I Am All In. Here’s My Promise to Developers

Phillip Merrick
Mar. 1, 2016 by Phillip Merrick

This is an interesting time in the transactional ESP market. Mandrill (operated by MailChimp) recently announced that they were eliminating their stand-alone offering and instead will be incorporated as an add-on feature of MailChimp’s paid, flagship email marketing service.

We have a lot of respect for MailChimp. They’re a great company, and we admire the work they do making full-service email marketing accessible to all kinds of customers. We also understand what their CEO said in his announcement letter about a “fit” issue with the Mandrill product. Transactional email isn’t the business they’re in.

This sort of change always is a hard decision for a company to make. Understanding that not all of Mandrill’s customers have a need for the full-service offering, MailChimp is recommending SparkPost as a Mandrill alternative for developers looking for a transactional email provider.

In fact, SparkPost announced last week a previously-planned change to our pricing structure. I’m really excited about this pricing model. It’s a win for our customers, and it’s a win for our business model.

These pricing plans mean that SparkPost is matching (and even beating) the rates Mandrill customers have been paying. That’s really good news. But I want to make a further commitment to you today: should the terms of our free tier of pricing ever change in the future, I promise we will nevertheless honor it for any customer currently enrolled at that tier, for the life of that account.

And for anyone who wonders if it’s really possible for SparkPost to keep this promise, the answer, unequivocally, is yes.

Giving developers the tools to do great things with transactional email is hard-wired in our DNA. It’s who we are, and our love for developers runs deep—most of us here are developers (or in my case, former developers) ourselves! I’m proud of how our team at SparkPost has risen to the occasion to support the Mandrill developer community, and I’m thrilled we’ve also gotten the pricing part of that right.

Whether you take us up on our free developer plan, or a paid level of service, we’d really like to have you as a customer. I look forward to working together to build something awesome.



  • When will the Heroku add-on reflect the new pricing?

  • Hi there! You can find the pricing here: https://elements.heroku.com/addons/sparkpost



  • As happy as I am … I am afraid as well. I am one the tiny fishes with about 3K to 5K emails monthly. You wouldn’t even notice me 🙂 But what I have learned the last decade in the web industry free plans with less money spent you have less support, it is less reliable, it is less durable, less …

  • Sam

    I understand your trepidation. While we will always give preference to our paying customers, we place a high value on our free users and receive lots of useful feedback from them. As I’ve stated in this post, we’re committed to continuing this free tier of service. And if for some reason we find we have to modify this offer, we will continue to honor the original 100K/month plan for the life of your account.

    Please do us one favor however: if you like our service, please tell all your friends and associates!


  • Hey Phillip,

    We have complete trust in Sparkpost and we already have integration available with EasySendy Pro.
    Mailchimp primary focus is on marketing emails whereas Mandrill was focused only on transactional one-on-one emails. There must be an alignment going on inside MailChimp which concluded them to focus on single most powerful product.

  • We appreciate your trust and confidence. Great that you already have an integration with us — thanks!


  • I found Sparkpost and decided it would replace my Mandrill accounts – I manage 5 of them for my clients. I actually found this before MailChimps recommend…

    I was impressed with the ease of login and the instantly provisioned account. I actually do this with my clients taking advantage of my own integrated system- so I really appreciated SparkPost’s thoughtfulness and UX.

    I have a good feeling about this transition- it really made me sore that Mandrill rescinded their “grandfathered” account status. I will have no problem recommending SPARKPOST To clients, although I will have to review their Inbox delivery stats as I have 24 domains and thousands of transactions to compare to- I expect it will be healthy.

    Again- full confidence moving forward, and you’ve already earned my appreciation.

  • Thanks for your feedback and confidence in our service! Glad to have you on board.


  • Do you know when you’ll be hiding origin IP headers and adding custom return-path domain support (or setting it to the same as the sending domain)? These are two major features for me that you’re missing compared to what Mandrill offered.

  • Ryan

    I have to confess that personally I do not know the answer to that. But I will find out and we will get back to you!


  • Hi Ryan,
    I’m Elizabeth, with Sparkpost Support. I was discussing with our engineers about your request, and they feel this is very doable. Can you please email [email protected] (to my attention), letting us know you are requesting this request, and I will be able to provide you an update on this by Tuesday of next week.

    Thanks so much!

  • Hi Phillip

    I am an existing Mandrill customer who has just moved over to you. Their willingness to drop their customers like this will be bad for them in both the short term and the long term. I don’t want to be treated as a second class citizen.

    I have been using your service for the past 2 days and have to say its great.

