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Major changes to Mandrill, must be tied to a MailChimp account (mandrill.com)
231 points by wmboy on Feb 24, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 204 comments

I have a proposal. I'll give all the transactional email competitors (mailgun, postmark, sparkpost, etc) a week to get their shit together and come up with a migration proposal for all of us moving away from Mandrill. I'm sure they're scrambling around trying to figure out how to take advantage of this ridiculous situation, and I bet a bunch of them are on HN. So how about this:

1. Any HN user trying to figure out what to do next, leave me your email on this Google Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16wrzK3srobnRKXzbhpsftCvmhgf...

2. Any transactional email provider, write a blog post or something with how to migrate to your platform. Include differences vs. Mandrill with regard to pricing, API, DNS, etc and anything else you can think of to ease our transition - maybe promise of an upcoming Mandrill template importer, coupon to price-match, etc. Email me the link (contact info in HN profile)

3. In one week (Thursday, March 3, 1200 UTC), I'll email everyone in (1) the responses I get from (2)

I promise not to spam people who leave their email address and will only ever send just the single email next week, and then delete the Google Form and its responses. Check my HN history, I'm just a developer trying to figure out what to do now. My hope is that enough hot leads in one place will be incentive enough for the various competitors to spend a bit of time writing a detailed migration plan (which would help me!), and they probably can't make a good one while this thread is still on the front page.

Hey folks! I'm actually one of our support engineers for our on-prem biz unit, however I came across this post and wanted to post a quick ack on it. Our SP team is working hard on a focused response to the ticket you sent in. In the mean time, we have a blog post that touches specifically on Sparkpost as an alternative to Mandrill, following their announcement:


In addition, as mentioned by meirelles a few hours ago, the free tier has been raised from 10k/month to 100k as part of a pricing adjustment which was planned prior to yesterday's events.

So stay tuned for more info!


Quick update, if you prefer to have more of a conversation than Tweeting @sparkpost allows, we do have a Slack channel available here:


Hi this is Joshua Perina, CEO of Elastic Email.

http://elasticemail.com has a very simliar pricing structure to Mandrill (their old pricing) including 25000 emails per month free.

We've been around since 2010, are growing fast and have sent billions of emails. Plus, we love our customers.

Mandrill refugees are welcome!

We are using actually on my company Mandrill and Elastic Email and, given this mandrill change, are migrating from both services to a new one.

Elastic Email has been buggy for us since day one. The whole hooks system is very buggy and has cause serious damage to our image with some clients.

I think if you're Amazon you can get away with barebones web design.

But for a service like yours, I need a lot more oompf in your documentation, sales pitch, or UX to know that it's not a thin layer of SES.

wasn't able to figure out where your company is based anywhere on your site or linked social-profiles.

Hey, I wrote a quick module / class for Rails for Mandrill Users trying to go to SendGrid using their SMTP API module. It's far from perfect or done, but it's something to get going...


Hey! Meet the new player: Maildocke. The platform isit´s different from the others because it automates your emails based on the user’s behavior and it’s able to customize your emails and use of what we call docklets, where you can organize every email in a completely independent way and with specific functions: http://maildocker.com/blog/maildocker-the-best-free-alternat...

Make sure you take a look at Mailjet and SendinBlue as well, they are some big french players.

Here are some others : http://www.codeinwp.com/blog/mandrill-alternatives/

This is a phenomenal idea, thanks for doing this.

Maybe we could even band together and get a preferred negotiated rate Groupon-style if enough of us migrate simultaneously.

If you don't mind sharing, include the number of responses you got in your email. I'm curious. Thank you for organizing.

I've got 60 so far. Unfortunately came to this thread late, so I'm not how much longer it will have traffic.

Haven't heard from any ESPs yet, but will reach out to them tomorrow.

Hi - Eric from SendGrid here. Our CEO Sameer just greenlit a 10% discount for former Mandrill customers. We're working on a set of tools for automatic migration - but we wanted to get a prompt response out too:


Straight to the discount: https://go.sendgrid.com/switch.html

Hi Eric.

We used sendgrid in the past and had a great experience. If we were sending less than 100k per month we would switch to Sendgrid in a heartbeat.

But (maybe i am understanding them wrong) your pricing tiers for higher levels doesn't make sense to me.

We send around 300k emails and it would be much more expensive.

Care to at least try and explain that ? (I hope that u ll say something like no you are reading this wrong)

have you sent the email? beacuse i can't find it. maybe it was filtered as spam

Apparently after Mandrill announcement, the SparkPost raised the free tier to 100K/month (from 10K). Pretty generous limit. They have a very good reputation.


Maildocker seems to be the most complete transactional email platform at this time. Some of our features: Digital Signature + Email Tracking + Customizable IP Pools + Customizable Independent Servers( docklets ), Sandbox, among others. 10k free in maildocker.com. Try!

Thanks for sending that through - some very useful information in there. Appreciate it.

Thant's a great thing to do, Gabe! What email service are you going to use? :)

PS: Subscribed!

As a long time user... What the hell are they smoking over there.


Just read the full thing. I'm now a very fucking angry customer. They are destroying basically all of the value their product had for me. I was raging and ready to comment on their blog post, but oh look they have comments turned off, how convenient, let's ignore our customers further.

Dear Mailchimp... Fuck you.

Since there is fuck all chance they will backflip on this, who should I migrate to, I've honestly been using mandrill for years and have no idea who offers comparable services because I was so fucking happy with mandrill I didn't need to look elsewhere... I hope a mandrill employee is on HN because if this actually happens they're going to lose 10 paying customer accounts when I find someone else hope your shitty management plan is accounting for loss of goodwill and loss of customers.

FWIW We're switching to Sparkpost (I'm not affiliated with Sparkpost). They do the transactional email for the big dogs like Twitter, PayPal, LinkedIn, etc and have a pretty simple UI. Just throwing that out there for all the fellow Mandrill refugees.

I just checked out Sparkpost, and unfortunately, they seem to have a crippling price discrepancy. Their new "express" plan is sort of comparable to what Mandrill charged, but as soon as I grow to the point where I need more, they are x3 the price. Not sure what they were thinking with that sort of thing, are they trying to discourage customers from growing their email volume on the platform?

I find this sort of "nonsensical pricing" very off putting. If your pricing page is so obviously 'wtf' like this, how can I take them seriously, even if they do the emails for Twitter, PayPal, LinkedIn, they could be the secret real host for Gmail for all it matters to me... Their pricing page tells me they have a screw loose.

