News: It's time to talk about SendGrid

Published: 2022-06-02

SendGrid has been a go-to name for transactional email for a long time. There are many large companies still using SendGrid to send email. Fortunately, the ones that give a damn are using a dedicated IP from SendGrid, limiting their exposure to the problems. Some companies, however, have taken the cheap way out and continue to use their shared IPs. They are well aware that this causes them delivery problems. They're just too cheap or dumb to care. Let's talk about why this matters.


SendGrid was once a respectable company. Twilio, another respected industry name even acquired them. Unfortunately, SendGrid became a victim of its success. Spammers were using accounts on their systems, either by registering and paying to use them or compromising existing users' accounts. This problem exploded quickly, to the point that the harm caused by the service began to outweigh the benefits of receiving mail from them. Brian Krebs, a well known and respected security researcher, wrote about the event in 2020: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/08/sendgrid-under-siege-from-hacked-accounts/


Despite the promises of Twilio to get a handle on its SendGrid brand, they continue to function as a significant source of unsolicited marketing email. To make matters worse, they ignore entirely abuse complaints. Often, our users cannot even get off of these mailing lists. Unsubscribe fails, and they ignore abuse complaints. SendGrid violates the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (in the US, where the company is based). At this point, it is safe to assume that they don't care. They will surely milk the brand until it provides no further and then sell it. What else is there to do when you give up on trying to fix it?


Let's move forward to today. This message is not an announcement that we are blocking SendGrid. However, it is an announcement that we are no longer making a significant effort not to block SendGrid. SendGrid will not be whitelisted. As we identify IP addresses that actively send spam to our customers, we will blacklist those addresses one at a time.


We are throwing in the towel for SendGrid. They are a dead company somehow still propped up and sending mail, but these are their final moments. While it could be years before they are finished, it is clear that this is their path. Your job as a customer is simple. It is not everyone else's job to receive spam just so that other companies can save a few dollars, and it's your job to tell them that if and when an email of theirs has been blocked. It will only have been blocked for actively sending spam to our customers.


If you do not receive an email that you were looking for, assuming it to be part of this and not opening a ticket is inappropriate. You should open a ticket. You should give us a chance to make sure that important emails to you are not being blocked. In some rare instances, which we hope do not increase significantly, the situation described here may be the result that we find. Similarly, it may not be the cause.