VMM and Test Deliveries

Now that Linden Lab has officially “migrated” everyone from the Direct Delivery method and forced the use of the new Viewer Managed Marketplace (VMM), there are some important changes you need to know about. Most importantly one of the primary safety features has been hobbled in a way you might not realize … until it’s too late.

Testing Your Product on SLM

Permissions_ExampleAs a Content Creator and Merchant, it is vitally important to protect your work and Intellectual Property (IP). Even though Linden Lab has made it an integral assertion of their new Terms of Service (TOS) that they own everything, you still need to exercise proper vigilance to assure your rights are protected. One of those activities is to “Test Deliver” a new product.

In the old version XStreet (way back in the dark ages), and even as recently as Direct Delivery from the SL Marketplace, the Test Delivery function sent a copy free of charge to your avatar. The new VMM method also provides this function, but with a change that is very important to understand.

Object Permissions

Object Permissions, and specifically “Next Owner Permissions”, are absolutely critical to protecting your creations. Not only can you ensure that no one will steal or redistribute your items without proper authorization, but getting the permissions right also assures your customers will be able to use the product as you intended. (For a very good article on setting permissions plus other details, please see “Merchant Resource: Preparing your products for sale. Permissions… and more” by Auryn Beorn.)

With Direct Delivery and prior, the Test Delivery function sent the entire product to you as though you had purchased it yourself. It also made sure to set the Object Permissions using the “Next Owner” settings. This meant that you could inspect and verify that anyone buying your products would receive it with the permissions set as they would be set for anyone else. But VMM breaks this, and breaks it in a dangerous way.

Owner Permissions

As it stands now, VMM delivers a product through Test Delivery with “Object Owner” permissions. This means you receive the product in the same state and with the same permissions as you have during its creation. In other words you do NOT see it as a customer would, you continue to see it (and its Permissions) in the same way as you always see it during creation. This is not good.

Sadly this is yet another oversight by the Commerce Dev Team that indicates they do not fully comprehend how Merchants and Creators use the Marketplace nor how we strive to provide products that are correct, functional and without error. During the development of Direct Delivery, they temporarily disabled (or more precisely did not implement because they did not think it useful) the Test Delivery function. After much griping they did finally provide the function. But once again they have shown they do not learn from past mistakes as they have again fumbled the implementation.

ASK and Make No Mistakes

The most common mistakes seen with anything developed by the Commerce Dev Team are those resulting from a lack of understanding with how people use Second Life and the SL Marketplace. It is my opinion that this is because none of them actually ARE Second Life Residents. Okay, so that’s not a total killer. But at least when they lack experience of a first-hand nature, at least they should ASK those of us that are Merchants and Residents how a feature or function should work. When they change the behavior of something, they need to explain to the community what the changes are and why they are being made.

But they never do … and that’s a shame.

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