We tweaked our pricing today so 100k free and fixed the confusing plans - check it out https://www.sparkpost.com/pricing We have been doing transactional email for 15 years for the likes of Twitter, Pinterest, Zillow smaller developers and startups and are not going anywhere - we are very developer friendly. Also check out https://developers.sparkpost.com

We were midway through our pricing update at the time - but both pages should now have the latest prices, including our 100K free tier. Please try it out and if you have questions you can find us at developers.sparkpost.com and slack.sparkpost.com

See that's the sort of pricing I expect when I hear "The guys that send all of Twitter's email". Promptly letting me know that you cleaned up your pricing is a nice touch.

SparkPost just updated their pricing - now the free tier is 100k a month, and there are two other plans that are way simpler and more cost effective. Seems like they heard feedback about their pricing.

I'm trying to figure out if you can just stay on the Express plan and pay the overages, given that the overages are 1/3 that of the higher plans. Very odd pricing, for sure.

they have changed their pricing plans, you can check it here https://www.sparkpost.com/pricing

Signed up for a couple services to check them out... sparkpost is looking like a top candidate so far.

To save you some time, we have a blog post covering the criteria to use: http://blog.sendwithus.com/which-email-service-provider-shou...

I'm biased (as the cofounder), but I strongly believe that you should treat email delivery as a commodity and use a product like Sendwithus.com on top of it.

Thinking of "email delivery as a commodity" is the first mistake people make - all ESPs are not created equal. If this were the case, there would not be such a huge variance in not only getting to the Inbox, but how fast you get to the Inbox. This is why we've focused on transactional only, knowing fully well we will grow slower as a business (and why we are more expensive), but have superior delivery since transactional email has a much higher engagement rate and reputation with ISPs.

The entire idea of "dumb pipe" or "commodity" needs to go away. There is a reason why companies like Asana, Desk, and Minecraft chose Postmark, since their email is critical to their business and choosing the right providers makes a real difference. Now, if your emails are not critical, I can see how any service might work. I have yet to come across a product owner who is comfortable letting their customers wait for their transactional emails though - no matter the size of product or company.

Full disclosure, I'm the founder of Postmark - the best "dumb pipe commodity" money can buy.

SparkPost/MessageSystems claims to have the highest inbox rate in the space, and their customer list backs this up. It's much more impressive than Asana, Desk, and Minecraft (think LinkedIn, Facebook, Zillow, Pinterest, etc).

They absolutely recognize that ESPs are a commodity, even reselling delivery to ExactTarget, Responsys, etc, as the "pipe". It's hard to believe your reasoning when the industry leader is saying something different.

SparkPost's claims are misleading here.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc do not use Sparkpost, they use their on-premise installable software that many ESPs use and pay tens or hundreds of thousands for, which indeed is a dumb pipe MTA. Those big companies still have a full-time staff managing delivery and infrastructure. It's basically a replacement to Postfix, not a full fledge, multi-datacenter, multi-tenant hosted application to support many thousands of concurrent customers.

A hosted "product" is a different animal. Sure, it needs to have great delivery, but the work that goes into making it easy to troubleshoot when you have issues, minimize developer work, and bring useful data back into your application is something else. This only becomes painfully obvious when you deeply rely on email for your business.

There is a reason why Sparkpost left Postmark out of their comparison. We have the same data sources (eData), and we came out on top.

[1] http://pages.sparkpost.com/Big-Rewards-WP-Download-Landing-P...

I haven't used Mandrill extensively so I don't exactly know how it compares, but I've had a lot of success with Mailgun. That said, I've heard great things about SendGrid as well.

Another price comparison.

$20 w/Postmark: 13,000 mails

$20 w/SendGrid: 100,000 mails

Postmark also doesn't offer the option to upgrade to a dedicated IP later on, which many larger companies find is better for deliverability.

Full disclosure: I'm a SendGrid engineer.

Three things to add here:

1. Our pricing reflects the quality of delivery due to being transactional only. With much higher engagement rates, our speed and delivery is superior. Customers never have to wait behind a bulk campaign.

2. Dedicated IPs are a way for ESPs to pawn responsibility onto customers instead of themselves (and get a few more bucks in the process). They only make sense if you are sending a huge volume, but we do offer dedicated IPs for free for higher volume accounts. Instead, most people use our shared IPs and benefit from the volume of great engagement to get their emails delivered to the inbox faster.

More details: https://postmarkapp.com/blog/the-false-promises-of-dedicated...

3. We're the only ones to offer an extended full content history of every message for 45 days. You can search and see the exact email sent at no cost, which comes in handy when sending so many unique messages.

Full disclosure: I'm the founder of Postmark. Any questions, just email me: chris@wildbit.com.

Postmark engineer here!

We are at the high end on pricing, but we constantly hear from customers about how great our deliverability and support is. Also if you purchase in bulk, our pricing becomes very competitive very fast. Since it’s a straight pay for what you use model with no monthly plans required, we think it’s a lot simpler to use.

Thats really nice, but when you're me, who sends around 30 million emails / month, that pricing gets insane (as in, more than my AWS bill).

So yeah...i'd love to entertain the idea but its just not possible.

Our lowest advertised rate is $.25 per 1000 for 5MM emails. After that you need to talk to us, but obviously we work with companies all the time.

(Sendgrid's lowest advertised rate is $.45/1000)

I'm sure that is likely the case, but you can understand why hiding your price is horribly frustrating. Amazon do a great job showing their price to the public and explaining how they can lower it further without talking to sales people...i wish more people would follow their lead.

Can you talk about why SendGrid over MailGun?

SendGrid is competitively priced - as @jamestanderson mentioned, $20 goes twice as far. Mailgun doesn't offer a marketing product at all, and I am not sure if they provide the 24/7 support we do.

At the 40k+ volume levels, you're also going to get a complimentary dedicated IP, which means better deliverability. You can get that at Mailgun too, but it's a $59 surcharge every month.

Finally, the InboxTrail comparison posted elsewhere in this thread shows Mailgun getting flagged as spam 37.5% of the time.

There are many factors that impact deliverability that aren't reflected in the type of simple test InboxTrail conducts. Like most ESPs, your reputation builds on Mailgun as you send with us. If for whatever reason you are experiencing a deliverability problem, you can always reach out to us and we'll help you with any issues you have. We support many large and fast growing customers who are all seeing a >99% delivery rate.

