>Apparently, only one partner, Robert Morris, reviewed the SendGrid application, and he gave it a highly negative score, calling it a "spam company."
In contrasts perhaps they fall in love with deeply technical ideas that pleases the engineer inside them, but ultimately will fail to become a successful business.
Most of the spam that gets through my spam filter now comes from gmail (which is impossible to do anything about, as google doesn't give a fuck about abuse reports).
I receive about 1-3 spam at most in my old, well published, gmail account. And it's never in any of the sorted columns besides maybe "Promotion", which I rarely check.
I receive 5-20 spam messages a day from @gmail addresses. Not a huge number, but some days it jumps to 50-100. (These messages really did get routed through google, rather than being faked.)
This is a growing source of spam for me personally and services I've worked on that have public email addresses (eg. support@), especially if near a mailing address. (Other services scrap lists of "local" businesses and sell them to the end users of the spam services.) Blocking gmail smtp is a non-starter due to popularity, graylisting doesn't help, and I haven't been able to find anywhere they take spam reports; search results are overwhelmed by discussion of reporting spam as a user of GMail.
In a capitalist society (such as we live in, like it or not), we express value in money. IF your company isn't making money, is it adding value? If people aren't willing to pay for it, is it actually any use to them?
The notable example for this is Facebook. We don't pay for it. Advertisers do. That shows where the value is...
Things that are bad for you can still be valuable. I still willingly buy beer, even though I know it's bad for me.
Value isn't what you think it is, if you think that smoking provides no value.
If every company sought only money for money's sake and did nothing else, then they would all act like Oracle.
Yes, but it's a very imperfect way to capture value.
Without legal support, it doesn't account for negative externalities - eg, if your factory saves money by dumping waste into a stream, making people sick (but you don't pay for that). Or your site gets visitors by sending spam, wasting the time of the recipients and everyone who works trying to filter spam (but you don't pay for that).
It doesn't account for things consumers don't have the foresight to care about, or don't have options to choose between. Eg companies that manufacture a fridge that will last 10 years and be unrepairable may make more profit than those who would make one that lasts 50 years and be repairable, because they'll sell more product. Planned obsolescence wastes resources, but is profitable.
It also doesn't account for the value of things like raising children. If I play for my own children for 2 hours, that's not part of GDP, but if I pay someone else to, it is.
And it doesn't account for the fact that people's desires and priorities are warped. Child pimps generate revenue, whereas the social workers rescuing kids from them do not.
Fair call, good stuff. I hope you manage to change the world to your liking.
Meanwhile, in a capitalist society (such as we live in, which you clearly don't like), we express value in money.
The game of capitalism requires referees. Otherwise, robbery is an excellent business model.
I'd like to demonstrate my point of view about money=value with a story, if you don't mind reading a bit:
When I was in my late 20's I was earning a lot of money working on a software project that was doomed to failure. Everyone on the project knew it was doomed, but it was politically infeasible for the current management to pull it or deal with the fact that it was going to fail. So every day, our little team of very expensive contractors wrote a bunch of code that we knew was never going to be tested, let alone run on real server. We all collected our pay and waited for the project to be canned.
During this time, I met a nurse randomly one night. We ended up walking around town talking. She had just got off shift at a local hospital, saving people's lives. She got paid about 10% of what I did. The ridiculousness of me getting paid 10x more than her, when I was producing nothing of any value, while she was saving lives, was stark, and it has always stuck with me. It seems like such an obvious mis-allocation of funds, a failure of the economy.
But in a larger sense, building the Internet (by which I mean our global networked computer-based infrastructure) is the thing that Humanity is engaged in at the moment. When they write the history of our time, it will be all about the Rise of the Internet. Creation of public health services, on the other hand, was the thing we did last century. So in that sense, it's easy to see why our profession is highly paid, even if the small-scale project we're working on right now is doomed. We are doing the most important thing on the planet right now, and everything else is merely background noise to that effort (at the moment, this will change).
All this is a long-winded way of saying that seeing emergent behaviour from inside the thing is much harder than seeing it from the outside. To us, this all looks like random bullshit and injustice. But zoomed-out, from a historical perspective, it makes more sense. Still not perfect, but at least coherent. The individual injustices and weird nonsense get smoothed out, and it looks like everyone had a plan all along.
Are just some of the social sites whose founders were all spammers.
There are more but i forget some.
Also, there's a big difference between using a free product and working for a company that supports China/Saudi Arabia/etc. Or in YC's case, bringing billions of dollars worth of investment into a country that sends Muslims to concentration camps, and helping them build a dystopian surveillance state that will force everyone to spread their propaganda and fall in line; while being completely helpless as hundreds of millions of lives are destroyed..
That being said, I do try to avoid using products of unethical companies, and I would resign without a second's hesitation if I found out my company was involved with these evil governments.
Not really a big fan of China, but lets be a bit more consistent here.
China is in the middle of an empire-building enterprise and like every such enterprise, (UK, Russia, United States), does many awful things. Yet compared to some places in the Middle East, I don't think it's nearly as evil. Certainly not "the greatest evil the world is facing today", (the only way I can see that is if you think U.S. global supremacy is great).
Personally, I'd argue the greatest evil the world is facing today is people in power ignoring climate change.
> only China is capable of forcing almost every country and company into their submission
You must have missed the war in Yemen, as an example.
> there's a big difference between using a free product and working for a company that supports China/Saudi Arabia/etc.
How so? The products I mentioned are not free software for the most part, by using the product, (even their "free" plan), you're supporting the company China/Saudi Arabia invests in and thus supporting these governments economically.
> bringing billions of dollars worth of investment into a country that sends Muslims to concentration camps
As I said, that's really a case against empire building and a case I agree with, however it's been done by every empire. Similar things have happened at black sites in Iraq etc. so I think the consistent line to take is to be against investing in any empire in that case, which would include YC's home turf.
> I would resign without a second's hesitation if I found out my company was involved with these evil governments
That is a great stance, however the cynic in me thinks they probably already are in some way, even if you don't know it.
1 - https://postmarkapp.com
Still, I miss Mandrill the most.
A quick Google search shows that Twilio's market cap is currently $7.4 billion. Does this $2 billion "all-stock" transaction mean that they are giving away over a quarter of the company to pay for this acquisition? Or how else should I read this?
So yes they are creating new shares making every other share worth less but it isn't a direct transfer of existing shares. You'll notice companies get board approval for setting aside a number of theoretical shares they could create if they wanted to for things like this or secondary offerings, etc.
> 0.485 shares of Twilio Class A common stock per share of SendGrid common stock
Technically, issuing new shares dilutes every existing shareholders' ownership. But, if the market deems this to be an intelligent combination that was valued correctly, the market cap of the combined company should be ~$9.4B or (ideally) more. So the goal is for existing shareholders to hold, at worst, the same amount of value in dollar terms as before or, at best, hold more value as a result of the acquisition.
That doesn't seem right. Are my numbers wrong?
elasticemail.com - $90
sparkpost.com - $474
mailgun.com - $515
sendgrid.com - $534.95
smtp.com - $900
Or is there anyone between elasticemail / mailgun worth considering?
* Please don't suggest Amazon SES.
Before you know it, you're sending 20k-50k notification emails every day, and over a million emails a month, without making any money or while barely staying afloat with $100-400/month in ad and donations revenue.
Almost none of the SaaS or IaaS solutions HN loves to praise are within this use case's price range but scrappy not-for-profit communities like this deserve to exist, too. You're basically limited to leasing a bare-metal server or two and making it do almost everything you need.
The difference between $100/mo and $900/mo is the difference between getting to stay online or shutting the forum down. Even the difference between $10/month and $100/month might be enough to close shop over.
