The Growth of Premium Mail Providers 2014

For the last couple of years there has been a lot of hype around social media marketing, content marketing, growth hacking and a whole host of other buzz-phrases. Every so often “the next big thing” is announced and everyone seems to want to pile in.

In all of the commotion, some of the more traditional forms of marketing appear to have fallen by the wayside. Most businesses don’t even consider physical marketing (using snail-mail to send newsletters, brochures etc) any more. Even email marketing has lost it’s appeal for many.

It’s true that email marketing isn’t massively exciting. It isn’t sexy and it definitely doesn’t have the “wow-factor”. However, email marketing works. It’s tried and tested and when done properly, it gets results. With all of the new forms of digital marketing that have been introduced over the last couple of years, email marketing didn’t die. It just kept plodding along, working hard for everyone who stuck with it. Lately, it’s been seeing a bit of a resurgence.

There are two types of email marketing that are typically used today which can be broadly grouped as “Marketing email” and “Transactional email”. Marketing email is what most people usually think of when they hear the term “email marketing”. It would include things like newsletters and promotional emails send out to a mailing list. Anything sent in bulk would count as marketing email. Transactional email is a bit different, focussing on the emails that are sent out to an individual in response to a particular action or request. Examples of transactional email would include password reset emails, notifications about received messages, following up when a cart full of products is abandoned. Marketing through transactional email is a newer approach and it’s the area of the most innovation of the last few years.

Today I want to highlight a few premium (paid for) email providers who have been growing over the last year or so. These aren’t necessarily the biggest email providers but these are all services that stood out from the Builtwith data. They’re all providers which, according to the data, are growing.

Mandrill is a transactional email product which has been developed by the team behind MailChimp (the popular email platform which sends out more than 6 billion emails every month). They describe the product by saying “Mandrill is MailChimp for apps” which sums things up quite nicely. App developers can use Mandrill to send personalized one-to-one emails (such as receipts, notifications or password reminders) to users.

Mandrill is run as a startup inside MailChimp and there is a lot of overlap with the parent company. A team of MailChimp engineers was formed to work solely on Mandrill and the MailChimp heritage shines through. Even the pricing structure Mandrill have adopted is similar to MailChimp, with a generous free usage quota.

Take a look at the Builtwith usage data for Mandrill. The trend is clear and appears to be accelerating into 2014. Mandrill looks like it might be a product to watch this year.

Mandrill Growth

Mandrill Growth since 2012 in Top 10k/100k/1m Sites

Amazon SES
Based on the infrastructure developed to serve their own customers, Amazon offers an outbound only email service. The SES stands for Simple Email Service and that describes exactly how Amazon are pitching this.

As with some of their other services, Amazon SES users only pay for what they use. There is a free tier and close integration with some of Amazons other product offerings.

Amazon SES has been around for a few years now (since early 2011) and has seen a gradual increase in usage. The Builtwith trends data shows that the growth of Amazon SES has been slow and steady. Over the last year, the product has seen an average monthly increase in usage of just over 3% (based on usage in the top 1 Million websites).

Amazon SES Growth since 2012 in Top 10k/100k/1m Sites

Amazon SES Growth since 2012 in Top 10k/100k/1m Sites

Founded in 2009 by a team of engineers who were frustrated with sending email using the tools available at the time, SendGrid has become an established product in the transactional email domain. SendGrid offer marketing email services but they’re most well known for the transactional side of things. With intuitive reporting and analytics, SendGrid has a strong user base which includes companies like Pinterest and Foursquare.

As you can see in the chart below, SendGrid have a larger user base than Mandrill (who also offer a transactional email service, and are not afraid of being compared to SendGrid) and are growing month on month. However, Mandrill are growing at a faster rate and are closing the gap.

SendGrid growth across Top 10k/100k/1m sites since 2012

SendGrid growth across Top 10k/100k/1m sites since 2012

Wrapping Up
Although some of the buzz around email marketing died down for a little while, the practice never went anywhere. Today’s best email marketing tools do more than just send email though, as the three products described above show. There’s a demand for strong reporting and analytics and transactional email is growing in importance too.

The usage trends of these three products suggest that either more people are using email marketing as a whole or that people are turning to innovative products which offer a more comprehensive email marketing package.

