How SMTP Depot Came About

How SMTP Depot Came To Be

I am Steve Haase the founder of SMTP Depot. This is the story of how I was inspired to create SMTP Depot.

After having a few negative experiences with other Email Marketing service providers, the seeds were planted after having a SaaS software product launch Web Detective back in May of 2016 and my customer list rejected by Aweber.

At the time I had my email marketing services through Aweber, like so many Internet Marketers. Aweber is a great service and I'm not here to knock them, but I had over 1500 new customers that had purchased my product and I just wanted to import them into my Aweber account.

When I went to import those 1500+ customer's emails to a list I had created in Aweber, I wasn't allowed to add them without jumping through hoops. I had to send them links to the sales pages of the product, which had my name and picture on the sales page in several places as the vendor. But that wasn't sufficient, my list was still rejected.

Aweber support told me, in order to import those customers emails, I would now have to put my list through a verification service that they recommended. I complied and sent them a copy of the results and the CSV file for them to add my customers to my list.

My verified emails were also rejected. By this point, I was getting pretty pissed off! This process had now taken nearly 2 weeks and I was no better off than when I started. In fact, I was now worse off, having spent money to verify the emails and my list was still being rejected!

I tried to appeal their decision, and all but begged Aweber to allow me to add those customers to my list. I lost the appeal. That was the last straw! I had, had enough and exported all of my lists from Aweber and closed my account. I decided to take my business elsewhere.

This is when I discovered that most all of the other email marketing platforms would not allow me to import my lists, or if they did, they would have to email all of my subscribers and have them to resubscribe to my lists. Needless to say, very few did. I thought to myself, there's got to be a better way!

I'm a very determined person who is not easily deterred. I purchased an email marketing script, installed it on my cpanel hosting and signed up for Amazon SES.

That worked really well for about 4 months, then all of sudden, BOOM! My account was closed for violating Amazon SES' terms of service. I dug into those terms of service and finally figured it out.

Amazon SES doesn't like Internet and affiliate marketers. Undeterred, I created a new Amazon SES account. This time I went 6 months before getting booted from their platform again. I finally had to surrender to Amazon SES' will and move on to try other options. WHEEW! What an adventure!

I tried other SMTP services, but the results were always the same. I either got booted because they didn't like Internet and affiliate marketers, or their delivery was terrible, and in some cases, both.

At this point I was getting a little discouraged. It seemed the entire email marketing world hated Internet/affiliate marketers. Then it dawned on me... I can do this on my own. I don't need any of those services, I've got over 25 years of experience as an IT Professional. Let me crack open some of my old training on setting up Microsoft Exchange Server.

In the corporate IT world, I used to setup Microsoft Exchange Servers, why not create one for myself? I soon realized Microsoft Exchange Server wasn't going to be a cheap date. Nor is it the friendliest email server platform around.

Setting up a Microsoft Exchange Server required a dedicated physical server with Microsoft Windows Server and Exchange Server installed on it. I would also need to get a commercial Internet service account from my cable provider to get a dedicated IP. This would be very expensive and complicated. I knew there had to be a better way and I was determined to find it.

This quest led me on a nearly 3-year odyssey of creating servers using cPanel and VPS', dedicated servers, buying email marketing scripts and a myriad of other things.

I tried to find a, "How To" manual for setting up your own bulk email server on the Internet. There really wasn't one, but there was a lot of scattered information out there, but no comprehensive courses taking you from A to Z on setting one up.

I had to take bits of information from various sources, try it out and kept track of what worked and what didn't. This took a good bit of time and effort to get it right.

A word of caution to those who want to try and figure it out for themselves... If you attempt to follow what I did, you better be VERY tech savvy or have access to people who are, to pull it off.

Suffice it to say, I got a real education in building email servers and the complexities of email delivery in today's spam ladened world of email marketing.

Eventually after a lot of trial and error, with an emphasis on errors, I was finally able to put all the pieces together and get an email marketing system that worked, and worked well.

What you see here at SMTP Depot is the determination and hard work finally coming together. Rather than having you travel a similar path, I have created this Email Marketing Service with YOU, the Marketing community in mind.

At SMTP Depot we welcome Internet and affiliate marketers, MLMs, entertainers, news agencies, politicians, and anyone interested in maximizing their businesses. We've been through it all, so you don't have to.

We look forward to serving you. 

Steve Haase 
Founder and CEO