UpshotMediaGroup February 25, 2016
by UpshotMediaGroup,
Project Manager
9 Comments

Mandrill Alternatives for Transactional Email

I recently had a few requests for Mandrill alternatives for transactional email service in light of the Mandrill Policy Changes announced yesterday. I am providing a formal list of some very good alternatives, some of which I have experience using. If you haven’t read the specifics around the Mandrill Policy Changes yet, then you might want to check out my mandrill rant first.

PRIMARY MANDRILL ALTERNATIVES FOR TRANSACTIONAL EMAIL SERVICE

MAILGUN
-10,000 free emails per month
-Full tracking analytics (open, click, delivery time, etc.)
-Built in subscription management
-Organized log management
-Sophisticated API
-Dedicated IP address option

SENDGRID
-12,000 free emails per month
-Full tracking analytics (open, click, delivery time, etc.)
-Built in subscription management
-Dedicated IP address option
-Marketing and newsletter service for additional fees

POSTMARK
-Your first 25,000 transactional emails are free (pretty affordable after that)
-Only tracks opens (Analytics not as robust as other options)
-Focuses completely on transactional email service (In fact their TOS doesn’t allow promotional emails)
-Greater learning curve for non-tech savvy individuals
-Shared IP option only, but the IP has a fantastic reputation
-People have commented that their SDK and interface are somewhat difficult to use
-No debug data
-No built in subscription management

AMAZONE SES
-62,000 free emails per month (when called from Amazon EC2 instance)
-Tracking Analytics include (successful delivery, rejected messages, bounces, complaints)
-Allowed to utilize service for transactional email, marketing, or other high-quality content to your customers

 

SECONDARY MANDRILL ALTERNATIVES FOR TRANSACTIONAL EMAIL SERVICE (Doesn’t mean weaker service, just not as strong brand presence)

SPARKPOST
-100,000 free sends per month
-Full tracking analytics (open, click, delivery time, etc.)
-Built in subscription management (slightly more complicated than others)
-Very nice API and well documented
-If you are willing to pay, they do offer Newsletter Promotional and SMS Marketing service

MAILJET
-Known for Great support
-6,000 free sends per month (200/day)
-Full tracking analytics (open, click, delivery time, etc.)
-Built in subscription management
-Dedicated IP address option

SMTP2GO
-Known for Great support (10 Years in Business)
-1,000 free sends per month
-Analytic Tracking (sent, bounces, spam complaints, unsubscribes)
-Provisioning within Hours
-Servers in 3 Data Centers in USA
-Advantages Over Mandrill: Better Pricing, Allow both Promotional and Transactional Email
-Advantages Over Sendgrid: Better Delivery/Reliability and more Intuitive Interface
-Future Roadmap: Launching website application re-brand in the coming weeks. Also working on a promotional newsletter service (like Mailchimp) that integrates into existing system.

CONCLUSION

I hope this information is helpful for those of you that decide to part ways with Mandrill. Mandrill hasn’t given some of us much of a choice. At this point our team is more concerned with swapping out a new email transactional service for our clients website applications, and we will get to our own soon enough. We have recommended Mandrill to some of our clients given that it was free for their estimated transactional email volume. Additionally, there are some nice packages available for the Laravel Framework in which we used for development on these projects. Since it is not our clients fault that we gave the recommendation to use Mandrill we are changing out their transactional email service for free, if they choose to do so. That is the service we want our clients to expect from us.

If anyone has any issues with the above services, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Several executives of these companies listed above have reached out to us after our “Mandrill Policy Changes are Frustrating” post hit the #5 spot on the 1st page of google 48 hours after release. Goes to show that a little elbow grease, original content, and some quick quality promotion (quality backlinking) can get your content seen rather quickly with good rankings. Need help with promoting your websites or content? Contact Us.

**********UPDATE TO POST ON Feb.29, 2016. We have added SMTP2Go.com as well as updated SparkPost which is now offering 100,000 free emails per month!!*********

If you aren’t an existing client, but need some assistance in selecting and implementing a new transactional email service, please contact us.

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9 Comments

  • Saulo Francisco says:

    Hi there,
    I’ve read your rant about Mandrill’s Policy changes and I gotta say that I’ve found a lot of users that are now “orphans” of a transactional emails dedicated platform. Besides all these alternatives, I would also recommend Maildocker’s platform: up to 10k free emails per month, developer oriented, fully customizable and behaviour-based automation flows. Its features are available at http://maildocker.com/en/features/. Good luck!

    • UpshotMediaGroup UpshotMediaGroup says:

      Hello Saulo,

      Thank you for the post and your feedback. I am not familiar with maildocker personally, but sounds like a viable alternative for people. Thanks for sharing!

  • ozzie says:

    Hello,

    Just wanted to let you know Sparkpost has changed their pricing plans and now offers 100k/ month on their free plan

  • Tracy says:

    Hey, not sure if you saw, but SparkPost has 100,000 emails/mo free now. They give the reason on why they can offer that here: https://www.sparkpost.com/blog/why-sparkpost-can-offer-100k-free-emails-per-month/#.VtRvAzYrI0o
    SparkPost Pricing: https://www.sparkpost.com/pricing

    • UpshotMediaGroup UpshotMediaGroup says:

      Hello Tracy,
      I have just updated our post to include the 100k free emails for SparkPost. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We have had quite a bit of outreach from numerous Managers and a few Executives of Transactional Email Service Providers listed above (and some not listed) wanting to be included in this post. We have also had quite a few consumers send us questions related to each service. We have decided to create a separate and specific post in which we actually demo each and every service while providing screenshots. We are working on putting together our criteria sheet which will allow us to compare each service fairly across the board. We will then be ranking each service based on their average overall grade from the set criteria. I will privately respond to each company listed above, but if anyone wants to be involved that is not listed above, let me know. Same is to be said if you are not interested in being part of the review post.

      • Tracy says:

        Thanks so much for the detailed reply, appeciate it. Also, if you have any questions while testing out SparkPost, please email developers@sparkpost.com – thanks!

  • Raj Gohil says:

    Pepipost – Free SMTP alternative to Mandrill

    http://www.pepipost.com/

    – Free plan and send up to 25,000 emails each month. Free forever.
    – No credit card required.
    – DKIM is not required (Domain Verification: (a.) Meta Tag Validation, (b.) File Creation – System can verify the domain based on the presence of a file in the root directory of the domain.).
    – Pay only for emails that are not opened by your customers.

    * 3 Months Free Unlimited Transactional Emails + 25k emails per month free forever.
    * Use the below code while signup with Pepipost.

    Code:
    MANDRILL-TO-PEPI

    Great! This is probably the best FREE alternative for Mandrill.

    • UpshotMediaGroup UpshotMediaGroup says:

      Hello Raj,
      Thank you for sharing. With that said, I seem to be seeing quite a bit of self promotion going on in this thread. I don’t mind promoting, but let’s make sure that the posts are useful for everyone reading them. I have never heard of PEPIPOST, so I can’t speak to whether it’s a good SMTP service or not. I can certainly add it to our list of services we are currently grading for a new informative post. One thing that does throw a red flag for me is the “paying for emails NOT opened by your customers”. I would need to see the fine print on this. Our team is working on a new comprehensive post on the different ESP’s to share with everyone next week.

      Thank you, and please come back to share in the future.

      • Sachin Tiwari says:

        Hi Upshot Media Group,

        We (Pepipost) might be small in terms of market presence. But we score high in customers satisfaction and performance! You can view our reviews here : https://www.g2crowd.com/products/pepipost/reviews

        Pepipost is a cloud based transactional and automated triggered email delivery platform.

        Pepipost started off in Jan 2015. Within 1 year of our existence, we got love of 2500+ clients spread across 15+ countries and delivering about 600M/month email traffic, with 96.7% Inboxing.

        Pepipost is built on a philosophy to create a clean and marketer friendly email ecosystem. With our disruptive pricing model and excellent performance and 24×7 support – and most importantly, the love of our customers is helping us grow exponentially.

        85% of today’s email is Spam and we don’t want to add up to that.
        We have carried up that philosophy into the pricing model where we don’t charge for the emails which are being opened by the customers. Emails that are clicked, opened or engaged with will always be free.

        Industry stats says 35-40% is the average open rate, hence that much of email volumes can be free. There is no limits, More your customer engagement is lesser will be your marketing spends. Entire pricing model is in your hands.

        We care for each and every emails, and this is how we differentiate from our competitors. Because of Mandrill customer migration we are offering 3 Months of free trial and 40% discount on your current spends with Mandrill. Read More: http://www.pepipost.com/index.php/mandrill-alternative/

        For any clarification you can reach me at sachin@pepipost.com


        Cheers,
        Sachin Tiwari
        Co-Founder | Pepipost

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