Migrating from Mandrill to SparkPost

If you’re reading this then you where probably slapped by MailChimp’s latest
announcement to merge Mandrill into MailChimp. You may be outraged because you
were on their free tier which is going away. Personally I don’t agree with your
rage. In fact, I think you’re a freeloader.

That being said, I was a paying customer on Mandrill’s smallest plan. I was
paying 10 bucks a month and using about 17k of my 25k allotment. I can’t be mad
at them for the change. But since I am being faced with a 3x increase to my
monthly expense, I’m definitely voting with my dollar.

Drawing the line in the sand, I have moved to SparkPost for my
transactional email needs.

In a sea of transactional providers, SparkPost stood out to me because of their
pricing. Initially their pricing model was going to allow me to move to them
without incurring any additional overhead. At the time of Mandrill’s
announcement, SparkPost was offering 40k emails per month for only $10.

Since then, their pricing was updated to be 100k emails for free per month. I’ll
be the first person to say that I’m fearful that this is just a bait and switch
to get customers over from Mandrill during this trying time. I’m also very
conscious that I’ve been downgraded from an honorable paying customer to a
scummy freeloader the likes of the folks I mentioned previously.

I’m willing to take this risk because for me, switching providers was a trivial
task. In fact, it only took me a few hours the other evening. Domain
verification was simple. There was no warm up period for sending either, 10k
sends per day available right out of the gate. This ease of transition is why
I’m not discussing code changes in depth, it just doesn’t matter. Plus,
SparkPost has some pretty great documentation and code samples!

On top of the pricing, I found SparkPost to be a bit more active on Twitter than
the competition and do appear to be very developer friendly (which is part of
their pitch). Their customer list impressed me as well. With the likes of
Twitter and PayPal in the ranks, I have confidence that they are making enough
cash to be able to sustain their new freemium model pricing.

The only pain point I’ve had thus far is that they do not seem to offer a way to
just drop an unsubscribe link in an email and they do the rest. Mandrill had
this, SendGrid seems to as well. Perhaps I’m not understanding something, but it
looked like I would have to do some implementation on my end to handle a

That’s cool though, this limitation made me realize that I really should be
handling my suppression list within my system. Owning the suppression logic
means that if this were to happen again, I wouldn’t need to worry about
migrating suppression data between providers.

The other thing I realized is that I should have been utilizing SMTP for sending
instead of an API. Not to say that the API implementation is bad, it’s just that
it would take even less time to swap out providers if all I had to do swap out
SMTP server information. Oh and less code dependencies too!

If you’re still shopping for a new transactional email provider, feel free to
check out my Transaction ESPs list on Twitter!

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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