For several years, many Secondlife users have been using a sales system called Hippo-Vendor within the virtual world. This product was supplied by a virtual company called Hippo Tech.

This company also supplied other popular products such as Hippo-Rent to manage land rentals and Hippo-Update to offer product updates. All these products were based on an external server (MySQL + PHP) and depended strongly on it.

This feature has advantages and disadvantages. Among the advantages is that the configuration is centralized in a web application. This is much more convenient than editing text notes for each of the devices in the virtual world. Among the disadvantages the main one is the dependency of an external server. If this server stops working for any reason all the products that depend on it stop working.

Although there were other systems that competed with Hippo-Tech, this system was the de facto standard until another system with name CasperVend. appeared. This new system is much more efficient than Hippo-Vendor because it is based on http calls instead of sending emails and did not need to have as many scripts as the Hippo-Tech system. Also the Casper system is totally transactional, meaning that if something fails the buyer does not lose the money. Of course this new system also depends on an external server with all the advantages and disadvantages.

The reason why a system based on http requests is better than those based on emails is because the virtual worlds penalize the scripts for several seconds the sending of emails in order to prevent it from being used to send massive spam. Some developers used several repeated scripts that they used on a rotating basis in order to speed up communications. But this had the disadvantage that multiplying the number of scripts in a region impaired its performance.

CasperVend vendor. [Illustration 1: CasperVend vendor]

At the beginning of 2018 there was a problem with the hosting of Hippo-Tech and all the data was lost. Hippo Tech decided to discontinue products that work in a network due to a decrease in profits. Suddenly thousands of virtual stores had their sales systems down.

This more than a problem is in my opinion a temporary discomfort since it is easy to move to one of the other systems. In the following URL there is a comparison of features of different network sales systems although there are other systems that are not in the list.

Several deactivated automatic vendors in a store.. [Illustration 2: Several deactivated automatic vendors in a store..]

The biggest problem that caused the disruption of the servers was with the Hippo-Update system since replacing it requires manually sending an update to all buyers with a new update script. That is only possible if the merchant has been dedicated to manually maintain a list of buyers by periodically downloading the listing of SecondLife transactions.

Finally, it should be mentioned that Hippo-Vendor is not the first sales system that stopped working when its creator decided to close his business in Secondlife. Another system was AeonVox and more recently the E2V system. However, the old JEVN system continues to work although it stopped selling.