What it Means for Customers
You’re probably aware of the changes that Mailchimp announced regarding Mandrill recently.
I wrote a big post on it where I talked about how upset I was about the whole process, including a spreadsheet that I’m using to compare different transactional email providers.
In this update I want to talk specifically about next steps for MageMail customers.
As far as Mandrill integration goes, I have some customers that have their own Mandrill account that they pay for (or some are on the free tier), and I have some customers that don’t have their own account, and they are setup under a subaccount of my Mandrill account.
For those of you that are on a subaccount, there isn’t much for you to do. I’ll be moving my account over to Sendgrid and will set you up on a subaccount of my Sendgrid account.
Once that’s ready, I’ll ask you to setup your SPF and DKIM records – that’s about it.
If, on the other hand, you have your own Mandrill account, you may need to also migrate your account to Sendgrid or another transactional email provider.
If you are a paying Mailchimp user and want to stay with Mandrill, you can do that. You’ll just need to link your Mandrill account to your Mailchimp account if you haven’t done that yet.
I’m personally having a hard time trusting Mailchimp as a company now after this disruptive change with such a short timeline, but at the end of the day if Mailchimp is working for your business, I can understand that you would want to stick with them.
So, if you do need to move to a new transactional email provider, you’ll need to first pick where you’re going to move.
I’m using Sendgrid myself and recommending them for a few reasons.
- Deliverability – you can look at deliverability on Inbox Trail and see that they’re quite strong.
- They’re an established company that isn’t going anywhere
- They have support for subaccounts which is important for me (although it may not matter for your individual account)
- They have support for a sender score that’s available over the API which is an important part of making sure your email campaigns are healthy
One potential downside that I will mention is that I did hear from two or three people that I know that they had bad experiences with customer support with Sendgrid. I also heard from 6 or 7 people personally that they had good experiences with them.
My takeaway from that is that they’re a larger company so the quality of support isn’t going to be evenly distributed. I’m banking on the fact that I’ll be able to be a big enough fish to get my concerns (and the concerns of my customers) escalated to the right people.
Some other popular options that I’ll mention are:
- Sparkpost – these guys appear to be the official recommendation of Mandrill and they’ll be honoring any pre-existing Mandrill pricing agreements. My main concern with them is that I think their free tier is too high (100k), and they’re a little bit newer to the scene (they’re not even tracked in Inbox Trail), and they don’t have support for sub-accounts or sender reputation
- Mailgun – A lot of people seem to like them a lot – they’re not doing very well on Inbox Trail as of this writing, which was a concern to me. They also don’t have support for a sender reputation metric.
- Amazon SES – Another very popular option, particularly if you’re already an AWS user. The main issue for me with them is that the level of customer support will likely not be enough for me. I’ve run into lots of edge cases with customer accounts, and need a provider that is able to work with us when we run into issues – my understanding of AWS support is that it’s quite bare. That said, if you don’t need much in the way of support, they could be a good option.
There’s a spreadsheet here with a breakdown on many other providers that you may want to look at as well.
Another option I’m looking into for sender reputation is Return Path’s Sender Score. From some initial testing – comparing their score to Mandrill’s for a customer or two, they don’t seem to be super accurate, but I’m in contact with them to try and clarify this.
I’ll be rolling out basic sending support for Mailgun, Sendgrid, and Sparkpost, while keeping support for Mandrill over the coming week or so.
You will be able to use any of those 4 providers for basic sending.
Where things are going to be more involved is in the advanced functionality – sender reputation monitoring, backlog monitoring, MageMail v2 functionality (v2, batch sending, higher volume sending).
I am planning to only add support for Sendgrid to MageMail v2- and that will likely take 3 to 4 weeks to roll out.
Mandrill did offer me a 90 day extension on top of their 2 month timeline for migration – but they said they could only offer me that for my main account and couldn’t offer the same thing for all of my customers’ individual accounts.
Quick plug for MageMail v2 (Always Be Closing, amirite?) – it’s actually designed as a replacement for Mailchimp to allow you to send ecommerce newsletters much more quickly with native support for pulling in products from Magento and more.
If you are planning on leaving Mailchimp due to their shenanigans, you may want to consider MageMail v2!