In October 2014, I reported on the viewer-managed Marketplace (VMM) project, which the lab has been developing for several months.
The aim of the project is to enable merchants to manage the creation and management of Marketplace product listing through the viewer, bypassing the need to use the Merchant Outbox (and have copies of items stored on the Marketplace inventory servers) or using Magic Boxes.
VMM does this by adding a new Marketplace Listing panel to to viewer, of which more below.
On Friday, November 21st, the Lab announced that wider beta testing of VMM is now ready to start on Aditi (the Beta grid). and is inviting merchants to download a new VMM project viewer they can use to test creating and managing product listing through the viewer.
Alongside of the announcement, the Lab also made available:
If you are a merchant and wish to test the VMM functionality, you’ll need to download and install the project viewer, and use one of the following three test regions on Aditi: ACME D; ACME E and ACME F. Using the viewer anywhere else can generate error messages when first logging-in (designed to indicate VMM is not available, and which will not interfere with using the viewer for other activities).
If you’ve never logged-into Aditi, please refer to the instructions on how to do so on the beta grid wiki page.
You may also wish to be logged-in to the Aditi Marketplace place.
When testing VMM, remember that it is not intended to enable all Marketplace-related activities through the viewer. Rather, it is intended to allow merchants to create new Marketplace listings with inventory, associate inventory with an existing Marketplace listing, remove items from a listing and unlist goods entirely. All other Marketplace activities will still have to be carried out within the Marketplace itself.
Also note that at present there is a bug within the Aditi Marketplace that will cause purchases to fail. The Lab is working to address this, and it shouldn’t interfere with testing VMM to create and modify product listings.
The following notes are intended to get you started with the project viewer and beta testing, please refer to the Lab’s VMM FAQ for other pertinent information.
The Marketplace Listings Panel
An active Marketplace Listings panel showing the four tabs used to manage inventory
The heart of the viewer-managed Marketplace is the new new Marketplace Listing panel within the viewer. This will eventually replace the Merchant Outbox, although both are provided in the project viewer.
The Marketplace Listing panel allows a merchant to carry out a number of Marketplace tasks from within the viewer, such as: create a new product listing, modify a listing, change the items associated with a listing, etc.
It does this by enabling merchants to directly associate products in their inventory with product item listings on the Marketplace, eliminating the need to either upload copies of products to the Marketplace inventory servers via the Merchant Outbox or, in the case of limited stock No Copy items, having them stored in-world in a Magic Box. When a customer purchases an item listed via VMM, it is delivered to them directly from the Lab’s asset servers.
This does mean that care must be taken when handing product items in inventory in order to avoid occidentally deleting items associated with Marketplace listings. To help with this, the folder associated with the Marketplace Listing panel remain hidden from view (as far as is possible) when working directly in the inventory .
The first time you open the Marketplace Listing panel, it may display the following message:
This feature is currently in beta. Please add you name to this Google form if you would like to participate
Should this happen, click on the link to go to the Google form and enter your merchant name (or names). When you relog with the project viewer (and assuming you are in one of the VMM test regions) the Marketplace listing panel will be good to go – see my overview later in this article).