Personally, in this scenario, I've found setting up my own mail server with a tool like Postal or Cuttlefish to be worth every minute and delivery rates to even be better (due to getting to manage my own IP address's reputation vs sharing a mail-sending IP with anyone else).
It can take months for an IP to earn a reputation as a non-spammer, but once it's earned I find it hard to believe that Sendgrid offers any additional ability to get emails delivered outside of the natural earning of reputation.
You end up on blacklists by sending out spam. Don't spam - meaning, don't send unsolicited emails. That's it. That's all. Done. There's no magical secret sauce to this like SES, SendGrid, Sparkpost, and friends want you to believe.
There are two things you have to do to not spam:
- Don't be the one sending spam. Don't send your users any email they don't ask for short of extenuating circumstances that truly or legally warrant it, like a security breach. Just don't. This also includes making it brain-dead simple to unsubscribe from anything they once signed up for.
- Don't let anyone else send spam through your server. Keep it locked down. Lots of criminals are constantly prowling the IPv4 address space for poorly secured mail servers to fire out a million crappy scam mails from before a blacklist notices.
The amount of work that blacklists create is grossly overblown. If you're doing email right, the only time you'll ever interact with one is when your mail server gets owned - in which case, you send the blacklists a quick note to explain what happened, that you fixed it, and they take you off of it within a day.
Sign up for mxtoolbox.com, secure your server, respect your users' inboxes, and you only have the box's uptime to worry about.
Microsoft is the pickiest email provider to get good delivery rates to - they require a gradual volume ramp-up over 1-4 weeks on a fresh IP to see it as good, in my experience, and SNDS is something to keep a close eye on during that time - it clearly indicates your IP's reputation with them and how much mail they see from it. That number being higher than expected plus the sample emails they provide may indicate something going wrong - through this, I once discovered an obscure feature in a software package I used that allowed visitors to send emails to arbitrary addresses.
Mandrill has better delivery than the other email services I've tried but is cripplingly expensive for a hobby project that happens to have a nontrivial userbase.
No, not really, we are using one the most expensive offerings in Switzerland. Renting dedi servers for spamming would be not only extremely expensive, they would kick you right away if they noticed. As i said we did nothing wrong, used monitoring and our invoice emails would sometimes end in the spamlist for microsoft, after trying to get it right i gave up and hooked mandrill.
if you are runnig some random internet forum, some part of your notifications ending in spam is not a big deal, but for us, invoices ending in spam box is not something you can ignore.
And in my experience the major services have unpredictable spam filter behavior.
I even saw Google being cute and assuming mail in Japanese was spam - because my profile is western.
So yeah. If your goal is 100% (not high 90s) deliverability - including the odd big attachement or foreign encoding mail - it's not trivial.
Thankfully I don't care that much if a recepient at Gmail or outlook don't get my mail;it's their fault. If it's a problem the recipient should move to a more reliable mail provider.
It's obviously not as easy for commercial/work mail...
It’s worth paying someone if deliverability is important.
Getting blacklisted is a temporary state and I maintain it's easy to recover from if your IP's and domains had a good history. I've experienced the IP's that email hosting services send my mail through being blacklisted and then waiting days for them to deal with it versus being able to contact blacklists on my own behalf to resolve things same-day.
I used to pay one of these services $xxx/month and experienced delivery rates around 60-70% that they couldn't do anything about other than offering me a dedicated IP for a lot more money. Moved to my own mail server with an OSS transactional email system and delivery rates shot up to 99%-ish while eliminating the email bill.
Seems to be fewer such services now than a decade ago, but maybe something like:
The idea behind SaaS is that it's wildly more expensive (higher margins) because it frees up all those hours to making profit. So make a hundred spend fifty, versus make twenty spend ten on hosting. Or something along those lines.
The original question was for marketing email, if you are sending a million marketing emails a month and not making enough money then the conclusion that you are sending spam is not unreasonable
Or just use something like Elastic Email or SES.
> The original question was for marketing email, if you are sending a million marketing emails a month and not making enough money then the conclusion that you are sending spam is not unreasonable
That's fair enough.
When I last tried to use them for marketing purposes with paying clients, it was really hit and miss.
See below. They are old links, but serves my point.
Just configure SPF and DKIM, and send email basically for free, no? Is there some back magic that these services perform to avoid getting blacklisted?
What’s the benefit of using one of these services besides a nicer API and a dashboard?
1. IP address reputation -
Keeping your IP addresses reputable is not a simple task. It requires balancing your emails for popular destination domains (gmail.com, aol.com, yahoo.com, etc.) across multiple external IP address. It requires you to deal with many different conflict resolution departments, who don't care about email, when a dispute comes up. It's practically a requirement to use a service like ReturnPath to maintain your reputation.
2. Throttling -
When doing it yourself you need to throttle yourself. This is problematic on "big" days, especially when your marketing department wants to send many millions of emails for a big product push, promotion, or on days like black friday/cyber monday.
3. Hiring -
A lot of people think sending email is easy. When you get up to the multiple million per day mark things start to fall apart. Do you have someone(s) on staff who really know sendmail/postfix/qmail inside and out?
4. Monitoring -
sendmail/postfix/qmail are often times hard to monitor. You have to put together all of your stats. You have to put together all of your alerts. If you aren't really experienced with bulk email, you won't know what to look for and that can impact your reputation. Also consider your logging infrastructure. sendmail/postfix/qmail are noisy.
5. Cost -
All of the points above play into the cost aspect of it. Is it cheaper to run it yourself, pay for all of the services and salaries, etc. Or is it actually cheaper to just use sendgrid/mailgun/etc. IP address reputation services are not cheap. Infrastructure cost is also something to consider. AWS IPs all have pretty terrible reputations so running this in AWS (and maybe other cloud providers) is a non-starter since no one will accept your email.
If you've got the expertise and you are sending a massive amount of emails then it might be worth it to run your own infrastructure, but at the end of the day, a single developer consuming an API is often easier and less problematic.
1. SAAS web app to manage the service with logs, and configuration as well as multi-user management with various roles.
2. HTTP Rest-like api for sending mail from your app
3. API keys for authentication, managed through web app
4. They do monitor black-lists and removals from blacklists. They also manage the warm-up time for your IP to make sure it is ready to send the volume of email you are sending, and can queue emails to avoid sending too many at once to the same destination mail service.
5. Spam control, in case you use the key in an app that turns out to have a relay vulnerability.
6. Return-path management to catch blocks and smtp errors.
I've managed my own SMTP services with PostFix and SendMail, and I will never go back to doing that myself again. It would take a lot more than 1M emails/month to make that worthwhile.
I use one of the service even for my private email server (which is essentially free for the volume being sent), so I don't have to have stupid conversation like check for spam box whenever I send emails.
Having emails land in spam box pretty much makes your email non existent with the volume of spams being sent today. What is the reason not to use one of the services either privately or professionally?
Yes. No matter what your project is, unless your secret sauce has to do with email delivery or your business model requires email delivery to be free, do not attempt to roll your own email delivery service. No one has ever looked back and wished they had.
If you set up SPF and Domainkeys/DKIM that is an added vote of confidence but Sendgrid doesn't even require it, so I think most of the value of Sendgrid is simply offering a stable IP address and a convenient API. Am I wrong?
That poster gave a very detailed breakdown, but point #1 is enough to make anyone who’s done this before cry in a corner from the abuse they endured.
Keep the one off transactional ones on a different domain. Then, if your bulk emails cause a false positive, you haven't burned essential things like receipts, password resets, shipping notices, etc.
At a previous job (company sent ~2m emails/day), I was good friends with the engineer in charge of our mail infrastructure and he was really impressed by their platform, particularly the APIs around getting non-deliverability notification.