Either way, the email marketing space could be interesting to watch over the next year or so. Mandrill look like they’re going head-to-head with Sendgrid and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a disruptive new product or two enter the race before too long.

For a closer look at the data behind these email marketing products, as well as a whole host of other technologies, head over to the BuiltWith Trends pages. If you’d like to dig a little deeper into the BuiltWith data for email marketing products or anything else, a BuiltWith Pro membership might be for you. Have a look at what’s on offer with BuiltWith Pro here.




WooCommerce – Technology Growth Award Winner

This in the third post in our Technology Growth Awards series looking at some of the fastest growing web technologies online today. Using our own BuiltWith data, we’ve highlighted some of the companies who have seen continuous and significant growth over the last twelve months (or more in many cases). In the last post, we featured AdRoll. Today, it’s time to take a closer look at WooCommerce.

Woocommerce Growth Award

WooCommerce is (in the words of the team behind it) “a Wordpress eCommerce toolkit that helps you sell anything, beautifully” and is the flagship product from WooThemes. WooCommerce has been seeing huge growth over the last year and has become one of the most popular eCommerce platforms online today.

This isn’t where it all began for WooThemes though, who had been up and running for a while before WooCommerce was launched. The company started out by producing custom themes for WordPress with the aim of enhancing the appearance, functionality and usefulness of a WordPress site. As they’ve grown, WooThemes has expanded beyond the scope of just WordPress themes.

The journey began way back in the early days of WordPress. At the time, only a limited number of themes were available and late in 2007, the very first premium (paid for) WordPress theme was released by Adii Pienaar. The theme turned out to be a hit and Adii was joined by Mark Forrester and Magnus Jepson around the start of 2008. The trio collaborated building themes for a few months and in July 2008, they decided to drop their other freelance work to focus their efforts on building the WooThemes business. The team worked remotely in different countries (which is still the setup the company uses today) and the founding trio didn’t meet in person until April 2009 at a conference in London.

Things went well and the company focussed mainly on WordPress themes for the next few years. It wasn’t until September 2011 that WooCommerce arrived on the scene. WooThemes worked with the developers of Jigoshop (a WordPress eCommerce plugin) to branch their product and turn it to the first release of WooCommerce. The product proved to be a hit and gradually began gaining support and growing in popularity. That has stepped up significantly over the last year or so and WooCommerce is now in the top 5 most popular eCommerce platforms. As you can see from the chart below, the Builtwith usage data shows the trend is very clearly in an upwards direction, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

WooCommerce Growth in Top 1m Sites 2012-2014

WooCommerce Growth in Top 1m Sites 2012-2014

WooCommerce allows users to launch attractive, high quality stores quickly and easily. The core product is free (users can buy add-ons to extend WooCommerce if needed) which almost certainly adds to its appeal. The company has a rich background in design which really shines through. WooCommerce isn’t just about providing the right functionality for users. WooCommerce offers more than that. It’s about the whole package.

From analysing some of the BuiltWith data for WooCommerce, it was interesting to find that only a very small percentage of the websites using WooCommerce are also using other eCommerce plugins. The uptake of complimentary technologies (as shown in the middle section of the infographic above) is very low. This again points to the fact that WooCommerce offers something of a one-stop-shop for users looking to set up their own eCommerce store. With WooCommerce, there doesn’t seem to be much need to run any additional eCommerce technology.

Things look like they’re going well for WooCommerce, and the trend looks set to continue well into 2014 and beyond. It’ll be interesting to see whether WooCommerce can overtake one of its competitors to cement itself in the top 3 most popular eCommerce platforms.

All of the usage data used in this post and the infographic above has been provided by BuiltWith. View WooCommerce Trends data here. To find out more about BuiltWith, the types of data on offer available and how you can use it, head over to BuiltWith Pro Features.

BuiltWith Predictive Leads

“Predictive Leads”, “Big Data”, “Cloud Computing” – they are all just buzzwords until you can actually use these services to improve your bottom line.

BuiltWith Pro reports now have a Predictive Tab that can help you determine new sources of leads for your business.

Predictive Screenshot
How do I use this new feature?

