April 2020 Web User Group: Name Changes et al

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract).

Name Changes

  • Deployment of the Name Changes capability is now “really, really close”.
  • As of the meeting, all of the major elements for Name Changes are with the Lab’s QA team for testing.
  • IF no significant issues / showstoppers or the like are uncovered by QA, it is probable that Name Changes will launch before the end of April.

Premium Plus

  • All of the required / update workflows for managing Premium Plus are in place, and the various web pages that will need to be refreshed with updated information have been prepared ready for the eventual Premium Plus launch.
  • All of the back-end work is in place.
  • LL are still “sitting on” all of the various values (fee, benefits, etc.), that are associated with Premium Plus.
  • No release date but said to be be “closer” – however, as I’ve previously noted, it will not come until some time after Name Changes have been made available.

Marketplace

  • Keywords and unlisting: if an item is unlisted from the MP for keyword use issues, the merchant will now get an automated e-mail notification.
  • Further improvements to the keyword system will be made over time.
  • There have been multiple fixes to the Marketplace, including:
    • Corrections for translations for non-English languages and alternate language descriptions on listings being incorrect or not displaying correctly.
    • Fixes for issues with the transaction e-mail settings.
    • Correcting the issue of some listings failing to appear in search results on Merchant’s Manage Listings pages.
    • Cleaned up the behaviour of received items.
    • Single sign-on session handling between the viewer and the Marketplace has been improved to prevent the system getting confused between which account a user was using to make a MP purchase if they were logged-in and using the MP from two accounts.

SL Marketing

  • Work has been put into refreshing a lot of the Second Life landing pages as a part of promoting Second Life.
  • This work includes the development of the enterprise / business micro-site, including the new explore page for the (at present) seven turnkey solutions.
    • I’m currently discussing with LL a possible article on this aspect of Second Life that will present a walk-through of the micro site and how interested parties can use it to engage with LL and progress through to using one of the region types.
    • The global MuseWeb 2020 conference is in progress at the time of writing, and has moved to an entirely on-line status as a result of the current pandemic. Portions of this event are being presented in or relayed through Second Life, using one of the enterprise turnkey solutions – see: MuseWeb: utilising Second Life in support of a global conference).
  • Internally to the Lab, one of the new consumer campaigns (yet to launch at the time of writing) is called the Comfort Campaign, promoting Second Life as a virtual social environment where people can meet, share times, enjoy the company of others (pretty much in keeping with the ideal of “stay safe, stay virtual”) during the current crisis, whilst at the same time avoiding the appearance of being in any way exploitative.

Two-Factor Authentication

  • Still being worked on.
  • First step will likely be sending out an e-mail notification when an attempt to log-in to a Second Life service is made from an unrecognised device.
  • More robust 2FA controls will be added, and will initially be opt-in before eventually becoming required.

It’s a very serious topic that we are working on in parallel to AWS work. Which means it made the cut of “what can we stop working on to make AWS go faster.

– Ekim Linden

In Brief

  • Website polls. People visiting Second Life web properties such as secondlife.com and the Marketplace may have noticed a pop-up poll appearing when they do so, asking if they would recommend SL to others.
    • Apparently, those responding at largely indicating they would (although obviously saying and doing aren’t the same).
    • At the same time, the poll also received a lot of negative feedback due to the annoyance factor (it would keep popping up on a user logging into any Second Life web property until responded to), and so has been turned off.
    • However, there are more such polls being planned, although how they are being presented might be reconsidered.
  • Web profiles and legacy profiles viewer: there are further fixes awaiting before this profile can roll forward, and these are queued behind other work at present.
  • Forum spamming. There has been an upturn in new accounts spamming the forums. It is possible that if this continues and gets worse, LL may consider some form of throttling / limits on the volume of posts that can be made by an individual account at a given time.

February 2020 Web User Group: Name Changes, MP updates and 2FA

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract).

Cloud Uplift

  • The work transitioning SL services to the cloud is very much a daily task for the Web Team, who appear to be the focus at the moment in the drive to get SL-related web properties and services transitioned to provisioning by AWS.
  • This work is also impacting a lot of cycles of QA and engineering work.
  • It is believed that the initial benefit for SL web services following their transitioning will be in performance.
  • It was reiterated that the focus of the work is just on making the transition to AWS provisioning; and other work (such as possible regional localisation of servers where it makes sense to do so) will not come until much later.