Our support team is here to help 24/7. We have a great team here that is proud of the work we do for our customers.

Disclosure: I lead product development at Mailgun.

> If for whatever reason you are experiencing a deliverability problem, you can always reach out to us and we'll help you with any issues you have.

As a Mailgun user, I can confirm that first hand.

Yup, me too. I had problems when I started using the service (some providers didn't accept the mail). Everything was immediately resolved.

To respond to the Mailgun developer above slash below - the InboxTrail result might not be reflective of all your service, but you're selling a premium service - 37.5% spam flagging on any of your active IPs is seriously offputting.

We're looking into how that test is being run, but it's not at all reflective of what actual users experience on the platform. There are many factors that could impact what is being sent to spam that aren't disclosed in these kind of tests.

It's true we offer a premium product, but we do so at a competitive price. At scale, our pricing model compares favorably with Sendgrid. Our pricing strategy is all about simplicity and providing lower prices as you grow with us. We don't have any kind of feature gating pushing you into higher tiers nor do we have punitive overages.

As others have mentioned, dedicated IPs are anything but a panacea for deliverability. There is an incredible amount of care and planning that must be taken when using a dedicated IP. Shared IPs that are well managed (ie no spammers) are often better for low-volume senders because they don't require warm-ups, constant deliverability monitoring, etc.

Just to add:

$20 w/Mailgun: 50,000 mails

For comparison before this shitty move by MailChimp, Mandrill used to be $14 for 50000 emails.

For comparison after this shitty move by MailChimp, Mandrill will be $60 for 50,000 emails (2 x 25k blocks @ $20 + $20 minimum plan on mailchimp).

50,001 will then cost you $80 (another block)

also interesting that their pricing page[0] still doesn't reflect the new pricing...

[0] http://mandrill.com/pricing/

Problem with SendGrid is if you want send more that 100k emails.

$95 w/SendGrid: 200,000 mails $95 w/mailgun: 200,000 mails

At the high end, we throw in a dedicated IP for free (a deliverability feature most high volume users need). Mailgun charges $59 extra per month for that, even as they level out their base price to be comparable to ours.

200,000 emails at Elastic Email = $33.25/month, a private IP would cost you an extra $17.70.

I'm not a user of it, so please excuse the question, but what is the worst part of this?

The worst part is their decision to make this change in the first place, combined with the big hike in pricing. They're lumping two completely different types of customers into one: transactional emails and newsletter/marketing. They are not even close to the same thing, and the vast majority of people using only Mandrill (transactional emails) will probably never use the MailChimp product. If they wanted to, they would have already signed up for MailChimp.

Mandrill used to be pretty cheap and it was free small services that didn't need to send more than 12k emails per month. Now they're forcing everyone to pay in blocks of 25,000 sent emails for $20. That means if I have a very small website and only send out 500 emails per month, I'm paying the same amount as someone who sends 25,000 emails in a month. That amounts to $0.04 and $0.0008 cents per-email respectively, so sending my 500 emails costs 50x more per-email than someone sending 25,000 emails. The pricing system just doesn't make sense and the lack of a free tier is unfortunate.

Another bad part is simply migrating to a new service. Most users can probably migrate in under an hour if they're only using Mandrill as a relay, but there are obviously users who use all of Mandrill's services (i.e. templates) and the migration will take a lot longer.

I currently use Mandrill on about 6 projects, a few of them use templates, so I've got the added complexity of dealing with that, which sucks

But, I'm not going to give Mailchimp my business ever again after this stunt. I'm going to bite the bullet and port the templates over to Sendgrid.

As it is, Mandrill basically wants us to create new Mailchimp accounts, then manually copy and paste our templates (as if that's an appropriate solution to ask a paying customer to do). If I'm going to do that, I'm just going to leave and take my business elsewhere.

It will take longer, but I'm optimistic it won't be that bad. I'm sure there are blog posts on template migration from Mandrill to Sendgrid. If not, I'll write one when I do it

Can't see any good part of it, the worst for me is probably the massive price hike. Then there's the blatant disregard for customers...

Got the mail this morning (Europe) and my first thought was "WTF"? Then "How the hell do I migrate all my customers"?

I've used Mandrill for transactional mails for 4-5 years now. And always when I've had a project that requires some kind of e-mail notifications, password resets etc. I've always recommended Mandrill to my customers.

So here I am, running and handling 8+ Mandrill accounts (many customers requires exclusive access to account, have one for personal projects etc. ). A few of them in the free tier, most of them payed.

These changes will involve a whole lot of headache for me, and will sadly affect a few of my customers too.

Firstly; from around $40/month as our e-mail costs are today; to more than a total of $240/month. Not the end of the world in itself, but:

Secondly: NOT A SINGLE ONE of my customers, or me, want or have any use of MailChimp. They are two very different services with two very different purposes. Now I will have walk through with my customers on how they set up a Mailchimp account, explain to them why they have to do this and merge the account with their Mandrill one, explain to them "Oh, no – this is just a $10/month service that you don't need, or want, but have to signup to to enable those password reset emails or yours".

Oh man... Of course I will change service in most of these cases, but that's also a pain, have to get in touch with the customers IT-departments to change DNS-settings, verify senders and all that – not a great start to this day...

The whole idea is what we in Sweden call "hål i huvudet"; "Hole in the head" (as in missing a brain, not shooting someone).

Completely agree with all of your points. I just finished migrating from Mandrill to a new Sendgrid account and it was pretty seamless (although I had a head start because I have used Sendgrid before). It took me about 45 minutes to update everything, including: creating an account, adding appropriate DNS records for whitelisting, and updating my application and server settings.

It's extremely unfortunate that we have to do this, but no way would I stay with Mandrill after this decision.

There is something more serious than migration and price increase. By migrating to mailchimp you are agreeing to mailchimp's terms and service. If I understand it correctly, now they can read all your customers' email address and content (presumably for machine learning & send optimization). This is in direct conflict with the agreement we signed with our customers on data sharing. Unless I am mistaken, this seems to be deliberately omitted in mandrill communication to mislead and collect data to create "network effect" from our customer data.

