Malleable Musings

December 12, 2008


Filed under: Emails — Brendan @ 8:37 am

Have spent quite a bit of the past couple of days looking at ESP’s.

I’m not searching particularly hard and looking to make a decision next week or anything like that. But as previously mentioned we’re about to update our databases so now could be a good time to think this all through. I guess what I’m looking for is a combination of:

Access to an API – to tidy lists with our databases / or some other way of thinking this through
Deliverability – although recognise this is as much an issue for me as an ESP
Ease of use, meaning
– Features
– How intuitive it might be for others to use

I had a phone call yesterday from Brandon at Bronto (a very nice salesman) who talked me through their product and sent me a nice case study from Wofford (Kyle James says nice things). Their deliverability and the features seem good (I liked the in built SpamAssassin integration and that there were so many configurable fields) but they are more expensive by about 10-15% than the current ESP I’m using. I’d think I’d also need to do a fair bit of education of the clients who would be doing the email sending, however I recognise that this would probably be inevitable in any case.

In terms of cost, one of the major issues for me is the $:£ exchange rates. The £ keeps falling (against the $ and more especially the Euro) which is great for business but it means that if I’m having to pay in dollars my budget is being spanked. What’s worse, if all of the economists I listened to last week are right, is that the outlook for the £ is bleak over the next year. Which means I may need to be looking at solutions that are charging in £’s and currencies like the AUS$ which will probably share the same sort of fate as the £.

We’re currently not a large volume email sender – only approx 2m per year at present – however this is growing rapidly – across all three of the main areas that send email – recruitment, alumni and student services side.

In terms of other providers that I’ve looked at the list is long, but two that I investigated worked on an alternative business model based on a number of contacts that we have: Relatively cheap, based on the number of contacts but monthly mailing limits to 6 times the list size (could be a constraining factor) also I can’t see anything about an API and have questions on deliverability? similar to above, although not limited to 6 times list size – also have surveys included. Although costs could be much higher than e-shot.

In any case I think I’ll need to do a bit more research to work out what will work best for us, and as I said before at the moment there’s no rush.



  1. Brendan –

    Thanks for considering Bronto. As the Director of Best Practices & Delierability at Bronto, I’ve worked with Bronto Salesman Brandon as well as client Kyle James of Wofford. Both are great guys – very sharp.

    Would love to chat more about ways that Bronto is different from some of the other ESPs you are reviewing.

    Feel free to reach out to me via email if you have further questions.

    DJ Waldow
    dj [at] bronto [dot] com

    Comment by DJ Waldow — December 14, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  2. Thanks DJ – will definitely drop you a line if need be.

    Comment by Brendan — December 14, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  3. Just discovered some interesting posts from Karlyn – v.useful for explaining email to colleagues. Also see this post talking about the design process for email.

    Comment by Brendan — January 7, 2009 @ 11:56 am

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