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Amazon announces SES email service

Last month Amazon announced a cloud based email service: Amazon SES. Amazon SES is an API based email service priced at a very low rate.
The SES product rounds out Amazon’s cloud hosting offerings. The Amazon cloud hosting service is great for webhosting but pretty bad for mail. A lot of ISPs refused to accept email from Amazon cloud IPs. But now cloud hosted customers, and others, can use the SES system to send mail.
It remains to be seen how the SES program works. They are using shared IPs for all customers. This means shared IP based reputation. As one of the major targets is transactional mail, something that normally has a very high engagement factor, it’s likely there will be a lot of good reputation on the SES IPs.
On the flip side, Amazon has set a very low price point and is allowing anyone to use their API. This is going to make it very attractive to some bad actors. These are the same folks who are attempting to compromise ESPs and sneak their mail through enforcement.
A lot of the delivery through the Amazon SES IPs is going to rely on enforcement. They seem to be putting a lot of stock in their content filtering being able to stop spam from getting through. That may or may not be enough; a lot of spammers are actually really good at avoiding content filters.
The good news is that Amazon seems to have considered a lot of these issues. They are providing a SPF record for the SES IPs, and have a way to accept DKIM signed email. They also have an experienced delivery person working there which will work in their favor.
It will be interesting to see if this works. I believe the success or failure will lie with Amazon. I know, I know, normally I say that a sender is responsible for their own reputation. But in a shared environment, it is the overall reputation of the senders that is the key to delivery. Amazon can drive that overall reputation by what customers they allow to send mail through the system. It will be interesting to see what happens in 6 – 12 months when they’ve had some time to build up a customer base.

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