Can confirm. Privacy policy Item 5.1 - Previous: http://web.archive.org/web/20160209234946/http://mandrill.co... vs new: http://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy/ Item 5.1

Changes from:

  That information may include your IP address, name,
  physical address, email address, phone number, credit
  card information, and other details like gender,
  occupation, and other demographic information.

  That information may include your and your Subscribers’ 
  IP address, name, physical address, email address, 
  phone number, credit card information, operating 
  system, as well as details like gender, occupation, 
  location, birth date, purchase history, and other 
  demographic information.

"your Subscribers' email address, credit card information, purchase history" - These are super sensitive! It takes more than 3 months of legal process and convincing to get our customers to share these under strict data privacy clause. And here comes mailchimp and want to sniff it under the hood in the name of migration. They will literally land us in jail, if we don't migrate.

Yeah, this is a very big change in policy, and I suspect it might catch out Mandrill customers who don't read the fine print. The privacy policies for a couple of web applications I work with, for example, are incompatible with this new policy.

Guys, are you sure about this? Mailchimp subscribers and Mandrill users are not the same thing... Otherwise the Mailchimp cost would skyrocket, as they charge users in terms of subscribers amount

This is appalling. Transactional data and marketing data are very different.

The fact that they're willfully playing with merging customers' sensitive transaction info like financial statements, personal messages and treating it for demographic harvesting like a marketing mailing list is incredibly disturbing. Especially since that's not what we signed up for. That's not what we signed our clients and customers up for.

The ignorance and shameless nonchalance about data security that surrounds us in everyday life, in all corners or the internet and enterprise, is absolutely frightening. If you leverage a cloud vendor for anything, you're eventually putting your customers' data at risk. There's no safety net.

The tech industry can no longer self-police in this regard. I don't want regulation complicating my work any more than the next guy but I'm starting to feel there needs to be someone with authority enforcing some rules here. It's getting out of hand.

This is too bad. Mandrill was a great product I've put several clients and my own apps on. None of these have any use for Mailchimp integration.

In December, they began to require the more strict DNS configs for new accounts... that was fine, but this latest change is horrendous in that it's giving business' who've used this service for years, an ultimatum... one that favors finding a new service.

It's going to be work one way or another so I guess I'll be moving mine and client apps over to a more stable provider.

Sounds like you're in the same boat as me.

Just quickly tried out Mailgun and SendGrid today as alternatives. SendGrid looks more stable, but Mailgun has the advantage of at least being able to see subject lines in emails sent (which can be a great help when troubleshooting for clients).

Yeah, I saw your other post... same boat. It was so nice to confirm emails were sent/received while testing.

There's one project we integrated a private messaging system deeply into their APIs. There's not gonna be a choice on moving that one, but all others will move.

Not sure if it's more greed or incompetence behind the flippant decision.

Copying my comment from another thread because I want my rage to be heard!

Seriously cannot trust a new product offering from anyone these days.

Newsletters and transactional emails are not the same service. I signed up a client for transactional emails on Mandrill because the client was already locked into a newsletter vendor who doesn't support transactional emails. Now I need to explain to them why they need a second monthly newsletter vendor subscription? One that serves no purpose to their marketing team and was totally free until recently.

Plus I get the honor of having to justify why I made this choice in the first place. Or have to deal with scrambling to evaluate and migrate to a new vendor in less than 2 months, probably out of pocket too.

I purposely pointed the client to Mandrill because it was backed by Mailchimp and therefore less likely to fail than a startup.

I trust in a new product from an established company, and a year later come up looking foolish to my client. This isn't the first time Mailchimp has pulled the rug out from under me in front of a client. Not making the same mistake again. You're dead to me Mailchimp. Dead to me.

At work we have built an email delivery platform on top of Mandrill for marketing/transactional emails. We have many clients that signed up for their own accounts and give us api tokens to send on their behalf.

This is going to suck. Not only are they doing this but now we only have 45 days to migrate those customers to mailchimp accounts they neither want nor need and we don't get to see the headaches there until March 15th. What the actual fuck?!?

Wait, so is there more detailed pricing information somewhere? I'm trying to figure out how this will affect us.

What does a "a paid monthly MailChimp account" mean? The cheapest such plan seems to be +$20/mo, so that's not so bad. Effectively just a small price bump.

However, the MailChimp plans are confusing. Does every transactional recipient need to be a "subscriber"? If that's the case, then we're looking at more than a +$1000/mo increase! An order of magnitude more than we're paying for Mandrill now!

Edit: Just saw I missed this from the post - "Our billing and pricing model is also changing ... Mandrill credits will be sold in blocks of 25,000 emails. Blocks will start at $20 per month." So the transactional pricing seems to be increasing about 4x as well.

I just contacted the mailchimp service twice and they confirmed it to me.

you have to take the monthly plan that matches your mandrill users. So if you are using mandrill to send mails to 90.000 users, you have to buy a monthly plan of 90.000 users AND the mandrill package prices, which means 450$/month for mailchimp and 4*20$ for mandrill.

This confirms my worst fears. We just added a large wave of new email addresses to one of our routine emails, taking it from 2k per day to 17k per day.

We currently expect to pay approximately $75 to $100 USD per month with this volume of email.

With the new "MailChimp pricing", this will cost us $150 for a MailChimp account with enough subscribers, then between $270 and $400 USD per month in data packs.

So from about $75 to $100 USD we get forced up to $420-$550

About a 5x price rise.

Nice going MailChimp...

Clearly this is an attempt to squeeze more profit out of Mandrill. Was there a management change at MailChimp or something?

ok, i just received a mail from mailchimp that the information provided to me by two of their service agents is indeed wrong. You really "just" need a monthly paid account, which still is pointless.

This cant be right (but if it is, they're morons). In this scenario, we'll need a package for millions of members. With the rough math I just did, this would make our monthly Mailchimp bill a larger cost for us than our AWS accounts monthly cost. That would be insane...


I don't think it's right. I contacted Mandrill about it, and they pointed me to this support article[0].

> Is this cost included in my MailChimp plan?

> No. Mandrill is becoming a paid add-on for monthly MailChimp accounts. Any paid monthly MailChimp plan will satisfy the new requirements. Monthly MailChimp plans start at $10/month, and you can find more information on MailChimp’s Pricing Page. Purchasing Mandrill blocks will incur monthly charges in addition to your MailChimp plan.

