DONT make this email marketing mistake that I made with my users last week! ❌

Indiehackers isn't just for sharing achievements. It's also for sharing our mistakes so that other founders can avoid it. That's why I wanted to share with you one major mistake that my team and I accidentally committed last week with Ruttl.

While building the backend, we had setup a limit on the number of emails that can be sent to users for email notifications about project updates. However, suddenly many users reported that they had stopped receiving them lately.

As a result, we started identifying the issue and the solution. It so happened that our email limit was very low in backend and we forgot to raise this limit as user base kept growing.

So we increased the limit to fit our current user base. After about half hour, my team told me that they got multiple Ruttl emails back to back and several users complained about the same on support. Turns out, those emails which had stopped going out had piled up in pending and they blasted out one after the other!

Some users reported to have received anywhere between 20-60 emails altogether! I can't imagine the frustration they must have felt! 🤐

I quickly drafted an apology mailer and pushed it out to the users to make sure that they were made aware about this mistake.

It made me realize that -

  1. I need to keep check on this email limit every week to avoid an such error
  2. I also need to have some sort of system update inside Ruttl, which can alert users in such SOS/server updates/other issue situations. Currently, my idea is to include a small notification box that will pop up in the dashboard to avoid similar problems in the future.

Have you ever faced a similar issue? If yes, can you share any systems you are using to avoid such issues? (and if not, still feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments 👇)

Have a great day,
Harsh 💯

  1. 2

    "If yes, can you share any systems you are using to avoid such issues? "

    I would assume these emails were backed up in a job queue? If so, the easy solution would be a job expiry. If an email hasn't successfully sent within x minutes/hours/days, discard it. Then perhaps have notifications on the discarded jobs to keep them in check.

    You could also add a rate limiter so you can only send out x amount of emails every minute/day.

    Another solution would be email batching (where it makes sense). That is to say condense multiple emails into a single email. This can work well for notifications.

  2. 2

    How about just automate Email Sending through Email marketing software instead of hard coding limitations in your backend which you have to keep increasing and tracking.

  3. 1

    Nice sharing Harsh! I'm sure you and your team will learn from this experience and grow stronger!

  4. 1

    Happened to me as well. Glad you found the solution!

  5. 1

    Ooof! Thanks for sharing @harshvijay - tough situation when the only apology you can make to users is well...by sending yet another email! :D We're only human, shit happens! Hoping for the team that this didn't cause an uptick in churn!

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