The implication of Amazon SES, a new bulk email service

Amazon Web Services has announced a new email deliverability product, called Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES). It might be worth your time to consider if you who don’t want to maintain a in-house email server, but would like to use a scalable client to deliver your emails.

Amazon Simple Email Service SES

Amazon SES integrates well with other Amazon products, such as hosting service EC2, Amazon S3 and others. Amazon will charge $0.10 per thousand emails sent (CPM). And the email service if offered for free when sent from Amazon EC2, with a limit of 2000 emails a day.


One of the main reasons to use a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) is the lack of maintenance (costs) and the increased deliverability. It has to be seen how Amazon SES will do in reputation, as anyone could apply for the service (also if you have a bad send reputation).

They do have some processes in place to improve the quality of emails sent as explained by Chris Wheeler, Technical Program Manager for Amazon SES. But he emphasizes:  “You must get your house in order before sending your first piece of mail. Otherwise, your mail will end up in the spam folder, may not be delivered at all, or you may be blocked from sending any more mail.”

Amazon scans your outgoing messages to see if they are up to IS standards and increase your maximum send limits step by step, if you show good (email sending) behavior. But we still have to see it in (long term) action.

Is this a replacement for my current ESP?

Amazon SES does nothing other than basically send your emails in a way that gets most of them delivered in a simple manner. It doesn’t offer any creation, measurement or other kinds of services next to the ones that have direct impact on deliverability at this moment. So unless you don’t need those services (because all is in-house) it is no replacement for agency or web-based Email Service Provider (ESP). Also the service needs some technical knowledge to set up. Most of the times you will need to use the API to control the sending. Even more if  you want to use DKIM you must use the API so technical knowledge is needed. So current ESPs don’t have so much to fear from Amazon SES, as the Email Expert blog mentioned.

Comparing Amazon SES against Sendgrid

It is not a new kind of service, deliverability and MTA services have been around for a long time. Because it is very important to get your email marketing message to the inbox. But the integration with other Amazon products and the pricing seems quite interesting. Below is a graph made by will’s web. Comparing prices between Amazon SES and Sendgrid, a similar service. Although the service is completely the same, you can see that Amazon SES has competitive pricing, one of the considerations in choosing an MTA.

So what do you think? Will Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) shake up the email MTA and deliverability world?

About Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named one of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch " by Entrepreneur magazine.

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