One of the things I wanted to do with these blog posts was take folks on our journey. Pull back the curtain, as they say, on what it's like to build a business around an app like SendView in an industry like email.
In that vein, I wanted to share a little milestone.
When I build the first, rough concept a few years back that would later become SendView, there was no ESP tracking or identification. A lot of the other stuff - the trends, the timelines, etc. - were all there, but knowing which ESPs sent which emails? It seemed like a daunting task. I could think of a dozen ESPs off the top of my head, and I figured there were at least a dozen or two more (spoiler: I was waaaaayyy off).
But one night while watching some soccer I pulled out the laptop and decided to give it a go. I wrote a little script that helped me parse through the code a little easier, grabbed a random set of 100 emails, and started to look for ways to confidently say which platform was behind each one.
Some were easy because they had logos or links or "powered by" badges in the footers. I think you know the ones:
- Constant Contact
Others were much, much harder. But I found some tricks, paired that with a healthy dose of patience, and kept plugging away at this effort. Before too long I could identify 25 different EPSs.
It was actually kind of addicting, like I was a geeky Sherlock Holmes pursuing some incredibly inconsequential string of clues. Some ESPs got acquired or changed their names or both (looking at you Silverpop...I mean IBM Watson...I mean Acoustic), others got absorbed and had to be lumped under an existing platform, new ones popped up and others disappeared.
It was slow going, but we kept at it. The first scope was just to hammer on this problem for a few weeks, but soon those weeks turned into months and those months turned into years.
I'd really been hustling on this aspect of SendView a lot lately and even built a few new tools to help (especially as we grow), so I'd kind of lost sight of the total number we could identify. I was thinking maybe 70...80...90 perhaps?
But I was wrong.
We can now identify 119 ESPs.
I was planning some sort of huge celebration when we hit 100 (you know, like maybe Saturday-morning pancakes in the shape of something that loosely resembles the SendView logo like I did when we hit a revenue milestone last year)...
...but we blew right by that number and I didn't even notice (which is probably good because it turns out my kids prefer monster truck shaped breakfast foods anyway).
It's a small thing, but I'm pretty proud of it. Because when you're a small, two-man team trying build something like we are, it's easy to look at a feature and say it's not worth the time. But if enough people say that, you find yourself with an opportunity if you put in the work to make it happen.
And...we did. Kinda fun.
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