hippoGROUPS User Guide

Welcome to hippoGROUPS, a powerful people management and communication system that allows you to organise groups of people and easily send them messages (with inventory, too, if you wish). For example, using hippoGROUPS you could ...

  • Run an inworld newspaper, allowing users to sign up at kiosks across the Grid and sending them new issues with just a few mouse clicks.

  • Add customers who buy your products to a hippoGROUP so you can easily send them news and updates.

  • Keep simple track of people who rent from you if you’re a landlord.

There are literally hundreds of uses. And unlike inworld Second Life groups, avatars don’t need to be restricted to 25 hippoGROUPS nor get buried under endless group chatter. They can also do other useful things: e.g. read their messages online in a web browser as well as inworld. If you need to keep track of lots of people, or to regularly send messages to more than one person, hippoGROUPS is for you! Furthermore, hippoGROUPS integrates seamlessly with our other products — hippoVEND and hippoRENT — to make your job as a business owner so much easier.

hippoGROUPS is subscription-based, meaning once you’ve bought a starter pack you then pay a small fee to Hippo Technologies each month. You can quit at any point, roll over unused messages from one month to the next and take payment holidays (e.g. if you’re away for a few weeks, just stop paying us — we only delete data three months after somebody has stopped using hippoGROUPS). Or if you have a one-off marketing exercise to do, subscribe to the plan you need, send your messages, then let your subscription lapse. It’s flexible and easy!

The price for hippoGROUPS depends on what size user you are — we have four price plans ...

Price per 30 days
Maximum Groups
You May Create
Maximum Members (across all groups)
Maximum Messages You Can Send Per 30 Days

For details on how to add credit to your subscription, see below.

This document describes how to get started quickly with hippoGROUPS and then, in detail, each aspect of the system to enable you to get the full benefit from it. You can jump quickly to each section by using the links below:

1 Quick Start Guide
How to get going rapidly, set up your first hippoGROUP and send a message, complete with attachment.
2 The Server
A complete guide to the hippoGROUPS server (which holds inventory for attachments and does the actual message sending).
3 The Terminal
Full instructions on how to get the most from hippoGROUPS terminals, which provide a place for people to signup for your hippoGROUPS and browse group messages inworld.
4 The hippoGROUPS Website
A complete overview of the hippoGROUPS website:
5 Integrating hippoGROUPS with other Hippo Technologies Products
6 Using hippoGROUPS with XStreet SL (Beta)

1. Quick Start Guide

If this is the first web-enabled product from Hippo Technologies you own, begin by rezzing and touching the HippoTech Website Registration Pass that came with your hippoGROUPS product (then touch the carton again (step 1a below), to tell your newly created account your subscription type). This will register you with us and create a password, allowing you to login at

  1. Rez and touch the carton that you were given when you bought hippoGROUPS. Then wait until it confirms that your hippoGROUPS account has been created. (This is important — hippoGROUPS is subscription-based and the first time you rez and touch the carton, it will create an account for you and give you 36 days of credit).

  2. The carton will give you a folder full of hippoGROUPS items. If you haven’t used a Hippo Technologies web-enabled product before, your next step should be to rez and touch the “HippoTech Website Registration Device”. This will chat (securely) to you a password which, along with your Second Life name, you can use to login at (You can, if you wish, change this password later on — but never use your Second Life password for our or any third party website!)

  3. In your hippoGROUPS folder in your inventory, find the “hippoGROUPS Server” and rez it somewhere permanent (e.g. your home land parcel). The server is used to send messages and inventory, so it is important to keep it rezzed. Right-click the server and choose "Edit" (and then "More>>>" if the build dialog box is not fully expanded).
  4. Click on the tab in the build dialog box labelled "Contents" and double-click the notecard called "_config" to edit it.

  5. Give the server a name of your choice and a new password (this can be the same as your website password, or a different one; you'll never be asked for it again --- it simply protects communications between the vendors and the server). So, for example, SERVER NAME: My First hippoGROUPS Server and PASSWORD: verytopsecret.). Then close and save the "_config" notecard.

  6. If you want to send attachments with messages, drag some items from your inventory window to the server’s contents list. Once that’s done, close the build dialog window.

  7. Now click on the server and choose "Reset" from the menu that appears: this will reload the “_config” notecard and apply the changes you made. Click the server again and choose "Go Online" to register it with the Hippo Technologies database. (If you added inventory in the step above, click it a final time and choose “Load Inv” to load details of each inventory item to the website).