  • Step 1: Create a report based on a web technology, ecommerce category or your own list of websites as per normal
  • Step 2: Click the “Predictive” tab in your report
  • Step 3: Browse the technologies your lead list websites were previously using to determine a good source of new leads.

Predictive leads use our vast historical technology database to determine the technologies websites in your report used in the past. We then identify patterns that emerge from that data, allowing you to find new sources of leads based on this historical data.

Example: Do BuiltWith Predictive Leads work in the real world?

We took a known technology comparison to see if the predictive tab reported an outcome as we would expect -

Digital Ocean vs. Linode
If you Google the term “Digital Ocean vs. Linode” there’s over 12k results, being one of the most hotly contested comparisons of hosting providers, we thought we’d see where Digital Ocean’s next customers were coming from using the Predictive tab on the report for all sites using Digital Ocean. We expected Linode to feature prominently in that report.

Linode Comparison

The report shows that Linode is the top predictive source for new leads for Digital Ocean, and lists other potential lead sources under hosting below it.

This is just one example, the possibilities are huge for your own research and we welcome you to try out this new feature of BuiltWith Pro.

If you’ve got any questions about this new feature, please contact us, we are happy to help.

Who’s Using Magento?

Magento Logo

Back in 2008, a new eCommerce platform was born. Magento, which was originally intended to be a fork in the development of osCommerce (a popular open source eCommerce platform), has been growing ever since. In 2011 Magento was acquired by eBay Inc and now sits amongst the top three eCommerce platforms on the web. In this article, I’m going to take a closer look at Magento and some of the websites which are using it to handle their eCommerce storefronts.

As you can see from the trends data below, Magento usage has been consistently on the increase for the last few years. In fact, thanks to a recent surge in the number of sites using the Enterprise Edition, Magento usage is accelerating and the platform is off to a great start of 2014.

Top 100k Sites Using Magento Over Time

Top 100k Sites Using Magento Over Time

Magento comes in three flavours, each offering something slightly different. Here is a very quick run through of the three products offered by Magento:

  • Magento Community Edition – This is really where it all began for Magento. The Community Edition remains an open source, free to download, version of the software. With a bit of work from a developer, the Community Edition can be moulded and shaped to form a reliable storefront for almost any purpose.
  • Magento GO – A solution aimed at small business merchants looking to set up shop online quickly and easily. Magento GO offers a fully hosted storefront with a custom design.
  • Magento Enterprise Edition – As you’d expect, the enterprise edition is where things get serious. Boasting a powerful feature set with custom design and detailed analytics, the Enterprise Edition is aimed at larger, more demanding online stores.

In my opinion there’s no better way to understand a product than to see it in action. So, using BuiltWith website technology data, I’ve picked out ten examples of sites using either the Community Edition or the Enterprise Edition of Magento. As you’ll see below, Magento is a flexible platform which means it can be implemented in a range of different ways.

First up are five sites that are using the Community Edition of Magento.

Sam’s Club Auctions
Sam’s Club sells a huge range of products via an auction format. Whether you’re looking for a blender, a necklace or a new TV, Sam’s Club Auctions may well be the place to go. Magento is used to store and display the product catalogue.

Sam's Club


Shop Heritage
The online store for The Heritage Foundation (a US think tank who formulate and promote conservative public policies) is powered by Magento. The store mainly sells books and apparel, including quite a range of ties.



AAA Ohio
AAA Ohio are using Magento to offer a range of travel gear and other accessories in a traditional store layout. Of all of their products, my personal favourite has to be the OSU Football Purse.



United Airlines advertise their duty free products via a Magento powered eCommerce store. Although most products are not available to be bought online, United have used the format of product listings in an eCommerce store to display information about the what’s on offer during flights.

United Airlines


BMJ Masterclasses
BMJ Masterclasses is a little bit different from some of the more traditional eCommerce stores we’ve looked at so far. Instead of selling and shipping physical products, BMJ Maserclasses is using an eCommerce store to sell tickets to specialist medical training events.



The next five websites are all using the Enterprise Edition of Magento. There isn’t a huge difference in the type of websites using the Enterprise Edition, although you’ll probably notice that the sites in this line-up are generally a bit more polished.

