Is there a test environment that can be used with the API?
We had the unfortunate experience of one of the non-technical constant contact employees tell us to use the API to move all of our contacts over from another provider. We we started to test that process (repeatedly), and suddenly we start hearing from hoardes of customers that they are getting these "you have subscribed" messages from constant contact.
Being told we cannot disable the automatic emails that go out (is that right?), that leaves us needing a test environment where we can use the API to practice our bulk load before we run the final version.
What options do we have?
I am sorry for the poor experience. We don't currently have a true test environment (one that would not generate emails to your contacts if the settings were such that they should get an email). We really just have the normal 60-day trial accounts available for developers right now, but developer (sandbox) accounts are high on our list of features to implement.
That said, you do not have to send welcome emails to new contacts when they are added. You inadvertently violated our terms of service by setting the opt in source to action by contact when you, the account owner, are adding the contacts to your account. If you set the opt in source to "ACTION_BY_CONTACT" (like you must have), that is the equivalent of saying that the contact themself signed up on the form in question, and that sends out a welcome email. If you set the opt in source to "ACTION_BY_CUSTOMER" (aka site owner), that will suppress welcome emails from going out. See the bottom of this page for more information about setting the opt in source.
Also worth mentioning is that if you are going to import many contacts at once, it's best to use the bulk import method that am linking to here. You can also do this through the UI by logging into your account and going to Contacts>>Add & Update>>from a file or spreadsheet.
Sorry again for the limitation in not having a sandbox environment, and for the miscommunication from our support team. They aren't trained in API support, which is why they send developers to this website or firstname.lastname@example.org.
API Support Specialist
Has there been any movement on this topic?
My organization is also very interested in a sandboxed environment, we are looking to update to the Version 2 API, and with over 50k active users, limiting to a list of 100 does not give us a way to test bulk scenarios well.
We unfortunately do not have a sandbox available at this time, and I do not have a specific time estimate for when one would be available. This is still something we're looking at and trying to figure out some of the major logistical hurdles involved in making it happen.
One thing that is definitely worth noting is that while our trial accounts do have strict send limits for the number of contacts an email campaign can be sent to, my understanding is that they do not implement limits on the number of contacts that you can import to an account. This should allow you to create a new second account that could be used to develop and test contact management code, even at scale.
If you have any questions, please let us know!