Amazon has rolled out a new service that will help companies send bulk emails and bypass the filters that ISPs put in place to prevent spam.But don’t call it a spam service!
The new Amazon Simple Email Service takes its place alongside the rest of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) suite, which is widely used by start-ups and other companies who don’t have the money or desire to invest in all the hardware and software necessary to run everything in house.
Just like AWS was built on the platform Amazon uses for its own Web sites, Simple Email Service uses the infrastructure that Amazon uses to send emails to its own customers.
Amazon has learned a lot about how NOT to trigger the spam detectors that most ISPs now use to try and prevent unwanted email from clogging up their systems, and it’s offering this expertise to any company who wants to use it, with no start-up fee or minimum purchase required. For instance:
- “ISPs often interpret a sudden increase in email volume as a potential indicator of spam activity, and may respond by blocking such email. To help you avoid this pitfall, Amazon SES automatically ‘ramps up’ the volume of email that you can send from the service until you reach your target volume.”
- “Amazon SES maintains complaint feedback loops from major ISPs. Complaint feedback loops indicate which emails a recipient marked as spam. Amazon SES provides you access to these delivery metrics (for your email campaigns) to help guide your sending strategy.”
Of course, Amazon doesn’t want ISPs to block all messages coming from the service, so it’s going to block obvious spam before it’s sent and may ban repeat offenders from using the system. As Amazon explains in its AWS Acceptable Use Policy, customers can’t send “unsolicited mass e-mailings, promotions, advertising, or solicitations, including commercial advertising and informational announcements.”
In other words, this isn’t going to be a launching pad for a billion Viagra pitches.
But it could be used for a lot of “grey mail” — the kind of pitches and newsletters that you may not have realised you signed up to receive when you entered your email address into a form somewhere.
Marketers don’t call this spam. Users may not draw such a fine distinction. It’s up to Amazon to draw the line in the right place.