  8. Now your server is ready, we can set up a hippoGROUP and try sending a message. Begin by going to and logging in using your Second Life name and the password from step 1b above. You will see a large hippoGROUPS icon with a number of options under it. Click on the icon and you’ll find yourself on the Groups page (more info on this below).

  9. Enter a name for your hippoGROUP next to “Create a new group named ...” (e.g. ‘My First Group’) and click OK. Your new group will appear in the group list. Click on its name to move to the Members page and then click on the button. For now, just enter your own name into the form that appears and click OK. Your group should now update and show that it has one member.

  10. Finally, to send a message, click on the “Messages” link, at the top of the page, under the big “hippoGROUPS” title. Then click on the “Create a New Message” link and provide a subject and some text for your message. (If you loaded inventory in step 1f above, you can pick it from the drop down menu next to the “Attachment” label). Ignore the other options for now and hit OK and then hit YES on the next screen to confirm your message. Provided your server was correctly set up in steps 1c-1g above, you will shortly receive the message inworld.

Well done, that’s the end of the quick start guide. To learn ...

  • More about the server
  • What terminals are and how they work
  • How to use all the website options

... read on!

2. The Server

The hippoGROUPS server is the device that, inworld, handles sending instant messages (and giving objects) when you send a message to one of your hippoGROUPS. You can control aspects of its operation by editing the “_config” notecard that resides inside it, by using the menu commands accessible by clicking it, or by working with it on the hippoGROUPS website (this will be covered in the section of this document dealing with the website).

The Server’s Configuration Notecard

In section 1c above you have already encountered the server’s “_config” notecard and used it to name the server and assign the password. If you look at that notecard again, you’ll see some other options that you can set. An option is set by changing the settings that comes after the capitalised command word. Here are details of each settings you can control:

e.g. SHOW NAME: Yes
- If set to “Yes”, the name of the server will appear in hovertext over it.

- If set to “Yes”, the server’s status (online or offline) will appear in hovertext over it.

HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <Name or colour vector>
- Specifies what colour to use for the hovertext above the server. The colour names known are black, white, red, green, yellow, blue and pink. You may also use a vector if you’re clever and know how to do that; e.g. HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <0.5, 0.4, 0.3>.

e.g. VERBOSE: Yes
- If set to “Yes”, the server will chat details of any items it loads to the website when you use the “Load Inv” menu command.

MESSAGE DELAY: <time in seconds> (Version 1.11 servers and higher only)
- Sets the time (in seconds) a server waits between sending each message. If you are sending very large numbers of messages at one go, you may sometimes run into the Second Life threshold that prevents an object sending too many instant messages too quickly. You can use this setting to increase the time a server waits between messages to solve this problem. Usually 5 seconds should be ample.

Remember: once you’ve made any changes to the server’s “_config” notecard, close and save the card, then click the server and choose “Reset” from the menu.

The Server’s Menu

If you click the server, you’ll get a Second Life menu, like this one:

(If the server is offline at the time, the menu will be ever-so-slightly different). Here are details of each command that appears in a menu and what it does.

Go Offline Turns the server offline.
Go Online Turns the server online, ready to send messages.
Load Inv Loads details of any inventory items you’ve added (e.g. notecards, landmarks etc.) to the hippoGROUPS website, so you can use them as attachments in messages.
Unregister If you wish to de-rez (delete inworld) a server, use this command first; it removes the server (and its inventory) from the list on the hippoGROUPS website.
Send Now Instructs the server to check for any messages that need sending now. (When you send a message from the website, it is normally sent instantly; however, it can be queued and can take up to 15 minutes to be sent if Second Life is being slow). Using this command forces the server to check for and send messages instantly.
Status Reports the status of the server (online/offline, free memory etc.)
Tools Opens up the tools sub-menu, where you can copy inventory from one server to another you own if you wish. (Use the “Copy Inv” option on the sending server first, then “Rec Inv” on the receiving server).
Reset Resets the server. Use this if you’ve edited its “_config” notecard to load and apply those changes.
Website Directs you to the Hippo Technologies website.
Help Gives you these instructions in Second Life notecard form.

3. The Terminal

A hippoGROUPS terminal offers two very useful functions. First, it can act as a sign up point, allowing people to click it and join the hippoGROUP it is connected to. Second, existing group members can click it to read previous group messages, redeliver message attachments and leave the group if they wish.