Name Changes

  • Still no confirmation of likely deployment date. However, and as per my week #6 Simulator Group summary, the necessary server-side support for Name Changes is being deployed to the grid.
  • The final tally of entrants in the Last Names competition is 2,300, with the majority all entering their allowed three choices, so somewhere in the region of 6,900 suggestions (some of which might be duplicates of one another).
    • Work is in-hand to select the winners that will be included in the first batch of available last names.
  • Some additional blockers have been encountered that are delaying the deployment of the capability.

Marketplace

  • End-to-end Localisation of Marketplace pages is continuing, with the side bar now being shown in Spanish for users selecting that language, and with all the categories, etc., displaying correctly.
  • Landmarks can once again be included in land sale listings.
  • Ongoing back-end work to support the upcoming new Premium Plus subscription option.
  • It has been noted that the new search filters (demos and limited items) has highlighted a large number of demo items on the MP that are not linked to actual products – which is against the listing guidelines. Those coming across such items are asked to flag the items, and if no action is seen to be taken after a period of time, to raise a support ticket.
  • There are reports that some who have items de-listed from the MP are not receiving an advisory e-mail that their items have been de-listed.
    • Should it be noted that this is the case, make sure the any supplied e-mail address you use with Second Life has been correctly verified (see Important: verifying your e-mail address with Second life).
    • If the e-mail is apparently verified, the advice is to contact support, who will try to help determine why e-mails are not being received.
    • Additionally, the Web Team are going to follow this up to see if there are any reasons which the notifications are not being sent from their end.
  • There has been an issue of items No Copy items being wrongfully obtained / re-sold via the Marketplace. Accounts found to be doing this are held for assessment, but it is hard for LL to arrange the return of the items to the original creators, as very often the items are moved between multiple accounts, requiring extensive and time-consuming back-tracking through MP listings, etc.
    • However, it is acknowledged that the assessment process is unfair to merchants using the MP, and the process is under view with the aim of the Lab trying to “do better” for merchants hit by these issues.

Two-Factor Authentication

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) – this has oft been requested for Second Life log-in processes, and it is on the road map. However, there are “many hurdles” in implementing such a system, which LL are trying to overcome.
    • For those unfamiliar with the concept of 2FA, it is a method of confirming users’ claimed identities by using a combination of two different factors, e.g. something they know, something they have, or something they are. For example, using a bank card (something a person has) and a PIN number (something they know) to withdraw money from an ATM¹.
  • Whilst the complications of 2FA are being investigated / addressed, the Lab may implemented additional account security safeguards in the nearer-term road map, which are seen as easier to achieve
    • An example of this might be a user receiving a notification if a log-in to their account is made from a new location or from a different device / computer.
  • It is expected that when initially introduced, any 2FA process is introduced for Second Life will be opt-in by users.

In Brief

  • Details of the Premium Plus offering are unlikely to be made available until such time as Linden Lab is ready to make it available, and this will not be until some time after Name Changes has been deployed.
  • Recurring Events has seen good take-up among Premium users, and further updates are in development.
    • Adding the ability to include events in your personal on-line calendar (e.g. Outlook, Google, etc.), is currently targeted for a Q2 (April – June) or Q3 (July-September) deployment.
  • Password Reset Changes  – whenever a user changes their SL password, they will now get a full notification e-mail about the change.
  • The site defender used to protect Second Life web properties was updated during January 2020. A side benefit of this work is that various web pages from the Lab – notably those on the Marketplace – load faster. The Web Team estimate the performance gain to be at least 11%.
  • There is no date for when resident-to-resident Mainland land auctions will be returning. These were suspended in 2019 fulling the system being abused.
  • Linden Homes:
    • The “collection page” (the page seen when you have selected a Linden Home through the web and which provides the SLurl to the house) has been updated to obfuscate the personal e-mail address, which had been previously exposed in full. This is part of a on-going effort to prevent user’s personal data from being exposed in the event of someone else accessing their account.
    • The “next batch” (presumably a new type, given all current variations are now part of the weekly “rolling” deployments) of Linden Homes is being targeted for the end of Q1 (so late March), barring any unforeseen issues.
  • Windows 7 has been removed from the Second Life System Requirements page, following the official ending of support of that version of Windows by Microsoft on January 14th, 2020.
    • As I noted in Linden Lab announce end of support for Windows 7, users can still use systems running Windows 7 to access Second Life if they so choose, but will not receive any support from the Lab for issues directly related to that version of the OS.

