What users are saying about

Amazon SES

26 Ratings

Mandrill

20 Ratings

Amazon SES

26 Ratings
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Score 8.4 out of 101

Mandrill

20 Ratings
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Score 8.5 out of 101

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Likelihood to Recommend

Amazon SES

As I said before, SES is ideal for outsourcing any and all e-mail message origination. Marketing e-mails, new user signup e-mails, and e-mails that notify engineers of service problems are all excellent use cases for SES. For startups, the fact that you get 10,000 free e-mails, just for signing up, makes it a no-brainer when in the early development stages of writing a program. Once the credentials are loaded into the code, you can forget about e-mail origination forever (almost)!
D. Marshall Lemcoe Jr. profile photo

Mandrill

Any system that requires transactional email message functionality as an external service. The benefits of a well managed and vetted server to maintain reputation as well as being reliability is well worth the effort needed to integrate towards the API specs
Darren Douglas Lee profile photo

Pros

  • DKIM signing for all messages. This absolutely maximizes the probability of a message reaching a user's inbox, and not the spam folder.
  • API *and* SMTP access, making it possible to connect any system to SES. No matter what programming language or what server, there is always a library for sending e-mail messages that is compatible with SES.
  • SES makes it trivial to send thousands of e-mails from known mail servers. No longer do you have to worry about your server's IP address being blacklisted because it originated too many e-mails.
  • Incredible credential management for increased security. With IAM, you can create API keys (or SMTP credentials) for each individual piece of an infrastructure, making debugging very easy.
D. Marshall Lemcoe Jr. profile photo
  • Enables transactional email sending via MailChimp which opens up a ton of communication opportunities via Order Confirmation, Cart Recovery, or other transactional emails.
  • Monitors sub-accounts send reputation and notifies of high bounce/rejection rates.
  • Has a very friendly, usable UI and enables smaller companies to dedicate resources to transactional emails without as much setup work as other transactional platforms.
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Cons

  • For users that are not used to semi-complex APIs, the AWS SDK can be a little intimidating. That said, with the SMTP credential feature, the API learning curve can be avoided.
  • It is frustrating that you have to verify each e-mail address or domain name (wildcard) you wish to use in the From: header of the e-mail messages. I understand this is a security feature, but for long-time verified accounts, it would be nice to use arbitrary e-mail addresses and domains.
D. Marshall Lemcoe Jr. profile photo
  • The platform is now limited to only MailChimp users whereas before it was open to anyone.
  • There's not a lot of support for advanced merge tag usage or using dynamic data in transactional emails.
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Alternatives Considered

Amazon SES is bare-bones, insofar as it will not "help" you with the contents of your message. You cannot use variables in the e-mail, it will not automatically track whether or not the recipient opened the mail or not, it will not help with unsubscribe links, and it will not generate and manage web-based copies of the e-mail. That said, it gives the developer full control of the messages.Pricing, again, is the killer feature here. SES is cheaper than every single e-mail delivery provider I have ever encountered.
D. Marshall Lemcoe Jr. profile photo
So we actually work with clients across all of the platforms listed above, but Mandrill has a huge ease of use bonus in its favor, especially when working with clients who are setting up a Cart Recovery style marketing campaign for the first time or are looking for a bit of a fire-and-forget setup. With more sophisticated clients (on the scale of global ecommerce companies), who have a larger subscriber/customer base and in-house design teams, we find that Mandrill usually isn't enough
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Return on Investment

  • All positive things. The fact that we can send tens of thousands of e-mails per month for less than $5 is incredible. Find a better price for something even remotely as high-quality as SES.
  • SES provides a set-and-forget way of handling e-mail. Drop in the credentials, and your developers will never have to mess with it again.
D. Marshall Lemcoe Jr. profile photo
  • It's a transactional email service, so it did its job. It cost us nothing outside of engineering time (which was minimal) so any return is considered a net positive.
Kyle Reichelt profile photo

Pricing Details

Amazon SES

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details

Mandrill

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Additional Pricing Details