    However, one thing I would really like to see is more information about which email address was bounced, instead of just the domain itself. All our emails are vetted and we need the bounces to get in touch with our customers to ensure they have continuity of service. Could someone please get in touch with me regarding this?

    Otherwise fantastic tool, works out of the box, and faster reporting too.

    Good luck with your increased profits (from all the referrals I will be putting your way)

  • The “message-events” API call can provide copious amounts of detail on a per-recipient level.
    Email address, bounce class, bounce message, timestamp and other details are available in realtime.

  • David

    Thanks so much for the feedback. Delighted to hear you like the service and will be recommending it to others. I see Tom has already responded to your question.


  • Hi Phillip
    This transition from Mandrill to sparkpost was the easiest migration I have ever done (and I was in the business of mainframe transitions for years).
    My clients did not even notice that anything had changed it went so smoothly.

  • Greg

    Fantastic — great to hear. Let us know if we can be helpful going forward.


  • Great stuff! Looking forward to migrating over ASAP.

  • My company, with my direction, actually considered SparkPost first after SendGrid was not an option. Unfortunately, SP, at the time, didn’t provide an API to directly retrieve bounce errors at a recipient level. The only API was to download the logs and for us to parse it ourselves. This was the deal breaker.
    I hope that this feature is considered and implemented since many systems rely on being able to report back the bounce errors so that they may be corrected.

  • Thanks for the feedback Jayson – we actually support a couple ways of doing this. The first is through our Message Events API: https://developers.sparkpost.com/api/#/reference/message-events/events-documentation/search-for-message-events. You would make a call like this to see all bounce events by recipient:

    https://api.sparkpost.com/api/v1/[email protected]&events=bounce

    The other way you could get this detailed data would be through our webhooks. We provide very detailed information for every event for every message, including bounces. Here is an example call to our webhook event samples endpoint:


    That shows you what a bounce event would look like being sent to your system.

    Both of those methods return the reason for the bounces. I hope this information helps!

  • I’ve started testing SparkPost, but I’ve faced some “problems” that I couldn’t solve or understand.
    Documentation is a bit messed up: I’m reading articles posted in support.sparkpost.com containing important data that is not present in the official documentation.
    Also I have questions for which I haven’t found answers, and I’ve contacted support with two or three questions, but it’s been days and no answer.

    – Suppresion lists: I’ve sent test messages (transactional and non-transactional), to both of my personal accounts (with Gmail and Outlook). I’ve used the “unsubscribe” link from both addresses, in both cases (transactional and non-transactional). I checked the suppresion list using the api, and in deed I can see both recipients are included in the suppression list. However, I send another email, and it DOES arrive in gmail, but it doesn’t in outlook. SparkPost never complains or tells me nothing. Right now, I keep sending emails to my gmail address (present in supression-list, transactional and non-transactional), and I still receive the emails.

    – Another big question is: what about multiple domains? How does supression-list works with multiple domains? When I check suppression list through the api, each record has very little information: the recipient, when did he/she unsubscribed, and if it’s transactional or non-transactional unsubscription. But I’ll be sending emails from different domains, I need users to be able tu unsubscribe from one domain but not the others.

    Don’t know what to do. 100k free sends its a very good offer, but I’m starting to think it’s not the best offer if I have to wait more than two days in order to my articles to being published in the support forum.

  • Hi Lisandro,
    It can take up to an hour for suppressed emails to begin being suppressed. As for multiple domains, we don’t currently support that type of segregations for unsubscribes. We highly recommend that you subscribe to the ‘unsubscribes’ webhooks to get more information. You also have the option of using the ‘message-events’ API to pull the same information.

    In regards to your feedback about the documentation, please send an email to [email protected] detailing what was missing.

  • yea

  • Absolutely amazing. I have no problems signing up with this platform. Doesn’t matter if Mandrill closed or not, this is an excellent app, and the speed is amazing. Great job Sparkpost team!

  • I’m here for the same reason many of you are – Mandrill decided to change their business model. It was good to have a recommendation. If you Google “SMTP Providers”, there are many out there but it’s hard to know who to trust. I’ll be using SparkPost after my Mandrill credits are used.

    It was a good run Mandrill… I will miss you.

  • Hi Phillip,

    We are contemplating a switch to Sparkpost from Mandrill. Everything we read about it …the community support etc looks great. However, we did some Python users run into a an issue (22days) ago ….and nothing has been addressed. Here is the issue: https://github.com/anymail/django-anymail/issues/11 ….maybe just an oversight with the new load you are taking on ….but no response ?

    We hope you can shed some light on this..

    Wishing you continued success !

  • Hi Vince!

    If you ping our team in our community slack channel, they can look into this for you, and hopefully resolve it fairly quickly!

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