I've developed quite a few sites that send email notifications to the users when certain things happen on the site. So far all the sites I have developed have been small enough that the shared hosting web server was able to handle the relatively small load of emails. Now i've run into a snag. As people have continued to sign up for ReferralNetworX.com I am quickly realizing that the web server is going to buckle under the pressure. I now understand why even dedicated web servers do not have a dedicated email service if they can help it, it's far to CPU intensive and time consuming.
I started looking into third party email systems. All I wanted was a simple bulk email API that I could hook into for a cheap price and dump the email load on them. However everything I found was a minimum of $15 a month with only 2000 emails a day and a bunch of marketing tools and contact management systems I do not need. I already maintain the database and I already track everything I need to track, all I want is a simple email sending service that is maintained offsite by someone else. I was referred to MailChimp when I asked this question on programmers.stackexchange.com and I found another called JangoMail that seemed alright. They do have APIs to hook onto but it seems that those who used the services had to do a bunch of tweaking to get them to be simple bulk email services with no fluff.
That's when I found Amazon SES. SES stands for Simple Email Service and it is exactly what I was looking for. Best of all, it's dirt cheap! I haven't used it yet so I don't want to sound too much like a commercial until I try it out, but it looks like it's exactly what I need. I have been reading a lot of good things about it. This definitely looks like the route to go if you don't want anything but a queue of emails to be sent. Your site just dumps the emails into SES' queue and SES does the rest.