Getting Started Quickly

To get started quickly, simply rez a hippoGROUPS terminal and click it then choose “Go Online”. Now visit the hippoGROUPS part of the Hippo Technologies website and go to the “Terminals” page. Find your new terminal in the list and click the icon next to it. Edit any settings (e.g. the group the terminal should sign people up to) then click OK. Finally click the icon to update the terminal inworld. Full details of configuring terminals online can be found below.

For those who want more detail, there are two further ways to control your terminal — you can use the menu commands, or you can edit the “_config” card inside it (which contains one advanced setting).

Terminal Menu Commands

Like the server, if you click a hippoGROUPS terminal it will offer you a menu. Each menu command is described below (note: the menu changes slightly depending if the terminal is online or offline).

Go Offline Turns the terminal offline so it cannot be used.
Go Online Turns the terminal online (and registers it with the website), ready for use.
Reset Resets the terminal. Use this if you’ve edited its “_config” notecard to load and apply those changes.
Unregister If you wish to de-rez (delete inworld) a terminal, use this command first: it removes the terminal from the list on the hippoGROUPS website.
Test Me Makes the terminal behave as if an unknown avatar (e.g. not you, the owner) had touched it. You’ll be invited to join the hippoGROUP it’s connected to (if any) or, if a member, offered a list of the most recent messages. (More on how this works below).
Voice Cmd As well as configure how the vendor behaves using the website, you can use this menu command and then type a voice configuration command. Here are the commands you can choose from ...

GROUP: <hippoGROUP Name>
e.g. GROUP: My Newspaper Subscribers
- Tells the terminal to subscribe people to this group.

CAN JOIN: <Yes/No>
e.g. CAN JOIN: Yes
- Determines if people can use this terminal to join members the group.

e.g. CAN BROWSE: Yes
- Determines if group members can browse old messages from this terminal.

IM ON JOIN: <Yes/No>
e.g. IM ON JOIN: Yes
- Should the terminal send you an instant message whenever somebody joins a hippoGROUP from here?

WELCOME MESSAGE: hippogroups.php <Text>
e.g. WELCOME MESSAGE: Welcome to my group!
- Changes the welcome message.

e.g. HOVERTEXT: Click me to join!
- Changes the text displayed over the terminal.

HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <colour name>
- Changes the colour used for any hovertext

Important note: after any such changes — if the terminal is online — take it offline and back on again. (It’s when a terminal is turned online that it refreshes its configuration).

Status Reports the terminal’s status — online or offline, free memory and what hippoGROUP, if any, it is signing people up to.
Configure Directs you to the Hippo Technologies website where you can fully configure the terminal
Help Gives you these instructions in Second Life notecard form.

Terminal Configuration Notecard (Advanced Users Only)

Like the server, there is a notecard called “_config” residing inside the terminal. It has one setting — DISPLAY FACE: <face or list separated by commas>. If you want to make your own terminal design, you can use this to tell the terminal which face (of the root prim) should have the online/offline texture applied to it. As we say ... only advanced users/builders will need to worry about this.

How Do Other Avatars Use the Terminal?

Once you have a terminal rezzed, online and connected to a hippoGROUP, avatars can simply click it. If it’s set to allow signups and if they’re not members of the hippoGROUP you have connected it to, they’ll see a menu like this one:

Provided they click “Yes”, they’ll be added to the hippoGROUP. (And provided you haven’t reached the maximum number of group members, in which case you may need to upgrade your account).

If, on the other hand, they are already members of the group, they’ll instead get a menu like this one ...

Using it, they can either choose to leave your hippoGROUP, or to view previous messages (provided you’ve set the terminal to allow browsing of old messages). The first option will lead to a further menu, like this ...

They can use the “<< Previous” and “Next >>buttons to scroll through up to the last 16 messages you sent to this hippoGROUP (in date order) and click “Read This” to read a message’s full text.

4. The hippoGROUPS Website

The hippoGROUPS website can be accessed by visiting, logging in (if you don’t have a website account, how to create one is described above) and then clicking on the large hippoGROUPS icon. Each section of the hippoGROUPS website can be accessed by clicking on the link at the top of the page, under the large “hippoGROUPS” label — and each section will now be described in detail.

4.1 Creating and Managing Groups

The “Groups” website page allows you to create, edit and delete hippoGROUPS ...

  • You can sort your group list by any column; simply use the arrows at the top of the column you wish to sort by.

