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November 8, 2011 / jphoward

$40/month to send my email–are you serious?

The Kaggle web site needs to send emails from time to time – for example when confirming new users’ email addresses. Sending directly from a web server is not generally a good idea; even if you’ve taken the steps to set up DKIM, senderid, etc, you still have the problem that your IP isn’t a reputed email sender. It’s also likely that at some point some bad apple on your IP block will ruin the reputation for all their neighbors.

So instead, I decided to use a mail sending service. Here’s some examples, along with their pricing for their cheapest account:

Wo. That seems like a lot. Is it really so hard to send mail? Actually, no. Here’s a crazy option:

  • FastMail: $3/month (max 2,000 messages per hour –That’s up to 1,500,000 per month!)

And BTW that FastMail option also gives you a bunch of other stuff you may find useful (e.g. host and manage 50 domains, 2GB file storage, 10GB IMAP storage…)

I founded FastMail back in 1999 (I sold it to Opera a couple of years back and don’t work there any more) and worked hard to make the infrastructure efficient. However I’m surprised that folks building much more focussed tools today aren’t able to do it much cheaper. I know the focussed tools I’ve listed have some extra features (such as an HTTP API), but I don’t see why that should increase the unit price substantially.

What do you think is the reason for this difference?

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