[0] https://mandrill.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/217467117

correct, the information provided to me seems indeed to be wrong, since a third(!) support person contacted me, stating that you indeed "just" need a monthly account, no matter how big it is.

Good! This still means the pricing will go from the 3k we paid today to around 10k/month. This is madness.

based on the comments on the blog post, i don't think that's the case. I think you just need to buy the minimum paid mailchimp account ($9/mo)

Based on their latest release of pricing information, I've done an old vs new pricing comparison. Hopefully no errors - the tiered pricing is more complex to calculate than a flat pricing.

From what I understand, if your volume is i.e. 1,000,000, you pay for 20 blocks (25,000 ea) at $20, plus 20 blocks at $18 for a total of ($20 * 20) + ($18 * 20) = $760/month, plus $10 for MailChimp account.

  Volume	Old Pricing	New Pricing
  10,000	9.95		30
  25,000	9.95		30
  50,000	14.95		50
  100,000	24.95		90
  300,000	64.95		250
  700,000	144.95		554
  1,000,000	204.95		770
  2,000,000	365.2		1410
  4,000,000	656.2		2450
  8,000,000	1157.45		4050
So, pricing has gone up 3x to 4x across the board. They're much more expensive than both SendGrid and Mailgun now, and even more expensive than Postmark, and their credits expire at the end of the month. Hoooly crap.

Oh great. Now we'll have to go and touch a system that has been working flawlessly for years. That'll end well won't it? So as a big thank you I'll migrate it to another provider while I'm there.

There is something off in the tone of the announcement.

Definitely. I noticed the tone too. Somewhat brash and arrogant.

Possible warrant canary?

Two months notice and a huge price increase ultimatum. This heavily affects a lot of Discourse open source installs as we recommended Mandrill as an email provider for almost two years.

Free product so they can do what they want, but this feels a bit abrupt (how about six months to transition) and cruel (forced MailChimp account plus giant leap in pricing).

Would it cost them so much in brand loyalty to be a bit more generous with time to transition and cost?

They mentioned abuse of the free service as rationale - there are plenty of things they could have done to avoid this. Charge $1 for the free tier, for example. Massive slap in the face - we'll be reviewing our use of MailChimp for our marketing as well. Campaign Monitor might get a knock on the door.

Exactly what I thought - we're a small dev team who have used Mandrill on a bunch of projects that have minimal transactional email needs. A proportion of those have moved into the paying tiers, the majority stay under the free limits.

The tone of the announcement, and miserly transition period leaves a pretty bitter taste that will make recommending Mailchimp in future hard.

Hey folks, cofounder of Sendwithus.com here -- we're a layer on top of Mandrill, SendGrid, Sparkpost, etc. You can hot swap backends with us, making a change trivial. We're also experts on all these platforms so can advice cost vs support.

Hit our support team (support@sendwithus.com) if you have any questions, we have a super rich feature set that goes beyond what these products provide.

Happy to discuss discounts for folks making the switch to us, email me: matt@sendwithus.com

So, realtime feedback...

I opened your features page, everything looks good... I open your pricing page, and you've lost me as a customer.

Sorry... But you're using the same "$X = Y recipients per month" crap that seems to have lead to MailChimp pulling this shit will Mandrill.

I use Mandrill because they are the closest to usage based pricing (and yes I know there is the 100% DIY route with something like SES on AWS, but that's a different tool for a different job) effectively charging me per email. I want usage pricing. If you don't offer that, you aren't really serving the same market as Mandrill was. (I'm going to refer to them in past tense since Mandrill is dead to me.)

  > Every Mandrill account comes with 2,000 free trial sends.  
  > Once you’ve finished your free trial, it’s $9.95/month for 25,000 emails.
  > After that, we charge on a per-thousand-email basis.
  > Since we build discounts into our payment structure, 
  > your per-email pricing automatically decreases as you send more email.
  > $9.95             up to 25k emails per month
  > $0.20/thousand    next 1m emails per month
  > $0.15/thousand    next 5m emails per month
  > $0.10/thousand    remaining emails
  > Add a dedicated IP for $29.95 / month.

  Old Mandrill pricing: $10 + $X per email (with volume discounts)
  New Mandrill pricing: $X per Y emails
  MailChimp pricing: $X per Y emails per Z recipients per month
  Sendwithus (You) pricing: $X per Y email recipients per month
Sorry, you look nice and all, but your pricing model is just more of the same.

I will never use a service that isn't usage based. We're in the cloud era. A minimum monthly fee is shit.

That's fair feedback (pricing is per recipient), but it reflects the cost of running our service (we store data about your customers long term, which adds up more than the cost of each individual send).

I'd be very surprised if running the database to store that information is the major cost for running the service, and at any rate I'd say your pricing should be a good match for the value you provide to customers, not your costs for providing that value.

I've been considering using your service for a while and it would be useful for us, but I couldn't justify paying what it'd cost us to use it.

I'm interested in your experience with AWS SES. Do you see this as a viable alternative? It is just more complex than Mandrill and other competitors are?

$20 w/MailChimp Transactional: 25,000 mails

$20 w/SendGrid: 100,000 mails

So let me know if you're thinking about switching. I'd be happy to intro you to someone on our team.

Disclosure: I'm with SendGrid. :)

One advantage that Mandrill has over SendGrid is the ability to see the content of emails (run a web agency so it helps a lot with troubleshooting for our clients).

That makes a lot of sense! On the backend, we've already built a way to view content samples (for compliance reasons, e.g. if something looks spammy and we need a human to confirm). It would certainly be possible to expose that functionality to users. I'll run that by the PM on the relevant team - you're not alone in wanting that feature.

Definitely +1 on this. It's a great feature to see if A) emails are being sent and B) templates weren't messed up in some way.

(I have had many a batch email with "{{name}" or some other templating error, heh.)

I just tried SendGrid out now, unless I'm mistaken you can't even see subject line in the emails that are sent, is this correct?

You can look in the Email Activity tab to see a history of events, along with their category (you might use this for "receipt", "forgot password", etc.).


If you're doing one-to-many campaigns, we also have a marketing email product called Marketing Campaigns that offers a more detailed content history.

We're working on adding that feature into Mailgun now. We store the content for compliance review and scheduled sends.

Disclosure: I lead product development @ Mailgun.

That would an amazing feature add.

I'm currently sending 150k/mo with Mailgun and log everything for 6 months. It's rarely accessed, but invaluable when it is.