  • To create a new group, simply enter its name at the bottom of the page in the space next to “Create a new group called ... ” and click OK.

  • As well as a name, a group can also have a description (for your reference) and can be set, if you’re a hippoVEND user, to allow members to get redeliveries of a product in conjunction with a hippoVEND Redelivery Terminal). To set up these additional options, click the icon to the right of the name of the group you want to edit.

  • To delete a group, click the icon on its row. You can also delete multiple groups by ticking the little selection box at the far right for each group you want to remove (), then clicking the button.

  • To filter the list by group name (e.g. to show every group whose name contains “Customers”), click the button, enter the search text and hit OK.

  • To jump to the member list page and add a new member, hit the group’s icon.

  • To create a new message to the group from here, click the icon for the group.

  • To view group members, either click the group’s name or the member count to jump to the “Group Members” page for that group.

4.2 Organizing Group Members

The “Group Members” website page allows you to see the members of each group, add or delete people and see details of how they joined ...

  • To change the group being examined, pick it from the drop down menu and click “Go".

  • The members page shows 50 members at a time; if your group is bigger than this, use the page navigator at the top right of the table to move through the names.

  • You can sort a list of members by any column: simply use the arrows at the top of the column you wish to sort.

  • You can filter the list of members ...

    • By member name (e.g. to show every member whose name contains “Linden”)
    • By when they joined or were added to the hippoGROUP
    • By how they joined (e.g. everybody who joined through a terminal)
    • By status in the group (so you could show just managers, for example)

    Simply click the button, enter some criteria and hit OK.

    • To send a message to the group, click the icon that appears after the total group members display, like this ...

      If you’ve filtered the list of members, the message you create will only be sent to the selection. You can check who the message will be created to by holding your mouse pointer over the icon until a tooltip appears, like this ...

    • To add somebody to the group, click the button at the bottom of the screen and enter their name in the form that appears. Provided we know their Second Life key, they’ll be added — otherwise you can add their key manually. (Be careful to get it right: wrong keys can cause your server to have problems when you try and send messages). You can add multiple names at once by separating them with commas (e.g. Michael Flanders, Donald Swann, Victor Borge) ... up to 100 names may be added at once this way.

      Polite Notice Please don’t use hippoGROUPS to spam innocent people with pointless advertising. First, if you do and we get complaints, we reserve the right to remove your ability to manuallly add people. Second, it will lead to people simply blocking you from adding them to groups, using the block tool, which long term only hurts your ability to communicate.

      Incidentally, if somebody’s key cannot be found, ask them to go to the main Hippo Technologies Store and touch the landmark giver by the entrance; it will record their name and key ...

    • To delete a member, click the icon on his or her row. You can also delete multiple members by ticking the little selection box for each person you want to remove (), then clicking the button.

    • There are also three special functions you can perform, either with the entire group, or with just the current selection if you’re using a filter. At the bottom of the list of members, you’ll see three buttons, like these ...

      By clicking one of them, you can ...

      • Copy the current set of members to another group. You’ll be asked to pick the group you wish to copy people into. Please note that hippoGROUPS does a duplicate check, so if copying, say, 100 people from group A to group B and 2 of those are in group B already, only 98 would end up being added.

      • Export the current set of members to CSV format. A new web page will open with a list of names and Second Life keys. This page will be in plain text, so you can easily save it locally to your hard drive and then, for example, import it into Microsoft Excel. Please note, if you’ve filtered the list of members, only those currently found will be exported. This is a good way to keep a backup of your group members, in case of any accidents.

      • Purge the current set of members, causing them to be removed permanently from the group. You’ll be asked twice to confirm what you’re doing. Be careful, because this can’t be undone (short of manually adding every member you just purged!) So take special care with this function!

    • If the member was added to the group by using a terminal, or through a link with a hippoVEND product or hippoRENT tenancy, you may see a icon for them. Click this to jump to the details of that terminal, product, or rental box.
    • Finally, you can grant somebody manager rights in the group by clicking the star icon — if they have manager rights already, it will be illuminated () if not, light grey (). There are six permissions you can grant to somebody in a group:

      Can browse members The manager can browse the list of group members.
      Can add people They can not only browse, but can also add new members.
      Can delete people They can not only browse, but can also delete people from the member list.
      Can send messages They can send a message to the group, including adding any inventory item as an attachment from any of your hippoGROUPS servers. This will be deducted from your account credit of messages.
      Can edit messages They can edit a previously sent message (either one sent by them, another manager, or by you).
      Can delete messages They can delete a message from the group message history.