The Blaze Marketplace
This website is all about promoting small businesses. The Blaze Marketplace has a goal to assemble the world’s finest collection of unique small businesses. They’re about more than products or prices – the stories matter too. The Blaze are pretty selective in who they promote and each business that’s featured has a space to share their story and explain what they stand for. The Blaze is proving popular with a growing, active social media following. It’s no wonder they’ve opted for the Enterprise Edition of Magento to deliver their store.

The Blaze Marketplace


Refinery 29
A hugely popular independent fashion website with a strong, crisp design, Refinery29 is all about inspiring visitors to live with style and creativity. Refinery29 attracts over 1 billion page views in a year and offers a clean and attractive eCommerce store as part of the site. Again, it’s no wonder they’ve opted for the robust and customizable Enterprise Edition of Magento.



Warriors in Pink
Warriors In Pink is a website which exists to help the fight against breast cancer. In 2006 Ford launched the Warriors in Pink campaign and introduced the first Warriors in Pink line of clothing and accessories. All of the net proceeds from sales on the site is dedicated to fighting breast cancer with donations going to charities that offer a wide-range of support.

Warriors in Pink


Gallup is a platform which allows users to access and interact with global intelligence data. Powerful information can be interrogated and manipulated in a range of ways. The eCommerce aspect of the site is limited, but important in that it provides a gateway to the underlying analytics platform.



Catholic Answers
This site is much more of a traditional eCommerce store. Catholic Answers stocks Catholic resources and information, mainly in the form of books. Magento provides a stable backbone for the store.

Catholic Answers


So there you have it, the sites shown above are ten of the most popular Magento powered websites online today. It’s interesting to see how the same underlying technology has been implemented differently on each site. There are a couple which certainly stand out as being a step removed from the more traditional eCommerce stores. Part of the power of a platform like Magento is that it’s versatile and robust. It can be successfully implemented in a range of scenarios.

The list of Magento sites presented here has been compiled using BuiltWith data. If you’d like to discover more of the 200,000+ websites using Magento, a BuiltWith Pro Subscription might be for you. There is more free information about Magento usage here.

AdRoll – Technology Growth Award Winner

This post is part of a series looking at some of the fastest growing web technologies online today. Using BuiltWith data, we’ve highlighted a handful of companies who have all seen significant growth over the last twelve months (or more in many cases). Last time we took a closer look at Inspectlet. Today, it’s the turn of AdRoll.

BuiltWith AdRoll Infographic

AdRoll was launched in 2007 and is now the world biggest retargeting platform, serving more than 10,000 advertisers across the globe. Retargeting is a relatively new concept that’s been making it’s way into the online advertising mainstream over the last few years and is proving to be very effective.

Retargeting is all about keeping track of people who visit a site (usually an eCommerce store) and once they’ve left, displaying adverts to bring them back. AdRoll explain the process well here, where they identify that only around 2% of shoppers become customers on their first visit to an online store. Retargeting is used to bring back the 98% of people who didn’t buy first time around in an effort to increase sales.

AdRoll was formed in 2007 but didn’t go to market with their retargeting offering until 2009. In the early days, AdRoll saw retargeting as something they could offer to customers for free as an addon to their other products. However, when the team noticed that their relatively unknown retargeting product was performing well and generating interest, a change of focus brought retargeting to the fore.

When first venturing into the world of retargeting, AdRoll were very aware that responding well to customer feedback would be essential to build a successful platform. With a lot of experimentation and investment in R&D, AdRoll has been able to demonstrate the power of retargeting and has grown into the platform it is today. Now, on average, AdRoll retargeting customers earn $10 for every $1 they spend on retargeting.

Boasting a customer retention rate of 97% with some big players like Hipmunk and Udemy jumping on board, it’s no surprise that AdRoll has experienced sustained and significant growth for the last three years.

Amount of sites in each top site group using AdRoll over time.

Amount of sites in each top site group using AdRoll over time.

AdRoll HQ is in San Fransisco and the company also has an office in New York. Last year, with a huge increase in European business, AdRoll opened a base in Dublin, Ireland, and looks set for some significant expansion over 2014. It seems that there’s just no stopping AdRoll – the march on Australia is next!

