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Show HN: SESS – Simple Email Sending Service (sess.email)
54 points by jath 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

Amazon's email service is called SES, simple email service. Since these names are quite similar and could cause confusion, you are probably infringing on their trademark.

At first glance I thought this post was going to be an SES feature or something. So...

Looking this up on mobile. I hope you're considering making it more mobile friendly. But then I'm not sure how many would prefer composing newsletters on mobile. Good luck though.

Composing on email might be a thing. But for me, I can’t even view pricing or terms on my iPhone 8 Plus.

My only concern with trying this as someone just starting out with email marketing is that I don't know my SBUR rate... in fact I would assume that the first ever email to a new population (even if legitimate) is bound to have a far higher rate given errors in data collection (say collected on paper, leading to bad email addresses and bounces) and keen unsubscribers.

Then I'm successfully banned and have to go to another platform with my slightly cleaner email list!

Let me rephrase your query. If you send 2 emails and 1 bounces, then your SBUR would be 50% and so will you be banned?


We predicted this would happen. The SBUR doesn't kick in for the first few thousand mails. Over time your list gets cleaner (because we keep track of bounces, unsubscribes and dont send them emails from next time on.)

(I'm one of the engineers who developed SESS.)

Dirty spammer hack: include 50% of recipients as addresses you control, and that won't ever bounce, complain, or unsubscribe. That pushes SBUR down, likely below threshold.

These are often addresses created manually by 'click farmers' so they don't have obvious patterns which could enable an email service provider to identify them. (I'm still working on figuring out ways to detect this...)

Or, send spam to a new address via another service, then only use SESS to send to the ones who had opened or clicked on the other service. This is known as 'waterfalling'. Using this method, bounce rates can approach zero, and complaints/unsubscribes are likely to stay below 1% each - but make no mistake, ISPs can and will often still detect the email as spam.

You will need more complex ways to detect approaches like these, as well as other forms of spam/abuse. I would suggest starting with looking at thresholds for bounces, unsubscribes, and complaints independently - sometimes complaint rates of 0.1% can be a strong indicator of spam.

Related - don't limit your contractually-defined recourse to just SBUR rates. I would recommend including terms that allow you to ban or suspend users for any form of spam or abusive activity, "in the sole judgement of SESS.EMAIL" or similar. (I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.)

Hey, thanks for the points. Will be sure to factor these in.

I mean, that's also an interesting question to ask, and a reasonable answer.

But it's not quite my original point - which is that if I don't know my SBUR rate, that would put me off ever starting to use this service. Though of course your competitors may have similar rates I'm just not aware of.

What constitutes a "valid business email", exactly? I entered one, clicked "verify", and was warned to "enter a valid business email." I assure you, I did. What's the trouble?

A valid business email is one where you should be able to receive and send mails. If you have a 'catch all' email id, the system does not accept that.

Having said that i must say our algorithm is deliberately a bit aggressive (so as to prevent spam).

Your email could very well be a false positive. Could you write to support@sess.email from the business email in question. I'll be happy to look into it and whitelist it.

What technical means do you use to detect a catch-all address? I know of no reliable method for that purpose, since receiving server cooperation would be required and could not be trusted.

This won't detect a catch-all address, but will almost always detect a catch-all domain: send email to [long random string]@domain. Does it bounce or is it accepted?

How does the existence of a catch-all, of any kind, make it not a "valid business domain?"

I'm not commenting on whether it's a good heuristic or not. Just a possible approach.

Why would you block by that? I've worked places that intentionally did use the catch-all, mostly against misspellings.

I use catchalls for my business domains too.

I don't get what problem is this solving compared to :

AWS SES , SendGrid , JetMail etc... and the hundreds of others provider in this domain.

Looks great, but email composition is only half the battle.

The page is silent on what, if anything, is being done to help deliverability. Does the site have any kind of relationship with the big ESPs? How 'clean' are the IPs right now? What, if any, mitigation is in place for the sending IPs inevitable reputation degredation? Or is a EDS being used to actually send the emails?

SESS is tightly wired to use SES (AWS). We do a bunch of algorithmic checks to validate email/domain validity plus assessing the risk-factor of uploaded email list. If you have a clean list deliverability is closer to 100%.

Edit: Thanks for the note. I will make a mention of the deliverability on the site.

nice, I'm working on something similar with something like this:

   <script src="//email.js.fo">
and then you can design your own forms and add email functionality, basically a backend as a service.

I get a: 'e {code: "app/duplicate-app", message: "Firebase: Firebase App named '[DEFAULT]' already exists (app/duplicate-app)."' in console when trying to verify my email.

Could you write to support@sess.email with a screenshot. Im curious to look into whats happening here. Thanks.


(And an "Invalid Link" page at the email verification destination)

How are you validating business emails? I see you don't allow a lot of those disposable emails. Thats a good thing. Take care of the spammers before they drag you down.

Neat app. i kind of like the simplicity. I would suggest there better be a nice reason for not having the login. Having to verify email every time could be a pain.

I’d like to use this but i see i have to manage my email list on my own. Probably could do it in Google sheets as suggested but its a small hassle to overcome.

I think this is a nightmare, even sending 1000 spam mails multiple times can ruin whole IPv4 prefixes. How do you deal with that?

Hi, im one of the engineers that built SESS.

We knew we could become a potential spam magnet. Like ive been mentioning in other comments here, we have an algorithm that does checks at multiple levels before a campaign is sent. If the algorithm deems the list as risky it triggers an automatic payment refund. The algorithm is also self learning. Over time its designed to assess the risk-function of an email list. (I'm from a data science background and SESS is a side project which uses learnings we get from elsewhere).

This is going to become a spamming service in 3.. 2..

How will you be dealing with that inevitable problem?

Hi, im one of the engineers that built SESS. I can't get into specifics but we have a nifty little algorithm that works at multiple levels right from checking whether you have a valid business email to email list scanning to match bounces from a master bounce list etc. etc. Finally if it deems the list is risky it triggers an automatic payment refund.

From the about page:

>You are not allowed to send unsolicited emails. If your SBUR (Spam + Bounce + Unsubscribe + Reject) rate is >=5% you are automatically banned without any prior intimation.

They will need to add machine learning based classification of mails before sending them. Spammers will just create the next account until they get detected again. Their servers will be faster on a blacklist than they can spell Spamhaus.

I recommend ULMFiT [1].

[1]: http://nlp.fast.ai/classification/2018/05/15/introducting-ul...

Like i mentioned in an earlier comment, we have a nifty little program that checks both the validity of the business email as well as the domain. Then a sampling of the list is done to weed out troublemakers. We do a little bit more. Unfortunately i can't get into specifics here :)

Ok, nice to hear that. It seems that you've put some thoughts in it. Mail is very easy to mess up, so I wish you all good luck!

Hi, i'm one of the engineers that made SESS.EMAIL as a side project. AMA.

Nice designer. Is there a simple way to make the emails look like they came from a server in my domain? (e.g. can they relayed through my own SMTP server provided I make the necessary configuration tweaks)

Is the website not mobile friendly? It acts really wonky on my side. Firefox Beta on Android.

I must agree that we have not given particular thought to making this work on mobile. We made the assumption that people composing newsletters would mostly be working on desktops than on mobiles.

That's probably true for actual customers using the service, but when people discover your site, they're more likely to be on mobile. You can have a different landing page for mobile that focuses on the "about" without having the huge composer page.

I was unable to read the terms of service on mobile.

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