I think NOW it's the time to build that feature, ASAP. cc @etjossem

Yeah absolutely if SendGrid builds this functionality and creates a 'Welcome Mandrill customers' page, then you guys will get a whole heap of new signups right away!

Agree 100%.. this is an insane move by Mandrill and if SendGrid can at least show email subjects they will reap the benefits imo !

We're discussing what it would take to build it right now. It's absolutely one of the things people appreciated about Mandrill, and I know we want to ease the transition as much as possible.

Today, we launched a new API that allows you to access the content of messages you've sent over the last three days. We have details on our blog @ http://blog.mailgun.com/how-to-view-your-messages/

We do this (Sendwithus.com) -- not only see email with all personalization, but see it on the device a customer used (was the link really broken on an iPhone?)

CSS inlining as well - last time we looked SendGrid did not have this functionality.

There are lots of existing resources out there for automatically inlining CSS after writing your template, so we recommend you use whichever one you like best.

Zurb Foundation has one with a web interface: http://foundation.zurb.com/emails/inliner.html

I personally prefer Jon Kemp's open source inliner, which is a good choice if you want to do that step locally: https://github.com/jonkemp/inline-css

FWIW We left SendGrid because it was impossible to troubleshoot sends. When asked SendGrid's response was email subjects are coming but for now you can tag your emails with tags/categories. I know it's probably not simple to implement but it might be worth something to you guys in terms of business. It looks like subjects are still not supported unless I'm missing them. I'm looking at the "Activity" screen.

Is it possible to have more than 300 templates per account? We're offering custom transactional email templates to our clients and might exceed this limit. Definitely looking at moving to SendGrid after this announcement.

Previewing content of the last 7 days of sent emails would also be a bonus.

Check us out (Sendwithus.com, yc w14)

Unlimited templates, and you can swap out backends (SendGrid, SparkPost, others)

Thanks, but your pricing model is all wrong when it comes to transactional emails. We're looking for something which is more usage based instead of based on number of subscribers. Nice templating though.

I agree here. Pricing model is wrong for transactional emails

Any good examples on using templating with variables in SendGrid? The docs are not very clear on that (you call them tags is that it?). I think you can get a lot of users if you show one to one mapping of API and common processes between Mandrill and SendGrid.

A few years ago I went with Mandrill over SendGrid because of the lack of templates. I wanted designers/marketers to be able to edit the templates and with sendgrid that was really difficult. A couple years later and you guys caught up and then some. Excited to come back after this Mandrill change!

I am in the same boat. Glad to also give SendGrid a look!

Yep, if you're using the SMTP API, see https://sendgrid.com/docs/API_Reference/SMTP_API/substitutio....

If you're using a wrapper like sendgrid-ruby (https://github.com/sendgrid/sendgrid-ruby), check out its documentation page on GitHub. For instance, here's how to use substitution tags in Ruby: https://github.com/sendgrid/sendgrid-ruby#working-with-templ...

Also check us out: https://www.sendwithus.com/docs/templating

Our template engine (Jinja) is the most advanced of any email platform out there.

Stop spamming your service all throughout the thread. It's annoying and certainly turns me off to it.

I would say their pricing https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11172142 is more off putting than the spam. Its almost quaint.

Oh thanks for that. I was already typing "Mandrill alternative" on google.

I need to send around 180k emails. Is that 2 x 100k for $19.95 ?

As an aside from the topic at hand, this article is 3 hours old and has 52 points. Why is this hidden on the 11th page?

It is weird, perhaps some of the profanity in the replies? Feels intentionally buried.

Possibly Mandrill/MailChimp employees flagging it because it's casting a bad light on them. They've disabled comments on their blog posts too.

There seems to be a lot of backlash against what they're doing and they likely don't want people to see that.

Yeah... I can't imagine any of their customers are happy about this. I haven't seen a single positive reply about it on twitter, HN, reddit etc.

It set off the flamewar detector.

I haven't seen much shilling except sales agents disclosing

Add me to the list of people very shocked by this. We've been exceedingly happy paying customers of Mandrill since its beta, and we use it in all of our services that we offer. This change really makes no sense to me and pretty much ensures we'll be looking elsewhere. Pretty frustrating having to move aside actually important user-facing projects to completely re-do our e-mail systems.

Ok, from the sounds of it, all MailChimp has to do to keep our business (and thousands others from the sounds of it) is to change the requirement to a Free-Tier MailChimp account instead of being a Paid MailChimp account.

I get their desire to have a single unified system that manages everything, but our situation is: we use Mandrill to send the System Info emails on https://www.whatismybrowser.com to thousands of people per month. We have absolutely zero requirements for a mailing list.

If they're asking us to pay for a whole system we won't use; it's not even a discussion, we'll be leaving and they lose money.

Go figure.

MailChimp's competitors must be rubbing their hands in glee.

Personally, I don't blame them.

The per-message pricing is still way more expensive, but that's not nearly as bad as how they've dumped this on customers.

If a PaaS provider doesn't realize that people build tons of code, businesses, infrastructures, pricing models, etc. off of them than they'll never gain the trust of savvy purchasers. The way they've effectively end-of-lifed Mandrill w/ 2 months notice and zero response to complaints is a slap-in-the-face to a customer-base that has largely loved their product.

Short of a response that recognizes they went about this badly it would be hard to ever depend on a Mailkimp product again.

To be honest, the vague statements on pricing, blatant disregard for customers, and functionality from them have sealed the switch away for me.

At least this crappy company has viable competitors. Imagine what we'd be saying if e.g. Adobe did this. Oh wait..

Bye Bye Mandrill. I have been a very happy customer for several years, but your actions will now leave me with many hours of unwanted work. This is unacceptable, so I'm moving to SendGrid (probably).

I've been a paying customer of Mandrill for years (migrated two different employers to them, ran probably tens of millions of emails through them) and am a) really sad to see it go and b) completely freaking baffled by the tone and out-of-the-blue nature of the announcement.

If I wanted Mailchimp, I'd have Mailchimp. It's not the slightest bit useful to me.

This is such a shame.. I have no idea need for any of mailchimps services, yet now I'm forced to pay for it? Why? From what I can figure out from the pricing page, this nearly 10x's our monthly cost. NOPE

Later Mandrill.

I'm more sad than angry.. it was an incredible product.

Fuck this. Fuck this so fucking hard.