Date of Next Meeting

The next Web User Group meeting will be on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, commencing at 14:00 SLT.

¹ Note that this example should not be taken to mean it is how any form of 2FA implemented by the Lab will be implemented; it is purely an easy-to-understand illustrative case. 

January 2020 Web User Group: Events, Name Changes & Marketplace

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract).

Recurring Events

Recurring Events launched on Monday, January 8th, allowing Premium members to set a recurring events in the Upcoming Events lists available via users dashboards at secondlife.com.

In brief:

  • Premium members will be charged L$10 for listing one-off events, or L$50 for filing an event that can recur up to 12 times (weekly or monthly).
    • Basic members are charged L$50 per event listing.
  • Recurring events are events that share the same location, time, duration, and description but occur on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Recurring events are largely set-up exactly the same was as individual events:
    • Go to your dashboard at secondlife.com and select Events from left side menu to open the Events listing page.
    • Click on Create A New Event directly below the top left calendar on the page, then read and accept the Event Posting Rules to display the new Event Creation page.
    • Complete all the fields on the page.
  • For Premium members only, the page now includes two new drop-down options:
    • Repeating – allows you to select whether the event is a one-off (No Repeat) or should repeat on a weekly or monthly basis.
    • Number of Repeats (only available when either Weekly or Monthly is set from the Repeating options) – allows you to select the number of times the event is to be repeated, to a maximum of 12 weeks or months (so for a single L$50 fee you can schedule a monthly event to recur on the events listing page for up to an entire year, or a weekly event for up to 3 months at a time).
The new Recurring Events drop downs (arrowed) for Premium Members only. Note that when either is set, the event fee (highlighted in red under the form) changes from L$10 (the cost for listing a non-recurring event filed by a Premium member) to L$50.
    • When selecting an event to repeat either weekly or monthly, the fee charged to your account (displayed at the bottom of the form) change from L$10 to L$50.

There are currently some minor adjustments required for monthly recurring events, as events recurring right at the end of a month may give some incorrect dates for months of different lengths. Such areas can be corrected manually, but updates to be deployed in the near future should correct the problem. In addition, LL will be monitoring the recurring events capability now it is live in order to identify and address any other issues that may arise now it is live.

Future Events Listings Work

Further improvements to events are planned (e.g. better searching for events), but these are dependent on other work being completed first.

This work may include things like being able to push events to your personal calendar (Google Calendar, Outlook, etc.).

Name Changes

  • No final confirmation on release date (although the hope has been for a mid-Q1 2020 release). The exact release time frame is dependent upon final checks on the capability being completed.
  • Even if delayed, Last Names will still be deployed before any release of the Premium Plus subscription package.
  • Over 2,000 entries have been received as a part of the (now closed) Last Names Contest, totalling some 6,000 last name suggestions in all, and LL have started going through them.
  • It is likely that when Name Changes is launched, users will be able to pick last names from a list of around 20-30.
  • One of the approaches being considered for changing the available last names is for:
    • Popular selections being removed from the list and replaced on reaching a certain number of people selecting them.
    • Having selections that appear “unpopular” (i.e. they are rarely / never selected) replaced if they fail to achieve a certain threshold of use over an (unspecified) period of time.

Marketplace

  • The new Marketplace limited quantities and demo items search filters options

    Marketplace search has been updated with options to exclude / include limited quantity items and / or demo items.

    • The check boxes for excluding (ticked) or including (unticked) such items can be found at the bottom of the Search Filters panel displayed on the left of Marketplace pages when either Search is used or See All Categories is clicked.
    • Both options can be found below the search by permissions options.
    • By default, both options are unchecked, so that searches will include either limited quantity or demo items in their results results.
  • Work is being put into performance improvements which, as Grumpity noted at the meeting, tend not to be noticed right up to the point where something goes wrong.
    • An example of this is the ability for merchants to search their invoices should be a lot faster following back-end updates.
  • There are still “quite a few” things the Lab have queued up to do in relation to Marketplace search, but no specific details are available as yet on what might surface when.