      As you can see, some of these are quite powerful permissions, so choose your managers wisely — people that you trust! Once you’ve granted permissions, a manager will login via the group member website portal (see below for how to do this) and new options will be available to them for the group in question.

      Important Tip: Permissions are per person, per group. So if Burt Bacharach is a member of three of your groups and you’d like him to enjoy manager rights in all three, add him separately as a manager to each group.

    4.3 Creating and Sending Messages

    The “Members” website page allows you to send messages to a hippoGROUP — and view (or delete or edit) previous messages that you have sent ...

    • To change the group being examined, pick it from the drop down menu and click “Go".

    • You can sort your message list by any column; simply use the arrows at the top of the column you wish to sort.

    • To filter the list by message subject or text, click the button, enter the search text and hit OK.

    • To delete a message, click the icon on its row. You can also delete multiple messages by ticking the little selection box for each message you want to remove (), then clicking the button.

    • To copy a message’s details to use in a new message, click the icon.

    • To create a new message to a group, hit the “New Message” link or button. The New Message screen will appear ...

      Enter the details for your message, then hit OK (you’ll be asked to confirm before the message is sent. For each person that your message goes to, your message allowance (see the Account section below) will be deducted by one.)

      • The From field is who the instant message sent inworld will appear to be from (do remember that IMs from objects appear in the Second Life Chat window).

      • The Subject field is a subject to identify your message. It can be helpful to members browsing messages using a terminal or a web browser, since they’ll see the date and subject before choosing if to read the whole message.

      • The Text field is where you can enter the body of your message. You can do simply mail merge operations here: the text <NAME> will be replaced by the name of the recipient when the message is sent and the text <GROUP> by the name of the group.

      • If you have some inventory in a server you can add an attachment to the message. Simply pick the inventory item from the drop down menu.

      • If adding inventory, you can decide if members can redeliver this themselves (using a terminal or the member website).

      • Finally, if you tick “Save Message But Don’t Send It”, your message will be added to the group’s message history but not sent inworld — and therefore not depleting your monthly message allowance. It can still be read by users using a terminal, for example.

    • Once you hit OK and confirm the message then, providing a server is online (and has the inventory, if using an attachment), then in Second Life your message will shortly be delivered. While this is happening, you may see some information like this on the messages web page ...

      ... you can abort whatever is left of the message sending by hitting the icon.
    EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NOTE! Instant messages sent by objects (like a hippoGROUPS server) appear in Second Life’s chat window — not the instant message window. And remember: if the recipient is in busy mode, the message will be blocked and any inventory attached to it won’t be received. This is why terminals are so useful, as they allow group members to catch up on messages they have may have missed for reasons like this.
    • To edit a message, click its icon. If it has not been sent (or is being sent) then the changes you make will apply to any copies of it sent; otherwise you’ll only effect the record in the message history.

    4.4 Managing your Servers and Inventory

    The “Servers and Inventory” page allows you to interact with and control your hippoGROUPS servers rezzed inworld. There are a few functions you can carry out from here ...

    • The page shows servers at the top and any inventory below. To examine the inventory in just one server, click its name in the list; to show the inventory from every server, click the “All My Servers” link.

    • To delete a server from the list, click its icon. (This won’t remove it inworld, but will turn it offline).

    • To find a server in Second Life, click its location to focus the Second Life map (provided Second Life is running) on that location.

    • To turn a server offline or online, click its status indicator. (e.g. If it is listed as “Online”, click the “Online” text to toggle it to offline).

    • To request a server reload its list of inventory, use the icon.

    • To ask a server to send any messages that it can immediately, click the icon.

    • To manually deliver an item of inventory, click the icon next to the inventory item, enter the name of the recipient and click .

    4.5 Configuring Terminals

    The “Terminals” page allows you to list, control and set up any terminals you are using inworld ...

    • To find a terminal in Second Life, click its location to focus the Second Life map (provided Second Life is running) on that location.

    • To delete a terminal from the list, click its icon. (This won’t remove it inworld). You may also select multiple terminals and use the to remove them.

    • To force a terminal to reload its configuration, use the icon. (It will only be bold like this if the terminal needs its configuration downloading (perhaps because you have changed it), otherwise it will be a very light grey. You can instruct multiple terminals to update by ticking them and clicking the button.