All of the usage data used in this post and the infographic above has been provided by BuiltWith. You’ll find more AdRoll data here. To find out more about BuiltWith and the types of data on offer head over to view our Pro Features.



Inspectlet – Technology Growth Award Winner

Welcome to the first post in a series which celebrates some of the fastest growing web technologies out there today. Using BuiltWith data, we’ve highlighted a handful of companies who have all seen significant growth over the last twelve months (or more in many cases).

To kick off this series, let’s take a closer look at one of those rapidly growing technologies, Inspectlet.

Inspectlet is a web application which helps webmasters gain a deeper understanding of what their visitors are thinking during interactions with their website. By using eye tracking heatmaps, screen-capture (actual recordings of the screen during visitor sessions) and user-interaction analytics, Inspectlet gives webmasters a way to observe their visitors’ actions naturally.

The vision for Inspectlet was born back in the 2011, when founder Rachit Gupta set about helping web designers understand their visitors more effectively. He put a team together and in June of that year, the first version of Inspectlet was launched.

Fast forward to 2013 and Inspectlet is seeing some impressive growth. The usage numbers are still modest when compared with similar competing technologies, however, they are growing at quite a rate. As you can see from the usage trends chart below, Inspectlet has grown consistently month on month over the last year

Top million growth of Inspectlet for 2013

Top million growth of Inspectlet for 2013

One of the reasons for this growth might be because at the core of the vision for Inspectlet is the desire to make this technology widely available. In an interview from the early days, Rachit said: “I wanted to create a full user experience suite that’s affordable to everyone, because I think everyone should care about user experience the same way they care about traffic numbers.”. In practical terms, that translates into Inspectlet offering a more substantial free package than many other competing products on the market. Not only is this is a great way of encouraging webmasters to improve user experience by giving them access to valuable data, it also lets users give Inspectlet a real workout so they can make an informed decision about whether it’s suitable for their needs.

Inspectlet has been receiving positive reviews since its launch, and if the usage trend continues to grow as rapidly as it has this year, the future looks very bright for Rachit and the team.

All of the usage data used in this post and the infographic above has been provided by BuiltWith. For more Inspectlet data see our Inspectlet Trends, updated weekly.

For more information on BuiltWith and the types of data on offer see our Pro Features.

Memory Indexing

We added a new method of detecting what technologies websites are using by looking at loaded websites memory signature. It compliments our full index retrieval system to show what functions and variables are in memory when a web site has loaded.

In Memory Indexing

The biggest advantage this provides us is the ability to track technologies that are loaded from compressed javascript and/or 3rd party loaded javascript.

Take as an example, as of writing this we compress most of the JavaScript for the site into a single file called bw.min.js – hiding most of the attributes we’d use to be able to track technologies. Using this new technique we are able to find technologies that are loaded once the webpage has fully loaded. On our site alone it increases technology tracking coverage by 25%.

We’ve been doing in-memory indexing since September 2013 and tracking will be back-dated as we roll out this new tracking technique starting from today.

Moz study examines Technology Choices and Search Rankings

Our friends over at Moz recently performed a study into how technology choices affect Google Rankings.

They found there wasn’t much of a correlation, which is good news, imagine if using one hosting provider over another gave you some sort of unknown unfair advantage?

Moz Hosting Findings

Moz Hosting Provider Chart using BuiltWith Data

Checkout the findings over on the Moz Blog and a big thank you to Cyrus ShepardDr. Matthew Peters and the Moz team for researching and publishing this.

Technology Versioning Now Online

We’ve recently started to deepen our technology coverage of websites by providing versioning information for technologies where we can track them, in free lookups, Trends and Pro reports.

nginx sub-versions

nginx sub-version report on free lookups

We’ll also be backdating all of our technology coverage in Pro to the start of 2011 for this, so you can see what versions of software websites used at any particular point in time.

This also gives us the ability to offer insights such as -

  • What hosting providers used older versions of software
  • What companies are on the bleeding edge of software releases
  • How popular and how fast websites move from version to version
Sub version reports in trends.

Sub-version reports in trends.

Version Specific Reports will now appear on the parent technology (jQuery, Apache, nginx for example) we’ll update these numbers to reflect internet wide statistics in the coming weeks and also provide an interface to see how technology versioning changes over time.