In Brief

  • This issue with Destination Guide submissions is believed to be resolved.

December 2019 Web User Group summary

© and ™ Linden Lab

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019. These meetings are held monthly, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and when included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, the audio comments will be concatenated into a single audio extract for that topic).

Premium

Winter Promotion

  • As many have already seen, the winter Premium promotion is currently open through until the end of the month.
  • For the first time, the promotion applies to Annual plans (previously, any discount on Premium subscriptions have only applied to Monthly and Quarterly plans), with an offer of 10% off of the cost of the annual subscription (normally US $99) when an account is upgraded to Premium.
  • It is likely that, as with the mid-year Premium fee increase, there will be an opportunity for Premium users to pre-pay a further year’s annual premium membership “locked in” at the discounted price.

Other Premium Notes

  • There is no further news on Premium Plus or its benefits.
  • There are no plans at this point to add other levels of Premium either “above” or “below” the current Premium + benefits. This might change at some point in the more distant future.

Legacy Profiles Viewer

  • The Legacy profiles viewer has cleared the last issue blocking it from update, so a new version of the viewer should be appearing soon. This update will include the profile feed embedded in the viewer.
  • Once this viewer reaches release status, the web profiles are to be retired.
  • The removal of the web-based profiles means that things like the privacy settings (which only worked for the web anyway), will no longer be available. However (and if I was understanding Grumpity correctly), at some point the profile viewer will include the ability for a user to determine what information within their viewer profile is visible to others who view it.

Marketplace

  • Store De-listings:
    • The Lab is work to fix the issue of Marketplace stores being de-listed as a result of using banned keywords.
    • It was re-iterated that, for a number of reasons – including people attempting to game it – the banned keyword list will not be made public.
    • Instead, the Lab has been working to make the algorithm used to scan for keywords is being made “smarter”, so it more correctly identifies banned words, which will hopefully reduce the number of unlistings occurring. There is still more work to be done on on this.
  • Improvements to the Marketplace search (demo items, gachas, etc), is now “very, very close” to being ready for release.
  • BUG-9984 “blank folder names” (in inventory) is another issue that has been looked into a number of times, but again, the Lab has been unable to determine the cause. However, they will give it a further pass in an attempt to find a cause or provide a workaround.
  • Feature requests BUG-227919 “Marketplace Sales Function” and BUG-227072 “Ability to give specific marketplace customers discounts” are both being considered by the Lab (but no commitment at this point in time that they will be implemented or when).
  • Overall, the Lab feel that the last 12-18 months have seen significant improvements to the Marketplace when compared to prior years.

In Brief

  • The last blocker for an update to the legacy profile project viewer has been cleared, and an update to the viewer, which will include support for the profile feed within it, should be surfaced for users to test Soon™.
  • As noted in my November summary, user-to-user land auctions will remain on hold for the time being, as the Lab is focused on other web-based work.
  • BUG-11555 “Setting certain characters in Display Name results in DN changing twice within minutes and resulting DN changes to Korean.” is a long-standing issue, and while it has been looked at, the Lab has yet to work out how to fix it.

November 2019 Web User Group: Premium Plus & Events

© and ™ Linden Lab

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019. These meetings are held monthly, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and when included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, the audio comments will be concatenated into a single audio extract for that topic).

Premium Plus

  • Premium Plus is now to be the official name for the upcoming new Premium subscription level, this having changed from “Elite” following feedback from users.
  • It will not be ready for deployment until after Name Changes has been deployed, and the Lab is currently aiming for “early 2020”.
  • Full benefits for Premium Plus subscriptions have not been disclosed, however it has been indicated that:
    • “A lot” of the current Premium benefits are going to be “even better” for Premium Plus.
    • There will also be benefits that are obviously exclusive to Premium Plus.
    • There will be Marketplace benefits available to merchants upgrading to Premium Plus – but again, what these are has not been disclosed.
  • Despite a rumour being dropped into a public meeting that the new subscription will be “three times” the current Premium subscription, no official word on the pricing for Premium Plus has been given, other than it will be available on a monthly or annual subscription basis (see: 2019 Web User Group week #40: Name Changes and new Premium option).

