Used heavily by a few in the Magento community, Mandrill is a delivery API for transactional emails developed and released, as a completely separate product, by MailChimp in 2012. If you are big into the Twittersphere (like me) you may have recently seen the community kicking off about the latest announcement from MailChimp and the new hashtag #mandrillgeddon started by Kalen Jordan, Founder at MageMail.
They are merging Mandrill back into MailChimp and it will no longer be possible to use it as a stand-alone service. Going forward, the only way to use Mandrill will be as a paid add-on to a paid monthly MailChimp account. Cheeky monkeys.
For those who do use both of these email primates, this obviously isn’t a big deal. Heck! They may even like this change. Especially seeing as features, such as sending scheduled emails and storing email content for 30 days, that previously incurred additional fees in Mandrill, will now have free extras. Of course, this is only after your account has been merged with one of them monthly paid MailChimp accounts.
However, many out there have no need for what MailChimp offers, there are even competitors of MailChimp that are built on top of the Mandrill functionality! Those are the ones facing a meteor-like, monkey shaped blow to their systems. With this in mind, they will probably give people some leeway and enough time to find a better solution and get switched… or they could give them 2 months.
“Current users will have until 27/04/16 to merge their accounts.”
Kaitlin, Mandrill Product Manager. Feb 24, 2016.
They also want all marketing emails to go through MailChimp and so have changed the terms and conditions stating that “usage of Mandrill as transactional email delivery service of marketing email is no longer allowed”.
I guess that eliminates the competition built on Mandrill, so, I can’t say I blame them. Mandrill was built solely to be used for eCommerce transactional emails and not to be used by competitors as infrastructure.
“Today, some customers want a transactional email service to be a utility—like a “dumb pipe” or ISP that very quickly and efficiently delivers emails, and only delivers emails. Other customers want a smarter transactional email service that helps them deliver personalised, value-added emails (for industries like e-commerce). Those 2 types of transactional emails are very different animals that require very different styles of innovation, so we’re making these changes to Mandrill to better serve our customers.”
Ben, a co-founder of MailChimp. Feb 24, 2016.
In plain speaking, this translates to: “We started to see Mandrill being used as a tool for mass marketing email blasts, which steps on our chimp toes and is not what we wanted”. So, they are reigning it back in, rebranding it ‘MailChimp Transactional’ and gearing it up to deliver “highly targeted product recommendations wrapped in a beautiful design that perfectly represents their brand”.
Users should have received an email with all the details, updates and actions they need to take. Mandrill has also published an FAQ article with more information about the transition in their Knowledge Base.
It also seems MailChimp has thought, even if just a little, about Mandrill’s transactional customers that do not have a need for the full-service offering and are recommending SparkPost as an alternative. Not only has SparkPost offered to take on these departing users they are also going to honour Mandrill’s pricing, which is nice of them.
If you’re still struggling to get your head around #mandrillgeddon and MailChimp. Please feel free to get in touch and we will do what we can to help. Alternatively, if you’d like email marketing advice, contact our sister agency, Kanuka Digital, who specialise in helping eCommerce websites grow their business online.