Fuck you, Mandrill. Fuck you.

(I'm a lil mad)

Time to fire up HN search for that product where you host your own Mandrill clone that relies on SES on the backend and is like 5 times cheaper. Anyone remember what it was?

Hmm: I guess I was thinking of https://sendy.co which is a replacement for MailChimp and not Mandrill.

Compared to Sendy, I would suggest to use EasySendy Pro, I myself shifted to this service, having previously used Sendy.

Pro gives many independence of connecting multiple SMTP servers other than, Amazon SES, which include SendGrid, Sparkpost, Leadersend, Elasticemail and MailGun. Also, it is hosted web application and have plans to integrate social and push services very shortly. This cross channel communication will help us connecting our end customers instantly and smoothly.

Oh Man-drill . . . I wish they would have went with a lower limit on their free plan or even low cost plan that replaces current free plan. I use them on lots of client sites with low volume emails. This is going to take some time to sort out.

SendGrid's interface and dashboard are horrible.

Plus they don't store the message text for recent messages like Mandrill where it's viewable from the dashboard.

Any other options out there for free or low cost or with a decent dashboard.

We're actively working to improve the dashboard and standardize UX across SendGrid - that's the design team's big push this year.

Feedback would be very welcome. Shoot me an email (it's in my profile) with the details and I'll make sure it gets to the right people.

If you want to enjoy SendGrid deliverability but a different interface, check us out: sendwithus.com

We're designed as a higher level on top of email deliverability, offering some pretty rich features (email storing, great A/B testing, drip campaigns...)

Jeez man I think we all get it. You have a product you want to sell. Spamming is not the way to promote your email product.

We had more than a few really worried people reach out (before this thread), this change is very worrying to some. I'll dial it back though, thanks!

I wonder in what Venn diagram do the sections of "People who need newsletters" and "People who do transactional emails" overlap that much that this really makes sense?

There's also a blogpost about this by the founder: http://blog.mailchimp.com/important-changes-to-mandrill/ (side note: comments seem to be open there but when posting there, first I got a "you are posting too quickly", then trying again it went into moderation)

I can't believe this. I use their free plan because I send a minimal amount of email per month. Absolutely no way I'll consider going to $20 per month for my basic needs. I'll probably go ahead and switch newsletter services over to something else too. Who knows when they may get a wild hair and do away with their free account there too.

It's actually $30/mo minimum with Mailchimp's new pricing. $10/mo for the Mailchimp account + $20/mo for up to 25,000 monthly emails via Mandrill

Wow MailChimp. SES as a replacement for Mandrill? What are they smoking. Maybe they don't even understand their own product...

I haven't used SES, but I'm guessing it is complex, and "bare bones".

I got the vibe Mandrill didn't want to send any business to their _actual_ competitors.

The time period to make this change sucks. I accept they want to change, and they can do that. But I have paid them money for a service, and the rug is being pulled from under my feet with such a short period of time to work out what to do, and do it.

SES is pretty bare bones, and has had recurring issues with IP reputation management. It's well suited for integration but there are no straightforward simple APIs or dashboards as with Mandrill/SendGrid etc.

I went on a rather large rant about these Mandrill Policy Changes last night. I picked apart the post by Kaitlin as well as Ben Chestnut. It is interesting how they locked down the post so no one could publicly comment on the blog announcement. I have never seen them do that before. If anyone wants an in depth look at the policy changes, competitors available, or simply a good laugh then I recommend giving it a read. Feel free to comment or give feedback on the post.


For folks looking for alternatives, there's a good list here with some indicators on the quality of delivery as well.


Wow this is really interesting. Poooor showing from Mailgun!!!

As a Mailgun customer, I can unfortunately confirm this. A lot of our clients are having problems getting mails delivered in hotmail mailboxes. This started some weeks ago, and we haven't seen any improvement since. It is getting to a point that we're working on migrating to something else right now.

I'm sorry we let you down. If it's not too late, I'd love to get to the bottom of this today. Can you share details with me? josh [at] mailgun [dot] com

As I mentioned in the other thread, we're looking into the details concerning this test. It's not at all reflective of the actual customer experience.

It's a pretty good sign that you're posting here to be fair :)

Can you please email me the results of this? lucas [at] agencyrevolution.com - I am considering Mailgun but am hesitant after seeing this.

This was an unwelcome surprise.

We've loved using Mandrill at Open Exchange Rates[0], and enjoyed their simple "just works" approach. We've never trusted Mailchimp's primary product for some reason.

Now we'll be switching to a brand we can trust not to tell us "FYI we're shutting down your account in 45 days."

Personally feel disappointed that they seem to have transformed from a value-giver to a value-extractor.

Looking at Sendgrid - but open to any providers who wish to get in touch (email: cto@our domain).

[0] https://openexchangerates.org

As a non-user of Mandrill or MailChimp I look on this whole episode as a classic example of how not to make product changes. I suspect YC17 will be studying this as how not to go.

One thing I don't understand if this is all about the Benjamins while not just increase the price and leave the functionality unchanged. This way you would only lose the customers who are price sensitive and not those that now have to change their back ends.

This! Exactly! If money is an issue, then deal with that. What they're doing here is just messing with everyone at a level that is way too deep.

Mandrill was a commodity service much like electricity or water which people relied on it just working.

If the service was not making enough money then raise the price to whatever you need to and either grandfather in old customers or give very long lead times so your customers have the time to transition away if they wish.

This is such an obvious way to go that I think there must be something very dysfunctional within the leadership of Mailchimp. Did nobody there foresee what was the likely outcome of this move and advise against it? Did they talk to any of their customers before making this change?

Bye Mandrill. I've converted some of my clients' free accounts to paid once they started needing more features or sending more email, but going forward I'll be using someone else.

Amazon SES or alternatives might be a pain but at least they are an option for people who need good deliverability for transactional email but don't have the budget for a paid MailChimp account.

I've been looking for a good alternative since I received this news.

Someone mentioned sparkpost, and it seemed to be the one that was closest to what mandrill was offering (they offer 10,000 instead of mandrill's 12,000).

So I just tried SparkPost and at a quick glance, here is what I found

- You have to specify the "sending domain". In Mandrill, I could just do "from blah@whatever.com" and it worked. But with SparkPost, I have to specify "whatever.com" as a sending domain. But you have to verify the ownership of the domain, so the bottom line is you can't just change the "FROM EMAIL" address to anything.

