Mailchimp Pulled the Plug on Mandrill

Mandrill, one of the most popular transactional email providers for small and medium-sized businesses, is no longer a standalone service. Its parent company, Mailchimp, decided to move out of the transactional email space and concentrate entirely on personalized, one-to-many email. In short, Mailchimp has pulled the plug on Mandrill.

As of April 27, Mandrill no longer is a standalone product. Instead, it now is an add-on to paid Mailchimp accounts.

This is a setback for any business that relied on Mandrill and integrated their applications to work with the service. Any customer who is using the free Mandrill service will have to pay for Mailchimp as well as for the Mandrill service going forward.

Thankfully, there are Mandrill alternatives.

Three Steps for Replacing Mandrill

There are multiple service providers in the transactional emails business. Some of them include Amazon SES, Sendgrid, Mailgun and Sparkpost. They all provide a service that is similar to Mandrill, and we recommend Sendgrid or our own transactional email gateway if you’re an Agile CRM user.

Whatever you choose, don’t forget to get discounts from the provider you select; all transactional email providers currently are giving away discounts to former Mandrill customers.

Once you pick your Mandrill replacement, there are three steps for making the jump to a new transactional email provider.

Thankfully, now you can easily switch to Mandrill alternatives such as Sendgrid or Mailgun. Click To Tweet

1. DKIM Record Update

DKIM stands for Domain Key Identified Mail. This is a way to tell the receiver of your email that you are an authorized sender for your domain. By using DKIM and verifying that your email is legitimate, you boost your chances of having your email not flagged as spam. DKIM information is embeded within the email.

The DKIM record is generated from your email gateway. Each gateway has a different navigation, but the result will be setting a host and a value.

Sample DKIM Record:

Host: m1._domainkey.domainname.com.
Value/Data: k=rsa; t=s; p=MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQDCAVd71OrG4vaDBlQVlCUljpOfYXu5cnwPz6+O7FSGNbPI4uRX1N6UdkRSadMBznYReTnLU995IuPZXUX0RMuNaQ7P1jx/qG9yO+zWMpMLWmyZx8G3/nhphIb36mFLX04FRtvWucFPNXjRSST+H8X15dRpC/UKLDSHYPRe5r7QXwIDAQAB

Please note that the domain name mentioned in the above host section is your domain name. For example, ours at Agile CRM would be agilecrm.com.

Add the Host and the Value to a TXT file created in your DNS.

2. SPF Generation

SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework, and it is an email authentication standard. SPF also a way to authenticate the sender’s email address and help domains prevent hackers from using the domain’s name for phishing. Nobody wants spam attributed to their domain.

Generating an SPF record is similar to DKIM. Many gateways provide both on the same screen, too. SPF is different for each email gateway.

Sample SPF Record: v=spf1 include:sendgrid.net ~all

Add the SPF to a TXT file created in your DNS. You can have multiple SPFs in one SPF TXT File.

Navigation to the DNS varies from one web hosting provider to other. Check with your web hosting provider for more details.

Agile CRM customers should note that if they don’t have their own gateway enabled, they should contact customer support to get their DKIM ad SPF settings. If no settings are done, then mail sent through the Agile CRM system will have “Via Agile CRM” appended to the email.

3. Reputation Rebuild

Every email gateway sets a reputation for your domain to make sure you are not a spammer. Since you are moving from Mandrill to a new provider, unfortunately your reputation will need to be built from scratch again.

So, as a result, you might initially have a limit on the number of emails you can send per hour or per day. As your reputation gradually increased, your sender limit also will increase. It varies among providers.

Make sure your list is clean, too, since you are rebuilding your reputation. You will want to minimize bounces and spam complaints being reported. The cleaner the list, the better the reputation you will have. The better the reputation, the less spam filtering will potentially hijack your messages.

All of this might feel like a hassle, and you’re right that it is a pain. Unfortunately, Mailchimp left Mandrill users with little alternative.

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Rahul Mehta

Rahul is a Product Manager - Marketing Automation at Agile CRM. Passionate about helping businesses grow through Marketing Automation and CRM. Working in this domain for a decade now and love every bit of it.

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