Lab announces “viewer-managed Marketplace” on the way

secondlifeDuring the TPV Developer meeting on Friday October 10th, the Lab announced that there will be changes coming in 2015 to how merchants interact with the SL Marketplace.

These changes are in part the result of the Lab working to resolve outstanding issues around Direct Delivery, including the fact that not all use cases for Marketplace sales could be solved through Direct Delivery, but still require the use of Magic Boxes.

Brooke Linden was on-hand at the meeting to provide and overview of the forthcoming changes – which are unlikely to be implemented in full until the end of the first quarter of 2015, although broader testing with them is set to commence towards the end of October or in early November 2014.

The new functionality is discussed in detail in the October 10th meeting video. The following notes are intended to provide a general overview of what is planned,  and includes audio of key statements from Brooke for reference.

The major aspects of these changes will be:

  • The changes are being referred to as “viewer-managed marketplace”, or VMM
  • Items for sale on the Marketplace will not longer be stored on the Marketplace servers – they will remain in the merchant’s inventory (so there will not longer be any need to upload stock to the Marketplace)
  • There will be a new panel (as yet apparently unnamed) within the viewer. This will replace the Merchant Outbox and provide merchants with more information on their stock (e.g. information on whether or not an item is listed, stock levels on No Copy items, etc), and allow them to carry out the following Marketplace tasks from within the viewer:
    • Create new listings with stock
    • Associating inventory to an existing listing
    • Remove items from a listing
    • Unlist goods entirely.
  • (Note that other Marketplace activities will still require logging-in to the SL Marketplace web interface as is the case today.)

Brooke Linden provides an overview of the upcoming changes to the Viewer and the SL Marketplace

As a part of these changes, there will be a migration process, which the Lab hopes to make as smooth as possible. This will involve updating current Marketplace listings so that they correctly point to the inventory servers (rather than the inventory store on the Marketplace servers), and which will return items to the merchant, where they will be visible in the new Marketplace panel.

The plan is to make the migration process as automated as possible, with migration times scheduled with larger merchants as stores and listings will be temporarily unavailable during the migration process. However, for those who prefer, their will also be a manual migration process.

Brooke Linden on the migration process once the new functionality starts rolling-out in 2015

As noted above, the Lab is looking to deploy the new functionality around the end of the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime, a project viewer with the new panel will be deployed, most likely before the end of October, and it will be possible to under take testing on the new capabilities on Aditi (the Beta grid) starting wither towards the end of October or in early November.

Testing will initially involve those merchants who have been involved in providing input into the development of this new functionality, together with TPV developers. However, the plan is to then broaden it out and invite other merchants into the testing to generate broader feedback and input. Following the Aditi testing and feedback, there will be a beta phase using the production Marketplace prior to a full migration / switch-over.

Full updates on the changes will be forthcoming through future meetings as well as, hopefully, via a Lab blog post at some point in the future.

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16 thoughts on “Lab announces “viewer-managed Marketplace” on the way

  1. Betty

    Lots of questions — will be interesting to watch : So if your account is on hold for tax info or credit card updates — I guess you can’t sell since your inventory is on hold too? Another reason for a merchant to drop land and premium status.

    On the days when you can’t wear everything you want to wear- those new pants days—- merchant inventory will still work flawlessly?

    Clear cache won’t impact? Won’t MP stock need to load too? What message will a customer get: item not found ?

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Inventory isn’t stored on the viewer, it’s stored on the inventory (asset) servers and will be called from those for delivery to customers. As such, I don’t see your second and third points being an issue. The first point, I would have thought, remains as it is now. If your account is on hold, you can’t manipulate your Marketplace stock (add items to listings, etc.) – just as you can’t upload items to the Marketplace servers today – because you can’t log-in. Don’t think it should affect people from being able to buy goods from you, however.

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  2. Pamela

    I see some positives and, for me, one significant negative. The current merchant software is awkward, slow, and buggy. For me the biggest handicap as a merchant is that almost everything has to be done by logging this avi in. This adds to that list of things.

    But what I most would like to know is if anyone knows of any merchants were consulted?

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    1. Gibson

      “Testing will initially involve those merchants who have been involved in providing input into the development of this new functionality, together with TPV developers. However, the plan is to then broaden it out and invite other merchants into the testing to generate broader feedback and input.”

      That has already been covered in this article.

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  3. richardus

    As long you dont get the marketplace items in your avatar inventory its fine. if the items you sell appear back in your own inventory its a negative development. the good thing from marketplace where just that items you sell are stored seperate. like the magic box did to. so, need to see how this end, hopefully the mercent box in new system is seperate inventory system.

    marketplace how it where now where not bad, only a bit slow. but my secondlife is slow to, so we can better blame linden lab for that the have slow servers

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  4. Pingback: Lab announces "viewer managed Marketplace&...

  5. Betty

    Brooke said that items that were sent to MP and then deleted from creators’ inventory will come back to creator into new MP inventory section.

    The whole RLV system seemed a surprise to the Lindens — the inventory access issue .

    They have been working on this since January 2014 with merchants

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Yup, if you’ve uploaded an item to the Marketplace and subsequently deleted it (which includes deleting the original from the asset servers), it will “come back to you” (restored to the asset servers). Has to, in order for the item to continue to be available for sale on the Marketplace.

      I wouldn’t say that RLV “surprised” the Lindens. Oz is more than aware of it, as are many at the Lab. How greatly it factored into thinking around the new process is questionable, however. But then, RLV isn’t supported by the Lab. Hence why during the meeting, TPV folk indicated it would be something they would look into – and one of the reasons they want to be involved in the Aditi testing; they’re the ones best placed to investigate the impact and provide feedback / advice on changes (if possible) that need to be made.

      Leave us not forget that Merchants under RLV inventory restrictions are already prevented from carrying out certain Marketplace operations as it is. They can’t upload items to the Marketplace for example; so this is more adding a couple of additional things that potentially cannot be done, rather than adding a whole new subset of possible issues. Whether or not it might be possible to circumvent, to a degree, these kinds of issues by offering the capability for a merchant under RLV restrictions to access the “merchant panel” (or whatever it is to be called) without necessarily being able to access the rest of their inventory, is something TPV devs will hopefully be able to determine once they get to poke around at a project viewer.

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  6. Vicki

    I hope this doesn’t end up as big as a fiscal as when they changed over from magic boxes to this one now. It was months before it was fixed and still doesn’t work right all the time now. Make sure everything works before you close out the old this time.

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  7. zzpearlbottom

    I still cant understand and i must say i always have rlv enabled, why any will put restrictions to marketplace on it and why LL will have to worry about? (Is not LL code even it if should) and is a option on Rlv.

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