Last week Mandrill announced that they were discontinuing their free services and all customers would be required to have a corresponding paid Mailchimp account.
Going forward, all Mandrill users will be required to have a paid monthly MailChimp account and verify ownership of all sending domains. Important changes to Mandrill
On March 16th all new Mandrill users will be required to create a Mailchimp account and existing Mandrill users will be able to merge their Mandrill and Mailchimp accounts. All users will have to merge accounts by April 27th.
When I saw the announcement I didn’t think it was that big a deal. Mandrill, for better or worse, has been a source of spam for a while and I knew that Mailchimp would be taking some action to clean it up. To me, this change seems really all about being able to hold customers accountable. Mandrill users will need to have real contact information, be able to verify their domains and have a valid credit card. This is a step that was, at least to me, obvious.
What I wasn’t expecting was the number of companies who think this is a dumb idea and that Mandrill is giving up valuable customers. I have no doubt that Mailchimp knows exactly which customers are going to walk and has a good handle on how much revenue this will cost them. Personally, I don’t think it’s actually that much revenue. To me, the majority of companies who will be walking away are those who can’t or won’t pay $10 a month for a Mailchimp account.
I suppose there are going to be customers who are already paying and who are going to walk just because they don’t want to be restricted to having to have a real account. Or customers who don’t want to (or can’t) pass Mailchimp’s anti-fraud protections. Or customers who’ve been terminated from MC but snuck back as a Mandrill customer. These customers, to me, feel like way more trouble than they’re worth.
My viewpoints aren’t shared by a lot of other companies in the industry. The good folks over at Sparkpost, have jumped at the opportunity to provide services for companies leaving Mandrill. They’re even offering to honor Mandrill’s pricing for companies migrating. I know Sparkpost has a great team of compliance and abuse desk folks, and I hope they have thought ahead to how they’re going to deal with problems that come with freemium services. Only time will really tell if it’s enough, though.