    • To turn a terminal offline or online, click its status indicator. (e.g. If it is listed as “Online”, click the “Online” text to toggle it to offline). You can also tick multiple servers and use the or button to turn them all offline or online.

    • Terminals contact the website with their status two or three times a day. If for some reason a terminal goes out of contact (e.g. it gets deleted in Second Life), you may see a icon next to its name. In such a case, it is worth visiting its location in Second Life to check all is well.

    • To configure a terminal, click its icon. Then make any changes and click OK. You’ll then need to either hit the icon to force the terminal to update, or inworld turn it offline and online again to apply your changes. You can configure the following settings for a terminal ...

      • You can specify which hippoGROUP a terminal is connected to. This the group it can sign people who click it up to and whose messages members can read from the terminal.

      • You may decide whether people can join the hippoGROUP from this terminal and/or whether they can browse previous messages from here.

      • You can supply a welcome message used to greet new members. Like general messages to a group, you can use mail merge tags (<NAME> and <GROUP> to be replaced by the avatar name and the group name) if you wish to do so.

      • You can choose to give an inventory item when somebody joins the group from this terminal.

      • You can set the terminal name (the terminal object will rename itself to this).

      • You can supply any hovertext to show over the terminal when it is online. (If this field is left blank, then the terminal will also show no text at all when offline).

      • The hovertext colour can be chosen.

      • You can pick an offline texture to apply to the terminal (to use this, you must have uploaded some textures on one of your hippoGROUPS servers). Otherwise the terminal will use the default hippoGROUPS offline texture.

      • Similarly, you can pick an online texture.

      • You can choose to receive an instant message when somebody joins your group from this terminal.

      • If you’ve organised your terminals into collections (see below), you can pick the collection this terminal belongs to from the drop down menu.

    • You can configure multiple terminals at once by ticking the terminals you wish to configure, then hitting the button. As you change settings, they will be highlighted in yellow and changes made will be copied to every terminal you selected.

    • Finally, you can group terminals into collections for easier organisation. Just supply a collection name in the field at the top of the page and hit enter; you can then pick that collection when configuring a terminal. To show just the terminals in a collection, click the collection name in the list of terminals. You can rename a collection by clicking its icon or delete it with the icon.

    4.6 Managing Your Account Settings

    The final section of the hippoGROUPS website allows you to check your account settings and, if you wish, change your plan. To add credit to your account, rez, click and pay the hippoGROUPS Payment Device that came with your hippoGROUPS product.

    The “Account” website page lists ...

    • Which plan type you are on. You can see what the different plans types are at the top of this page.

    • When your subscription expires (at 23:59:59 GMT that day).

    • The maximum number of hippoGROUPS your plan allows you to create (and what you’ve used so far).

    • The total number of members you are permitted across all groups.

    • The messsages per 30 days your plan allows and, importantly, how many you have left. Remember, each time you send a message to one person, that counts as a message. So if you have a group of 1,000 people and sent them three messages, that will deduct 3,000 messages from your total balance.

    To change the plan you are on, click “Change My Plan” and then pick the new plan you want . Your account limits will be adjusted pro-rata: so for example, if you pick a plan doubling the number of groups you can have, your free time left (e.g. days until your subscription expires) will halve. You’ll be shown what the changes would look like before you confirm.

    To add subscription time to your account, simply follow these steps:

    1. Rez your “hippoGROUPS Payment Device” inworld.
    2. Grant it debit permissions.
    3. Click it and wait until it reports your account details.
    4. Pay it for the number of months (a month = 30 days) you wish to add.
    5. Wait for it to confirm the changes.

    4.7 Enabling Group Members to Read Previous Messages with a Web Browser

    A very useful feature of hippoGROUPS is its ability to allow group members to read their messages (and leave a group) simply using their web browse. To this, they’ll first require a password, which be be obtained by visiting our main store and clicking on one of the hippoGROUPS Password Creator panels that can be found on the balcony outside. They look like this:

    Once somebody has their password, they can visit and login using their Second Life name and the password. Once logged in they can ...

    • See a list of every hippoGROUP they are members of (and who owns it)

    • Read previous messages

    • Redeliver attachments if this was allowed when a message was created

    • Leave a group

    • Block people from adding them to hippoGROUPS (useful to protect customers against any naughty people trying to use hippoGROUPS to send spam)

    • Change their password to something more meaningful

    • If you have granted somebody the necessary manager rights in a group, then depending what permissions you’ve set they may also be able to ...

      • View the group member list by clicking the “Browse Members” link for a group.

      • Add a member to a group by clicking the “Add New Member” button at the bottom of the member list.

      • Delete a member by clicking the icon in the member list.

      • Send a message to a group by hitting the “New Message” button at the bottom of the message history list (available by following the “Read Messages” link for a group). They’ll complete a form identical to the one you use for sending messages.

      • Or create a message by copying an earlier one, using the icon.

      • Edit a message by clicking its icon.

      • Delete a message by clicking its icon.

    5. Integrating hippoGROUPS with other Hippo Technologies Products

    If you’re a user of our hippoVEND Web-Enabled Vending System and/or the web-enabled version of our hippoRENT Rental System, you’ll be excited to know that hippoGROUPS integrates powerfully with both of these pieces of software.

    5.1 Using hippoGROUPS with hippoVEND

    Once you’ve created a hippoGROUPS account, you’ll be able to add customers who purchase items through your hippoVEND vendors in one of two ways ...

    • Select a group of sales in your hippoVEND sales log by applying any filter. For example, select every sale in March using the filtering tool. At the bottom of the sales log page, you’ll then see something like this ...

      ... pick the group you want from the drop-down menu and hit the “Go” button. Each unique person who bought a product (if it was bought as a gift, the recipient, not the purchaser will be used) will be added to the group you chose.

    • Second, you can have purchases of a product add somebody to a hippoGROUP. If you edit a product definition you’ll see a new section to the product definition page ...

      Simply pick the group you want. Any future sale of the product will see the customer get added to the hippoGROUP you chose.

    There are two other useful ways to use hippoGROUPS with hippoVEND ...

    • Third, when defining a catalogue profile for your redistributable catalogue vendors, you’ll see a new section to the configuration page, allowing you to automatically anybody who rezzes one of your catalogue vendors connected to this profile to the hippoGROUP of your choice ...

    • Fourth, as already described above, if you edit a hippoGROUP’s basic settings, you can configure it so that members can get redeliveries of a product in conjunction with a hippoVEND Redelivery Terminal).

    5.2 Using hippoGROUPS with (Web-Enabled) hippoRENT Boxes

    Once you’ve created a hippoGROUPS account, you’ll be able to add tenants who rent at one of your rental boxes in one of two ways ...

    • Select a group of payments in your hippoRENT payment log by applying any filter. For example, select every payment in one particular sim using the filtering tool. At the bottom of the payment log page, you’ll then see something like this ...

      ... pick the hippoGROUP you want from the drop-down menu and hit the “Go” button. Each unique tenant in the list of payments will be added to the hippoGROUP you chose.

    • It is also possible to ensure that every tenant renting at a given rental box gets added to a hippoGROUP of your choice (and any partner of their’s, too). To do this, use the new section you will see in the rental box configuration web page ...

      As you can see, you can also specify whether or not tenants and partners should be also removed from the hippoGROUP when they stop renting. (If you choose this option, then hippoGROUPS is smart enough to check that the tenant is not also renting another box tied to the same hippoGROUP before removing them).

    5.3 Using hippoGROUPS with hippoVISIT

    If you use our hippoVISIT vistor tracking system, you can instruct a sensor unit to add every unique visitor to a hippoGROUP. Simply ensure you’re using v1.5.1 of hippoVISIT or higher (if not, use one of the updater machines on the top floor of our main store to get a free upgrade). Then insert this command into a sensor’s configuration notecard ...

    ADD TO HIPPOGROUP: <name of hippoGROUP
    e.g. ADD TO HIPPOGROUP: My Visitors

    Save the notecard and reset the sensor to apply the changes. Every unique visitor will now be added to the hippoGROUP you specified.

    5.4 Using hippoGROUPS with hippoIMAGE

    If you use our hippoIMAGE Texture Browser and are using it to sell textures, you can set it so that every texture purchaser is added to a hippoGROUP of your choice. Simply ensure you’re using v1.5 of hippoIMAGE or higher (if not, use one of the updater machines on the top floor of our main store to get a free upgrade). Then insert this command into your hippoIMAGE browser’s configuration notecard ...

    e.g. ADD PURCHASERS TO HIPPOGROUP: Texture Customers

    Save the notecard and reset the hippoIMAGE browser to apply the changes. Every texture purchaser will now be added to the hippoGROUP you specified.

