360Works CloudMail is a plug-in for sending outbound e-mail messages and monitoring e-mail interactions using Amazon Web Services.
Sending: CloudMail offloads the actual e-mail sending to a virtual machine set up in your Amazon Web Services (AWS) account. It queues the e-mail contents and distribution list(s) almost instantly, leaving your computer free for other tasks. The virtual machine then starts processing all of the actual e-mails. It removes duplicate addresses, removes anybody that has requested an unsubscribe, and then starts sending them via Amazon's Simple Email Services (SES) at whatever sending rate your AWS account is set up for (10 per second by default, but expandable to hundreds per second upon request).
Monitoring: CloudMail automatically takes care of unsubscribes. It also embeds tracking codes into the e-mail message that will allow your FileMaker database to see how many people viewed your message, and how many clicked a link in the message. Whenever you want, you can run a script to download activity related to your e-mail campaign. This will import the follow activity types into your FileMaker file:
You can run this script as often as you like, and you can also schedule it to run at regular intervals using FileMaker Server. Every time the script runs, it will only download new activity since the last time it was run.
You can use CloudMail in demo mode, as much as you want, for up to 10 recipients. After 2 hours of use, you will need to quit FileMaker and restart to continue using the demo. The 360Works' Amazon Web Services license key is already embedded into the demo, allowing you to start sending and monitoring emails instantly!
Install and Reference Documentation
This document gives an overview of how to use CloudMail. Click here for the plugin functions reference document
360Works CloudMail can run on any computer running FileMaker Pro 11 or later, or FileMaker Server 11 or later.
There are two components of pricing for CloudMail: The cost of the plug-in itself, and the cost for Amazon Web Services.
The plug-in cost is $395 US.
Amazon's charges can vary over time (usually gradually decreasing). In addition, there is special introductory pricing for the first year after you open a new AWS account. At the time this document was written, in April 2015, the pricing is as follows:
|First year||Following years|
|Up to 62,000 emails per month||$0||$0|
|Emails beyond 62,000 per month||$1 per 10,000|
|Virtual machine hosting per month||$0||$9.50|
|Outbound messages per gigabyte||$0 for first gigabyte, $0.09 beyond that|
|Example pricing for 20 kilobyte messages|
|1,000 per month||$0||$9.60|
|10,000 per month||$0||$10.50|
|62,000 per month||$0||$15.70|
|100,000 per month||$3.89||$19.59|
|1,000,000 per month||$95.51||$105.01|
Moving to production
There are a few required and optional steps before sending your e-mail campaign to thousands of recipients.
You must set up an AWS account. Click here for steps AWS Set Up for CloudMail
- When you set up a new AWS account, your e-mail sending is limited to 'sandbox' mode. In sandbox mode, your maximum sending rate is just 1 message per second, your maximum daily messages is limited to 200, and you can only send to verified recipients. Verifying a recipient is what you did when clicked the Amazon e-mail in your inbox to be able to send the quick start campaign. To send to additional recipients besides yourself, you can either 1) verify additional recipients using the Amazon Web Services SES console, or 2) request that your account be switched to production mode. [Need more details here]
- Once your AWS account is put into production mode, your daily limits will be substantially increased. You can see these limits in the SES dashboard in the AWS Web Console. However, if you send large email campaigns, it may still not be enough. You can submit additional requests via the AWS web console to request higher limits, both in terms of maximum messages per second and maximum messages per day.
- It is highly recommended that you follow the process for domain verification in the AWS web console. This involves setting up DKIM records, which make it much less likely for your outgoing messages to be marked as spam by the recipients. DKIM allows Amazon to send e-mail through its own servers while having the receiving e-mail servers treat the message as if it arrived from your own company's email server.
- You can get the public IP address of your virtual machine by going to the Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) section of the AWS Web Console. If you like, you can then create a record in your DNS server, such as 'cloudmail.mydomain.com' pointing to that IP address. You can then configure this DNS name in the CloudMail.fmp12 file, and that will cause all links in your outbound e-mails to point to this name instead of a default Amazon DNS name.
Click tracking and view tracking are not working
These features only work for HTML e-mails, not plain text. Try sending as HTML instead - just wrap your plain text message in <html> tags, and replace links with HTML-style a href hyperlinks.