Events

  • The Second Life Events service is being overhauled.
  • The first pass of this work is to clean-up the service to prevent event spamming.
    • This will involve levying a fee for events to be listed.
    • The fee will be in Linden Dollars. However, it will not be “prohibitive”, but rather enough to “incentivise better event content”.
    • The fee will be lower for Premium accounts compared to Basic accounts.
  • The follow-on work will include providing the means for Premium account holders to set recurring events.
  • Beyond this, there is a much larger tranche of work to overhaul what events look like and the events functionality, which is targeted for an early 2020 deployment.

Marketplace

  • A range of fixes and general code clean-up.
  • New notifications options now available via Marketplace → Account → Notification Options.
    • The options displayed are split between Shopping and Merchant notifications, with the latter obviously only available to those actually selling through the Marketplace.
The new notifications (shown side-by-side for convenience). Note the Merchant options will only be displayed for those selling through the MP. Click for larger size, if required.
  • The Place Order button has been moved to the top of the advert listing page when ordering L$0 items, to make completing the order quicker.
  • Filters for removing demo and / or limited items / gachas from Marketplace searches are very close to being ready for deployment.
    • This work is part of an overall refactoring of the Marketplace search that will continue to see incremental changes and improvements to the search functionality.

In Brief

User-to-User Land Auctions

  • User-to-user land auctions have been suspended due to instances of “abuse” (no specifics provided) that require the Lab to make changes to the system.
  • There is no indication as to when user-to-user auctions will be re-opened, as the Lab has to consider how best to change the system to prevent similar misuse in the future.

Other Notes

  • There has been a general clean-up of the secondlife.com pages.
    • For example: the Account → Contact page has been removed from users’ dashboards as it provided redundant information (your own user name and e-mail address) – this does not impact the Change Password option.
  • Recent general work on all SL web properties has included updating the servers to a new operating system and installing a new site defender that can respond faster to attacks.
  • Release notes for updates to the web services (similar to those for simulator and viewer release notes) are in the works, and could be ready for deploy before year-end.
  • The official viewer log-in splash screen now includes a section for the SL Blogger Network, as well as now displaying the current Second Life time.

October 2019 Web User Group: Name Changes and new Premium option

© and ™ Linden Lab

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019. These meetings are held monthly. Dates and details of the meetings can be obtained through the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • The topics below are ordered in their likely interest to users / depth of discussion at the meeting, with some comments drawn together from different points in the meeting. This is not intended as a chronological set of meeting notes.
  • Audio extracts are taken from my recording of the meeting, but have again been grouped by topic. In addition, the audio relating to Premium and “Elite” subscriptions may sound fractured tin tone, as it is a grouping of verbal replies to questions asked in local chat at the meeting.

Summary

The TL;DR summary (items expanded upon in the sections below):

  • On Monday, September 30th, the Lab issued a blog post update on the web team’s work, and this was referenced during the meeting (see also my coverage of the blog post – Lab blogs on the SL Web Team’s work, including “last names”). Similar blog posts will likely be released ahead of each monthly WUG meeting, to both remind users of the meeting and to act as an informal agenda.
  • Web services have been a major focus of transitioning Second Life services to the cloud.
  • Name Changes: are getting closer to release but are not imminent. The feature will be Premium only, fees have not been finalised.
  • Premium options: work is progressing with the new “super Premium” option, but this will not be ready until after Name Changes have been deployed. The new level is – at present – likely to be called “Elite”. It will cost more than the current Premium subscriptions.
  • Search is being worked on across all of the SL web properties, including the Marketplace – but no time frames as to when improvements might be deployed.

Cloud Transition

  • As noted in the Monday Sept. 30th blog post, many of the Lab’s web services have been transitioned to running on Amazon AWS cloud services.
  • Other services previously operated on a third-party basis have (and are) being moved in-house or decoupled to standalone status, in readiness to be transitioned to the cloud where possible.
  • All of this work has been achieved without any significant disruption to services or – more particularly – without users actually being aware the services had been moved.
  • Specific benefits of the moves made to date are:
    • Future changes, updates and responses to issues can be handled a lot faster.
    • Due to the nature of AWS services, LL have been able to achieve almost 100% up time in running those services that have been transitioned.

