Amazon Introduces New Email Service for Businesses

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Amazon has announced the launch of a bulk and transactional email-sending service for businesses and developers. As part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the new Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is designed to give customers a highly scalable and cost-effective alternative to building in-house email solutions or licensing, installing and operating a third-party email service.

The service integrates with other AWS services, allowing customers to seamlessly send emails from applications being hosted on services such as Amazon EC2. Amazon says there is no long-term commitment, minimum spend or negotiation required, so businesses can utilize a free usage tier and after that pay low fees for the number of emails sent plus data transfer.

Pricing is $0.10 per thousand email messages sent, and customers can send 2,000 email messages for free each day when these emails originate from Amazon EC2 or AWS Elastic Beanstalk (data transfer fees may still apply if a customer exceeds their AWS free monthly bandwidth allowance).

Amazon SES uses content filtering technologies to scan outgoing email messages to help ensure that the content meets ISP standards. The email message is then either queued for sending or routed back to the sender for corrective action.

Amazon SES also provides a built-in feedback loop, which includes notifications of bouncebacks, failed and successful delivery attempts, and spam complaints. For more information or to get started using Amazon SES, visit AWS.

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RubyS 01-25-2011 3:24 PM

Why is amazon getting into the email business?--tha's a hugh leap from their core business!

Linc Wonham 01-25-2011 3:39 PM

Thanks for the comment, Ruby. It's a smart way for Amazon to increase the productivity of its Web services (AWS) customers, particularly those with limited IT budgets. Below is a comment from Adam Selipsky, VP of AWS:

"Customers have consistently asked us for the ability to send large quantities of high-quality email from Amazon EC2. Amazon SES makes it very easy for businesses to send email from applications running on Amazon EC2 and other AWS services."

JohnM 01-25-2011 3:47 PM

It is more than just being able to send email. It was easy before to send email from EC2. The problem was that spammers found this out very quickly, and then used EC2 for spamming. Once that happened, all of EC2's IP addresses were blocked by most large email ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, Comcast, Verizon, etc). This made it impossible to offer true hosting on the cloud, because websites and applications within them need to be able to send email reliably. We got around this by using our own SMTP servers from our trusted private datacenter.

The creation of SES means that Amazon is going to take on some responsibility finally in policing the email that is sent from their cloud offerings. They know that this is one of the barriers to getting businesses to move applications to the cloud. Email has to work. For small hosts that constantly get blocked by Comcast (they have a hair trigger), this may help.

Also, when you send a lot of email, you need to belong to 5 different whitelisting organizations and they are NOT cheap. All of the email newsletter companies like Constant Contact and Mailchimp and Exact Target all belong to those organizations, along with other major ISPs. But small companies simply can't afford to join those. With Amazon's money, they can get whitelisted, and then police their outgoing email more tightly.

All of these behind the scenes factors will aid organizations that want to migrate their websites and applications to the cloud. Now it can send email reliably. This is a VERY big deal if it works well. We are setting it up now to test it.

Linc Wonham 01-25-2011 3:56 PM

Great comment, John, thank you. Amazon is definitely trumpeting the cost-efficiency of this service as well as its ability to filter the content of emails to tackle the spam issue. Please check back in to share your experience with our readers.

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