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Seven years of MailNuggets

The past two years have been smooth sailing with business as usual in full force.  Fortunately, MailNuggets' different vendor-dependencies have not produced any hiccups.  Digital Ocean and Stripe have been solid and reliable providers.  Onward and upward!

Five Years of MailNuggets

MailNuggets is still rolling along nicely. The biggest event within the last year is a clean break from all payment processors but Stripe, who continues to be great.  It's always fun to see when late-comers to a developed market build amazing things starting with a common problem and a blank slate.  Stripe's API and admin interface is a case study in good design.

Other notable things are some nice white-glove projects. The picture of the average MailNuggets use is also becoming a lot clearer and future development will likely be focused on that type of person -- someone posting emails to CRM software or support desk software.  There are quite a few mature CRM products out there that don't support some kind of automated email to database solution. So, here we are.  Stay tuned!

Four Years of MailNuggets

It's been a good and pleasantly peaceful year of MailNuggets with a nice uptick in customer growth.  Some interesting white glove projects came our way, and things continued to chug along well.  The wrinkles to the year included hearing that Amazon Flexible Payment would shut down in June (2015) and Google's Wallet for Virtual Goods API would shut down in February (2015).  So after initially integrating with Google Checkout (only to have them shut it down) and then moving to Wallet's API for digital goods (shutting down now) I've gained a whole new level of wariness towards Google APIs -- even ones that are designed to earn them money!  The good news is that we recently set-up  Stripe as the sole payment processor, and I have nothing but praises to sing.  Stripe's API, documentation and website control panel are miles ahead of any other payment processor I have seen.  They've built in a huge amount of options to their API, and include fantastic debug tools (response logging for all webhook events) all while keeping things remarkably simple.

Other than that, MailNuggets has been fairly business-as-usual with little downtime or other business impacting events.

Three Years of MailNuggets

Time for the annual lessons-learned things-accomplished state-of-the-MailNuggets-union blog post.  It's been a good 12 months, and while it's tempting to wax poetic, I'll try to keep things brief.  

A good percentage of my customers use Google Checkout to subscribe, and this has always worked fine despite Google having discontinued development on it.  Now Google has decided to shut it down.  In November 2013 it will stop processing subscription payments, and I'll need to have users re-sign-up using Amazon Payments or Google Wallet (which has a different API and does not offer instant payment notification for follow-on subscription payments).  I probably wouldn't be as upset with myself, but I failed to notice Google has an established record of shutting down APIs and rolling-out non-backwards compatible changes. http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2011/05/spring-cleaning-for-some-of-our-apis.html  Amazon Web Services, on the other hand, has been very good about supporting the APIs it makes, even if they become obsolete in the face of their other offerings.

Possibly, my favorite new tinkering this year was setting up a fail-over VPS on Digital Ocean, which was a joy to work with.  Their offerings are pretty unbelievably well-priced.  So, while MailNuggets continues to run on Linode, there is a mirror on Digital Ocean that has already worked well during a reboot of the Linode VPS.

That's my rant and praise for the past 12 months.  MailNuggets continues to be fun, and I always enjoy hearing about the problems customers are trying to solve with an email to HTTP POST solution.

Two Years of MailNuggets

It's been about two years since MailNuggets first launched, and I am happy to report it's growing at a steady pace. This past month (Oct. 2012) has been the best for revenue so far, and there was a nice spike in new subscriptions over the last three months. Other than nice revenue growth, the last year held some interesting developments for MailNuggets as a whole.

Overall, it's become much easier to see who is using MailNuggets. Most customers are developers with client projects that require email-to-database processing, but who do not want the sys-admin burden and extra cost of maintaining a dedicated server to provide email piping and parsing. In many cases, the incoming emails are a result of some automated system that is beyond their control, such as an alerting system, or a third party system sending formmail. With this in mind, MailNuggets is planning on introducing a white glove service to assist those who need help with custom email parsing and posting to a third party API, or their own system. This service will provide code and implementation assistance for customer-specific emails and APIs.

For this reason, MailNuggets will continue to focus on developing better tools for people who are parsing and posting emails to their own system, and will reduce focus on the blog and Twitter integration features. Some newly added features are sending email attachments to Amazon S3 and Google Docs. These features are still thinly used, but as of this writing MailNuggets is one of the few ways to automate email attachments to Google Docs. This is available under the premium $30/month plan since the development maintenance required to support the posting to Google's API is somewhat involved. This is partially because of the complexity of the Google Documents API, the API documentation (or lack thereof) and the fact that Google is constantly changing this API. To give you a better idea of what I am describing -- posting to their API requires each posted object above 512 KB be split into chunks and posted sequentially, each one referencing some return data from the previous post in the new post's header. Also, just staying current with the latest OAuth standard requires more work than one might think.

Another interesting development is that Google has continued to give MailNuggets nice search placement, and from this comes most prospective customers. Also, it's generated interest from friendly passersby. It was my pleasure to meet Navneet in this manner. He was kind enough to offer some advice on things to add (such as Google Docs and S3 integration) and provide feedback as both a customer and developer. He happens to be a talented PHP coder who wanted to help get the word out about MailNuggets as a sales representative. His feedback on the project as a whole was very helpful, and he understands the system very well. While you are always welcome to contact me directly at info@mailnuggets.com you can contact Navneet at sales@mailnuggets.com if you are a prospective customer.

Other random notes:

The MailNuggets.com SSL certificate was just renewed. I purchased it for four years at namecheap.com for about $10 a year. Installation was easy. It seems that SSL cert prices (of normal non-EV, non-wildcard certs) are all over the place. This certificate replaced one that cost much more and did essentially the same thing.

Perhaps one of the nicest things about the last year is zero downtime. The MailNuggets server has gone 443 days (as of this writing) without a reboot. Looking forward to continued uptime down the road.