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Ask HN: How do you handle software e-mail sending?
3 points by kellros 1378 days ago | hide | past | web | 3 comments | favorite
Hi, just to be clear I'm not referring explicitly to 'newsletters'.

I've been working on a (bulletproof) solution to orchestrate sending out e-mails programmatically for the past couple of months. Although I've built working proof of concepts', I'm still not entirely satisfied with my progress and the working of said proofs.

I would be delighted to hear how you manage e-mails in your software. Do you stick with the philosophy that e-mails should just be sent or have you devised an abstraction to handle it for you?

Do you stick with a provided SMTP server (ex. for shared hosting) or do you use dedicated services (ex. Amazon SES, Sendgrid, Google AppEngine, etc.)? I've been primarily using Amazon SES as it's pretty cheap and now with the Amazon SNS integration to notify regarding e-mail send statuses it's definitely my first choice.

What kind of e-mails are you sending out?

What are you doing to cater for spam filtering (ex. SenderId, DKIM signing, sending e-mails 1 for 1 to avoid bulk e-mail junk classification etc.) or do you cater for it at all?

What approach are you following to comply with electronic communication laws? As far as I know for general compliance it is required to send e-mails with personalized links (ex. unsubscribe for newsletters, manage communication preferences for system generated e-mails).

Do you gather analytics on your e-mails? If so, what do you use? Do you track opens/reads via personalized links, transparent gifs with query parameters or both? Do you customize the links for e-mail analytics purposes? (ex. to see which call of action is most effective)

Does your e-mail implementation cater for idempotency? Do you cater for bulk sending functionality and how do you manage it? (ex. grouping multiple e-mails under a task)

I've got a small side project that I'm getting started, and I'm using Amazon SES for it at the moment but I need to look into options because SES can't do everything that I'm trying to do.

I send emails such as password resets, user opt-ins (new content on the site that they're interested in), and private messages between users. I also receive email directly into the site, mostly so sending private messages to users via email allows them to reply to the mail from their email client. At the moment I don't really send newsletters or any kind of marketing email, only emails that are "part of" the app.

The thing that doesn't work for me with SES is the ability to have email aliases for things like support@myhost.com and have it forward to my personal email address. It doesn't matter if you've verified your personal address with Amazon, they won't send emails from unverified senders so Postfix aliases won't work. I'm not really sure what's a good way to handle this yet.. I don't want to subscribe to something like Sendgrid for this one use case, it's way too expensive for me when I'm just trying to get this thing started. Does anyone have any suggestion on a decent place to host my MX that won't cost a fortune so I can do email aliases like this?

We use Mailgun for the crypto challenges (often-repeated 1:1 email exchanges with ~4800 people) and it's been great.


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