The beta program of my new startup, Maildown, is now complete and is now accepting paying customers:
As well as a lot of stability enhancements, we've added a new help system, a new CLI (https://github.com/chris104957/mailer-cli) and a REST API.
Maildown lets you create transactional and marketing email campaigns using Markdown syntax, so you can generate and send your email content far more quickly than with traditional WYSIWYG editors.
Thanks for looking,
If a new competitor enters this market that competitor will have to solve this problem again without being able to provide an additional benefit to customers.
So, building your own email delivery infrastructure - even if by merely using existing cloud-based infrastructure such as AWS SES - might prove to be an uphill battle.
It might still be worth it though in order to remain independent of third parties.
Why would they need to compete equally with Mailchimp?
Edit: I am currently unable to verify an email address with a "+" in it, as well.
Maybe you can simplify one of these approaches for normal users:
(I should note that there is a platform that offers something similar to this already: https://buttondown.email/)
But while Markdown on its own is great to see more of in the email space, I think there's room to extend the idea. A few years ago, an employee of CakeMail created this great demo of a concept that mixed shortcodes and Markdown, but never followed through with the idea: http://cakedown.alexandredeschamps.ca/
Part of the problem with that design was that it was built around specific components in Foundation for Emails, which kinda backed that design in a corner, but there's room to allow end users to custom-build components for easy access, along the lines of what MJML can do. To me, I think that idea has a ton of blue water around it. Nobody is combining shortcodes and Markdown in this way for email clients, and it could potentially be very valuable as an alternative to the overly complex WYSIWYG editors the rest of the email market uses.
I run a newsletter with 10k+ subscribers (https://tedium.co/) and I run it on Craft CMS in a way that replicates the CakeMail approach to a degree, with my own flourishes (which was convenient as I already use shortcodes for my text). It allows me to throw in ads on the fly and simply add design features to content without a lot of extra work. I'd love to see the general idea get picked up by some new email provider.
I think we need more thinking in this direction, because a lot of email tools are built for marketing, which means that editorial concerns get short shrift. I could see stuff like this making a lot of sense for the growing editorial newsletter market if it's handled the right way.
Ultimately emails are rendered using Django HTML templates, and it supports most of the Django template syntax. I'm thinking there is probably way more that Maildown could exploit here to give it the ability to create richer content within emails
I also miss a lot of information. How do you prevent ending up in spam boxes? Which templates to choose from? What can be configured, what not? Etc.
Also interesting insights / developer journeys like how easy Chargebee is for you as developer, etc. would give me some incentive to try it out. Just my two cents!
PS: 3 days ago https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19562539 it was a MVP and probably buggy. Maybe tell that to your customers as well. ;-)
Edit: Plus `## Creating contact lists` in the docs doesn't seem to have rendered properly.
There are quite a number of articles written about this topic, I’d recommend researching it.
In terms of spam protection, an unsubscribe link is added to all sent emails, to make it harder to spam people. Once unsubscribed, it's impossible to send any more mail to a user.
There's a templates gallery in the app - I'm planning to add a carousel to the landing page to show the possible email themes there
I'd add some examples of emails that look good that are done in Markdown. Starter templates would be really helpful.
I'd change the limit from X emails/day to X/month. Who sends mass email every day?
I can't tell what the pricing would be for a much larger number of emails without signing up. Do it the way Mailchimp does -- put your pricing slider outside the signup.
Your feedback on monthly vs daily is also interesting. Will consider that - ultimately it you exceed your daily limit There is no hard fail, it just gets retried later
I couldn't verify my email, or find any contact info though...
There's a quick start guide in the docs (https://docs.maildown.app) which guides you through the process of creating and sending your first email - probably worth a look.
Eventually I'd like to add an in-app tutorial which shows the buttons to click to get you started. As I've mentioned in another reply, I know the learning process is still not yet obvious
Including some of the docs inline in the editor would be very useful... wouldn't have seen the templates (including recipient name etc) otherwise.
I lost my edits because I assumed they'd be saved (save button was below the fold..)
I like the style of the dashboard.
Later I noticed I have to go to "email addresses" and "check verification status". You'll probably lose some people at this step, since I hadn't expected to need to do that.
Also in "my campaigns" it says "Click on the campaign name to expand" but actually you have to click on the arrow at the end of the row.
However, the concerns would be:
1. Deliverability and everything to do with spam ranking etc.
2. Price. Email is a total commodity. It needs to be sharp.
3. Stability. Is this a 1 year "startup idea" or a company that's in it for the long run?
Price is in line with similar competitors and starts at £3.50 a month
The stability thing applies to any new startup, but we've had a lot of interest in this so far so it seems like it will make sense to continue
I’d like to set up mail campaigns as markdown sure, but ideally as a folder structure in a git repo. Then gut push to publish. I don’t want to use a web UI at all because they are slow and sucky. And I want my campaign properly backed up.
Out of curiosity, have you tackled email deliverability yet? If so, may I ask if you have any recommended reading sources. I recently found myself interested in the topic.
As Maildown uses SES, I did find this article to be quite helpful: