Cloud-based email-relay services (such as Amazon’s new SES service, among a dozen others) offer distinct advantages in today’s maturing email ecosystem. Features such as dramatically low CPM pricing models are great. However, with all due respect, discussions about the cloud-based model should contain a qualifier, noting that these services, while a prudent choice for some, are not necessarily the right solution for others. In the right situation, however, cloud-based email relay services can prove to be highly cost effective by reducing total cost of ownership, which is a great advantage. At the same time, it is important to remember that there are also some potential drawbacks. While these services might attract bulk senders in the short (or even long) run, as well as more than a few ESPs (that, hopefully, will pass the savings to the customer), they aren’t quite ready for the prime time just yet. There are several reasons why stand-alone cloud-based email relay services need to be refined before they are ready for widespread use. Here are some initial thoughts:
One aspect of cloud-based email that needs to be tweaked is its unpredictable, meter-based pricing (It’s not good to be surprised by the bill when volume spikes upwards. Sure, small business and small ESPs will originally benefit from low price points, but what happens when companies start to scale? In addition, with cloud-based email relay services, customers are subject to technology constraints, such as limited APIs. These limitations restrict the ability to provide stout injection systems on other administrative sending interfaces. Restriction of message submissions is a significant problem with cloud based systems, as it might affect how long it takes to process queues.
Additionally, business will suffer from IP reputation building, or real-time monitoring. Since the customer does not own the IPs used, the client has no real way of knowing or monitoring the sending practices and policies of the relay system in the cloud. Moreover, the lack of user-friendly email authentication set-up might hinder deliverability. This potential hindrance is due to the use of sender headers, in which organizations will relinquish branding to the vendor via the email headers. With specialized software, the brand or banner that is detected in the message header is not brand agnostic, whereas in a cloud-based relay, your brand is generally not noticed. Moreover, most cloud-based relay services lack best-of-breed technology. Also, they can raise reliability concerns, because most of these cloud services are built on open-source or custom software. Finally, we’re also seeing the lack of granular email delivery metrics, including uncovering specific types of bounces.
Enter Port25 Solutions, Inc. There are over a dozen types of cloud-based relay services and about 40% +/- of them have chosen to interface with PowerMTA™ on the backend. The idea has begun to catch fire due to the cost-effective features that PowerMTA™ offers, such as:
PowerMTA™ offers a buffer between the message creation application and cloud delivery service, as it seamlessly handles network congestion/remote latencies, retries, etc. In addition, it boasts built-in support for the latest and most widely used authentication protocols. When interfacing with PowerMTA™, there is no need to develop around a proprietary service provider’s interface. Instead, PowerMTA™ uses the universally accepted and ubiquitous SMTP interface. PowerMTA™ also allows sites to pre-generate messages in advance and then have them delivered to the service provider behind the scenes, when desired or when mutually agreed upon.
Further benefits include allowing senders to easily and simultaneously diversify among various service providers at the same time, using its advanced segmentation and routing feature set of VirtualMTAs. And as senders begin to scale, it offers them a simple contingency plan for their email requirements, if businesses ever choose to bring delivery in-house. Additionally, cloud-based relay services could benefit from both bounce and FBL parsing, if the service provider does not currently offer this feature. And as cloud-based email relay services begin to mushroom, interfacing with PowerMTA™ can help them achieve both market leading feature sets and unparalleled support for technical assistance. Finally, interfacing minimizes reliability problems for relay service providers, because their customers will be submitting from a consistent and controllable SMTP compliant interface.
Current cloud-based customers who interface with PowerMTA are:
Ultimately, the degree to which cloud-based services expand their capabilities will depend on how customers utilize these services. Therefore, it is critically important that these services listen to their customers’ feedback, and work to provide new features to improve their services. Interfacing with PowerMTA™ can alleviate pain points, and help make customers’ experience with cloud-based email relay services smoother. Therefore, if cloud-based services want to move up in the email hierarchy, partnering with PowerMTA™ is a significant step in the right direction.
In conclusion, consider the remarks of Chris Nagele of PostMark, who commented on the role of PowerMTA™ at his company. Nagele stated, “At Postmark, our goal is to simplify transactional email and ensure those important emails get to the inbox for web applications. With incredible performance and real time monitoring of each ISP, PowerMTA™ has allowed us to scale sending and instantly handle delivery problems to maintain a great reputation. It’s a core part of our business.”