Name Changes

  • As previously noted, Name Changes involve users being able to select any first name, and a last name via a list.
  • The capability will be Premium only.
  • Name changes will be subject to fee (still TBA) per change.
    • The fee charged will be less for “Elite” accounts than for Premium (see below for more on “Elite” and Premium).
  • The rough window for deployment is between 1 and 3 months, with a margin of error of around two months.
    • There is still more work to be done on the back-end systems.
    • The actual viewer UI in which name changes are made has yet to be implemented.
  • As an aside (not mentioned in the meeting, but indicated elsewhere): new users signing-up to Second Life will still be given the default name of “Resident” – they will be able to change names should they upgrade to Premium, as with all Basic account users.

New Premium Subscription

  • The idea of having additional levels of Premium subscription was first publicly mentioned in detail in 2018. See:
  • Since that time, it has been decided to just have a single additional Premium level, sitting “above” the current Premium level.
    • However, the new system is being structured such that if there is a need / opportunity for further subscription levels, they can be added in the future.
  • Currently the proposed name for the new subscription level is “Elite” – but this may still change.
    • There will be clear differentiators between Premium and “Elite”, including, as noted above, a lower fee applied to “Elite” users when changing their name.
    • There will be no requirement for merchants to have to upgrade to “Elite”, although some of the benefits of “Elite” might apply to Merchants.
  • Subscription rates:
    • Premium subscription rates will not change.
    • “Elite” upgrades will be offered on a monthly / annual basis.
    • As per my article Lab opts to temporarily continue Quarterly Premium plan for new sign-ups, relating to the Premium subscription fee changes announced earlier in 2019:
      • Quarterly subscriptions will be discontinued for those upgrading to Premium / Elite when the latter is launched.
      • However, quarterly payments will continue to be honoured for users already on the Premium quarterly payment plan.
    • Fees for “Elite” to be revealed when launched, but obviously, they will be higher than the current Premium rates.
    • Premium members upgrading to “Elite” will pay the difference between their current Premium fee and the “Elite” fee to which they decide to upgrade, and there may be a prorate option for qualifying users when upgrading.
  • “Elite” subscriptions will not be ready for introduction until at least a month after the deployment of Name Changes.

Profile Changes

  • The discontinuing of web profiles was first publicly raised in February 2019 (see: 2019 SL User Groups 7/3: TPV Developer Meeting), when it was indicated profile information would be moving back into the viewer.
  • One of the reasons for this change appears to be related to the transitioning services to the cloud as much as with the pain of provisioning the web-based profiles.
  • An initial Legacy Profile project viewer appeared in June (see: SL Legacy Profiles project viewer).
  • The Legacy Profile viewer will be updated over time, with one of the updates to come being a new tab to profile feeds, allowing users to see people’s feed updates through the viewer.
    • TPVs will still be able to use the option to point to profile feeds on the web, if they prefer.
  • It is hoped that the Legacy Profiles viewer will move to release candidate status Soon™ and promoted to release status “really soon after that”.
The new Legacy Profiles Project viewer replaces the current web-based profile panel (left), with an “old-style” profile floater panel (right)

In Brief

Web Services Release Notes

  • The web team is working “really hard” to implement formal release notes for updates to the various SL web services.
  • These will likely be in a similar format to the revamped server and viewer release notes, which can be reached via the recently implemented web-based Release Notes home page.
  • There is currently no date as to when this will be surfaced, but there are “a couple” web engineers working on this (when not working on more user-facing projects).

Marketplace, Search, Events

  • In-world purchase notifications for store owners:
    • As per my article on this, this system will be opt-in, initially on an entire store basis. It might be extended to individual items in the future, if feasible / if there is a demand for this.
    • The notification will provide details on item purchased, amount received and who made the purchase.
When released, the in-world purchase notifications option will appear in a re-named settings page (e-mail notifications)
  • Work is proceeding on Marketplace improvements beyond those mentioned, but LL is not yet in a position to state what the next updates for deployment might be.
  • Search is being worked on right across the SL web properties. This is liable to see improved filtering of searches and (particularly useful for Marketplace searches) the use of exclusions.
  • Work is proceeding with the overhaul of the events system. This comprises short-term updates that are being carried out alongside a much larger, long-term project to completely overhaul the events system.

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