazon Simple Email Service (SES)

Attended an Amazon webinar today that covered their Simple Email Service. I have yet to test it out. Initial impressions suggest that you should stick with your existing email service provider for basic email marketing broadcasts because there aren't a whole lot of tools nor analytics built yet for SES. It is a basic as basic gets.

A few things to note:
  • Supported APIs
  • Built-in Features
  • Sending Limits
  • Access Levels
  • Pricing
Via Simple API, SES supports Java, .NET, PHP, Perl, and HTTPs, and is AWS compatible, meaning if you already use Amazon EC2 or Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk, you can "migrate" over to SES easily.

There are two types of email sending options: formatted or raw message; both of which are also supported by API functions (SendEmail, SendRawEmail). The basic feedback analytics are reminiscent of basic web stats (GetSendStatistics API) which will tell you about delivery attempts, rejected messages, hard bounces, and spam complaints. And, everyone's lists are served up separately, so even if you have an overlap of customers with another business that also uses Amazon SES, their spam complaints do not affect your broadcasts (unlike how Gmail blocks spam).

Most ESPs have sending limits built into their pricing contracts. Amazon is no different. Every SES user is assigned a quota (max number of emails that can be sent in 24 hours) and an access level (everyone starts out in the sandbox to test SES features and can send up to 200 recipients a day), which is tiered. However, you can only send to and from a verified email address.

Pricing. ESPs that support small to medium sized businesses such as iContact, Bronto, Vertical Response, or ConstantContact, shouldn't fret about Amazon's pricing structure. Pricing is tiered and is based on the combination of two elements: data transfer and CPM per email message.

Current CPM is $0.10 per thousand messages sent. Data transfer pricing is as follows:

Data Amt          Cost
First GBFree
up to 10 TB$0.15/GB
next 40 TB$0.11/GB
next 100 TB $0.09/GB
150+ TB$0.08/GB

Pricing examples:

1000 email messages to one recipient per day with content size 10kb
= 31,000 recipients sent per month
= 3.1 GB in/out data transfer
= $3.73 for the month

1000 email messages outbound to one recipient per day with content size 100kb
= 31,000 recipients sent per month
= 31 GB in/out data transfer
= $10.70 for the month

Amazon EC2 users are already subscribed to the free pricing tier and are capped at 2000 messages for free each day.

To get started with Amazon SES:

Subscribe
Verify email addresses / create your own whitelist of verified addresses
Send Email
Request production access
Get Feedback

Limits on sandbox accounts: 100 whitelisted verified addresses, up to 10MB per message (because most popular email readers cannot handle more than that).

Limits on all accounts: Does not support SOAP or file attachments
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