As long as it isn't spam and bounces are handled appropriately deliverability shouldn't be a problem.
The costs for delivery service aren't really high, not sure what the point of sending it all by yourself.
You should at least use a long living domain to increase deliverability.
I could very easily see someone spending $500/mo of their time, or a couple of days at most, fiddling with the mail system every month or dealing with crises.
I guess I'll have to keep looking.
It's only too bad that SendGrid has struggled to get its marketing email solution off the ground in a meaningful way. If anyone was going to eat MailChimp's lunch, SendGrid would be my choice as top contender. And yet despite SendGrid releasing many iterations of their marketing email solution over the past 5 years they've never seemed to get a lot of success outside of their bread-and-butter transactional email vertical. Their marketing solution brings in less than 20% of total revenue last I heard.
Yes, I emailed support about a few issues but received the blanket "What browser are you using?" when I provided full details. So I built a marketing system on top of their API and fixed those issues for our users.
Only because of that I hope they go under sooner than later.
Kind of shocked that SendGrid didn't IPO but still this is a great victory for both teams!
I ask, as I believe that SendGrid is now built on top of AWS: https://sendgrid.com/blog/sendgrid-joins-amazon-web-services...
There are people who can confirm or deny this better than I can.
sendgrid: search email address, find the bounces, click the button that says allow and user gets emails.
ses: set up an sqs queue. Pipe all bounces into a db. manage said db. Make a service with ui to search for emails. include a ui to unblock address.
Maybe it's easier nowadays, but at least a few years ago it was a night and day difference.
My least favorite aspect is that the API always claims a success even if that address is in the global blocklist, the only way to learn about bounce backs is to subscribe via SNS.
Also the UI is effectively useless.
AWS UX in general is kind of a mess. Vast in its services, no doubt, but just messy.
One thing Sendgrid is good at it letting people easily send emails (ie, receipts, confirmation emails, etc.) on behalf of their clients, while still passing SPF/DKIM checks, which Mailgun and Sparkpost make a bit harder. If you're working on a SaaS product that needs to send emails on behalf of your clients, Sendgrid is an obvious choice.
SES isn’t really comparable (a lot more work on your part). Mailgun has been doing some really good work though.
- Security (not keeping things secure - offering custom security options. SAML, user roles, permissions, IP whitelisting, etc)
Building to support big complex customers is hard and if you get it right from a product and sales perspective, the inertia you can build is massive.
Unfortunately, Mailgun is pretty slow to deliver emails, so I use SendGrid to send emails for that.
Perhaps not a huge moat, but there is some secret sauce.
Their UX is miles better than any AWS offering so I am very excited.
They were pitched & passed on: AirBnb, Apple, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Intel, Intuit, Paypal, Snapchat, Tesla..
Wow, that has got to be hard to swallow now.
Let me explain ...
The easiest way to do things with twilio is to use a 'twiml bin' because you don't need any external hosting or any third party - you code the twiml bin right in the twilio interface and it resides there. The end.
However, there is no email "verb" or any email functionality of any kind available - not even in the new twilio functions.
Let's say you want to cc: an incoming SMS to an email address in addition to its phone destination, you need to host code somewhere.
Why isn't there an email verb for twiml bins ?
I don't want a sendgrid account. cc'ing an SMS is a very, very simple and obvious use-case and I should be able to do it right in a twiml bin (or, at least, in a function ...)
I suspect we represent a core customer type for both firms, and I rather suspect they have a pretty extensive overlap in their client list, so some obvious synergies will be around support, APIs, account management, etc.
Fundamentally, their business is about running APIs that let them accept incoming requests from people like me, processing it, and then passing it on to some very ugly external services that will (eventually, hopefully) display a text message to someone at the far end. That's a lot of overlap!
Aside from that, Twilio can now act as almost a one-stop shop for your outbound communication needs - all that’s left is physical letters.
Anybody know the valuation pre GDPR?
My assumptions about HN's algorithm seem to be way off