- Also, I just sent a test email and it went straight to GMail SPAM folder. This never happened with Mandrill.

SendGrid it is. From what I've tested, it matches almost on par with what Mandrill offers.

This really doesn't make sense. Why not just implement Mandrill into Mailchimp like they wanted and keep Mandrill around also? I don't see it as an either or thing.

This move was probably more about the bottom line than anything else.

what isn't?

Just made a small calculation: for 3,000,000 subscribers, our costs are moving from 1,500$ to about 13,000$ if we go through Mailchimp. I don't understand why they're making us pay for only storing an email list.

Better I would suggest to use email delivery services from easysendy and connect it through sendgrid / amazon ses / mailgun.

Bye Mandrill, Hi Mailgun

Do you prefer Mailgun over SendGrid for any particular reason (both offer free accounts)?

Never tried Sendgrid but will check it out.

Note: Their free plan is down at the bottom of their pricing page

now I'm happy that we used SMTP plus tags in mail headers and not their API. at least we can hot swap their service. any recommendations on transnational email provider without initial sender domain verification?

I pay for both services currently so moving from free isn't necessarily a problem. But I am struggling to figure out what the pricing will be after these changes. I am surprised at the lack of clarity.

Hi, guys! We are eCentry, a company which provides digital marketing solutions since 1999, and our focus product now is Maildocker - Transactional emails for developers. Some of our features: Digital Signature + Email Tracking + Customizable IP Pools + Sandbox + Docklets (Independent customizable servers) among others. Try free: http://maildocker.com/us/

Bye Mandrill.


They had a pretty relaxed strategy on sender domain verification. which was great for white-labeling transnational email on multiple domains.

Goodbye Mandrill.

Has anyone here got any experience with using SMTP.com for sending transactional and bulk email via SMPT relay? I would love to know what you think of their service? I'm looking at potential services, and this is one on my radar that doesn't appear to be getting discussed here. But that makes me wonder if there is an obvious reason why not...

I've been reading conversations here on Hacker News and noticed that this has created a lot of frustration among existing Mandrill users, especially for those that have setup the system for their customers.

I believe that MailChimp was aware of this before making this decision and knew that they are going to loose some customers. At this point they will become a bit expensive, even more expensive than SendGrid and a lot of their customer base will migrate away.

However, I do believe that this is something they wanted with this move, so that people using the service for free which took advantage and sent spam and also small businesses that cannot afford to pay a high end service will move away.

Then, they will keep the MailChimp fans, those that afford the service and will spend more on the service.

In conclusion, it's a bold strategy change that will weed out some of the bad accounts and will ultimately improve the revenue stream for MailChimp.

What is really sad is the fact that they are going to also lose a lot of their genuine customers who do not want or need MailChimp.

I don't think it's as simple as that. This is a data mining exercise - to read our customer's subscribers data and to move from a "dumb pipe" to a "personalization engine". From mailchimp CEO's blog: "We came to a fork in the road, and choosing the “personalized transactional” path with Mandrill suits us and our customers better than the “utility” path."


I agree with you. They are essentially saying "bye" to those that used Mandrill only for the "utility" path.

That's a good point. As a longtime Mandrill customer who sends 750,000 + emails per month through their system, I have no problem with their decision to implement a new strategy.

What disappoints me is the way they've chosen to go about this -- specifically the fact that they've left us 3 weeks before these changes take effect.

That shows a lack of respect for their customers -- not just the "bad" ones and those looking for a free service, but all of us.

In making a change of this magnitude, they needed to allow more time between announcement and implementation and they needed to be much more clear up front about what the updated pricing structure will be (which they still have not done for high volumes).


I moved from mailjet to mandrill a couple years ago. Mailjet was great, make sure you check'em out when you are doing comparsions. Really sad about the mandrill change. Most of my projects I have no use whatsoever for mailchimp. Best regards.

We have Mandrill implemented in a lot of past projects and can't easily switch now. We'll get the mandatory MC account there, while screaming F U to them.

What we can and will do is dissuade all future clients from using Mailchimp.

Tinyletter is also a Mailchimp product. So I'll have to avoid using that now, in case they decide to fold it in with a paid Mailchimp sub later. Fool me once ...

I've signed up with Mailgun to try out, but there's also SendInBlue, which I've used to migrate out of Mailchimp several months ago.

Does anybody need a self-hosting transactional email app with Amazon SES integration? Similar to sendy but for transactional emails.

Yeah but i'd need smtp, maybe a plugin for ssmtp?

I don't use SES, but a quick search led me to this page[0] which suggests they do have an SMTP gateway.

What I'm more curious about is things like deliverability stats (in aggregate and for individual emails), which is the biggest value-add Mandrill provides us right now.

[0] http://docs.aws.amazon.com/ses/latest/DeveloperGuide/send-em...

They have Bounces, Complaints and Delivery notifications[0]. Is it what you need? or are you talking about open/read email notifications?

[0] http://docs.aws.amazon.com/ses/latest/DeveloperGuide/notific...

Thanks. Very useful to know. As I mentioned, I never used SES.

I'm sure SES provides great building blocks for something similar to Mandrill. But the value-add of ESP is tying those things together, so one can easily, e.g. search for an email address and find all previous emails sent, the delivery status etc, not to mention a nice web interface...

Open/Click tracking is also quite useful in some cases, and probably isn't supported by SES either(?)

BTW, a fun new latest development.. they've banned mass mailing from Mandrill with immediate effect.

do you have reference to this? No one has spoken to us and we do mass mailing in Mandrill.

Mailchimp sent a further email yesterday saying they had updated their TOS and AUP with immediate effect. So I decided to re-read the AUP: http://mailchimp.com/legal/acceptable_use/

.. and it now says, under Prohibited Actions: "Send bulk emails, meaning emails directed to a number of individuals with the same content, through Mandrill."

I don't think it became news because not many people are as crazy as me and read pages full of legalese when they change :-D

hm that sucks. We certainly do this, i wonder when they'll start to try and enforce it. This seems very unreasonable.

my short list between Amazon SES and SendGrid, please let me know your suggestions and why?

My experience with SendGrid is not very good. Slow delivery, random halts on e-mails due to low activity on account, which I was not notified about, the list goes on. They did update their UI recently which was a good step, but the other issues remain.

I'm thinking about trying SES.

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