Amazon Validates Burgeoning Email-as-a-Service Market

Email, which is one of the oldest services available on the internet, is a key mechanism via which you can reach out to your users. Over the last year, the number of services providing this infrastructure as a service has grown to include 6 email sending APIs. The newest, Amazon Simple Email Service, validates the market.

Traditionally, developers send emails from their own service. If your web application deals with sending out thousands of emails per day, you know that it is not an easy task. You need to deal with delivery failures, bounce rates and the most lethal of all, to avoid getting your service classified as spam. While announcing its new service, Amazon touted deliverability, doing away with the need to work with multiple ISPs to ensure that your content is trusted and no longer needing to monitor the complaints and email bounce rates. If you are an existing Amazon Web Services user, the best part is that the service integrates with other AWS services, making it easy to send emails from applications being hosted on services such as Amazon EC2.

To get started with the service, simply sign up for it and you will be given Sandbox access where you can only send email to a verified account. Once you are done with the testing, you need to fill out an SES Production Access Request Form, to move to production. Amazon will then monitor your production email messages pattern to scale you accordingly. For example, newly verified accounts can send up to 1,000 emails every 24 hours, with a possibility of Amazon upping this limit to 10,000 daily messages in 3 days and 1,000,000 daily messages with a couple of weeks. The number of email messages that you can send out per second will also be increased gradually. This is being done so that Amazon monitors your email sending pattern and any issues from ISP if they come up. While this is understandable, it does present issues to people who may want to move from day 1 to a higher load. You will need to phase your email sending in a manner that works within Amazon’s limits for some time before you can get upgraded to higher limits. It remains to be seen how users React to this.

The API seems simple to use with methods:

  • To manage a list of accounts, the methods include VerifyEmailAddress, ListVerifiedEmailAddresses and DeleteVerifiedEmailAddress
  • To send an email, you have methods like SendEmail and SendRawEmail
  • You can get information on your quotas and statistics like delivery attempts, rejects, bounces by using GetSendQuota and GetSendStatitics respectively.

In terms of pricing, there is a Free Tier if you are an existing Amazon EC2 or AWS Bean Stalk user, with a free quota of 2000 emails per day, though data transfer fees will apply. General pricing is at $.10 per 1,000 email messages. If you need higher quota, take a look at the pricing details.

Amazon Web Services is the undisputed leader in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) space with a host of offerings like EC2, S3 and many more. One would have thought that email might have been an earlier services that it would have offered on its Platform. If you are using Amazon Web Services already, this might be a great addition to continue being on the Amazon platform and letting them take care of email for you. For users of other Platform Services like Google App Engine and Force, it might not be an easy decision to simply switch to Amazon Simple Email Service since they have spent time fine tuning their email management on their platforms. But by pushing the quality of service on email services to the next level, Amazon has pushed the ball back to the other providers to catch up.

Finally, when it comes to email, how can we not talk about spam? The spam providers might have got another tool in Amazon SES to let you know of your latest lottery win. That could be a concern but Amazon will have thought this through and would definitely not like the SES to get christened as Simple Spam Service. We will wait and watch.

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