    6. Using hippoGROUPS with XStreet SL (Beta)

    If you sell products using the XStreet SL virtual shopping website, you can now automatically add anybody who purchases one of your items there to a hippoGROUP of your choice. Please note that this is facility is currently a beta plugin, so functionality may change over time. However, for now, to implement this, simply carry out the following steps ...

    • Check your hippoGROUPS folder in your inventory to see if it contains a script called XSL_GROUPS PLUGIN. If not, you’ll need to begin by visiting the Hippo Technologies Store and getting the latest copy of hippoGROUPS using one of the updater machines on the top floor. Use the arrow buttons on the front of the updater machine to select ‘hippoGROUPS’, then click the big, red “Get Update” button.

    • In order to add people to a hippoGROUP when they buy a product., you’ll need to add a configuration notecard and a script to the XStreet SL “Magic Box” that delivers the product in question. If you have more than one Magic Box, you’ll want to add them to each.

    • To add the notecard and the script ...

      • Right-click your Magic Box and choose “Edit”.

      • Then click the “Content” tab (you may need to click More >>> first).

      • Drag the notecard called "_XSL_GROUPS_config" from your inventory to the Magic Box’s contents list.

      • Drag the “.XSL_GROUPS PLUGIN” script from your inventory to the Magic Box’s contents list.

        If all is well, you’ll see something like this appear in Second Life chat ...

        Xstreet SL Magic Box v3.0.11: Magic Box hippoGROUPS Plugin Running: 40746 bytes free.

    • Now double-click on the "_XSL_GROUPS_config" notecard in the Magic Box’s contents list to open and edit it. You will see it contains two commands that you can work with. These are ...

      JOIN INFO: <text>

      ... this specifies the text that goes into a person’s “Join Info” field on the hippoGROUPS website when they’re added this way. You can use smart tags; so <PRODUCT> will be replaced by the name of the item delivered (note: the inventory item name, not the product name on the XStreet SL website, if they’re different) and <SALESID> by the XStreet SL sales id. So, for example, you might use ...

      JOIN INFO: Bought <PRODUCT> from XStreet SL - Sales ID <SALESID>

      Which might result in "Bought Chocolate Seesaw from XStreetSL - Sales ID 28845580" as the joining information.

      Then there is this command ...

      ADD TO GROUP: <group name>

      This specifies what hippoGROUP to add people too; e.g. ADD TO GROUP: My XStreet Sales

      If you wish to choose the hippoGROUP based on the product name, you can do that by adding a FILTER command to the end of the line ...

      e.g. ADD TO GROUP: Vehicle Users FILTER=car ... to add anybody who buys, for example a product called “Hovercar”, “Sport’s Car” or “Carry On Exercise Bike” to your hippoGROUP called “Vehicle Users”.

      You can have up to 50 of these add-to-group commands in one configuration card, allowing lots of options. Simply add each one on a new, blank notecard line. Note that the first rule which can be matched for a sale determines the hippoGROUP used; so for example ...

      ADD TO GROUP: Automata FILTER=robot
      ADD TO GROUP: Animal Lovers FILTER=penguin

      ... would cause anybody buying your “Robot Penguin” to be added to your “Automata” hippoGROUP.

      Once you have finished edited the notecard, close and save it. Then click your Magic Box. As well as the usual Magic Box menu, you’ll get this Plugin menu, with three commands ...

      • LOAD CONFIG — Resets the Plugin, reloads its configuration notecard and applies any options;

      • SETTINGS — Chats the “Add to Group” settings that are currently loaded for your reference;

      • TEST ME — You’ll be asked to type a product name and the Plugin script will respond with what hippoGROUP (based on the configuration notecard settings) any purchaser would be added to;

    • That’s all there is to it. Any delivery that comes via that Magic Box will trigger the plugin script and add the purchaser to a hippoGROUP.

    Some Important Things to Note ...

    Please note the following caveats (largely due to XStreet SL and the Magic Box being third-party websites and scripts over which we have no control!)

    • This Plugin is currently a beta version but has been fairly thoroughly tested, using Magic Box version 3.0.11. This means you may find that functionality changes over time. (We also reserve the right to withdraw it if, for example, XStreet SL change the way their sales notification system works).

    • Due to the way that XStreet SL supplies data to and from the Magic Box, there is a ten second or so delay in processing any people added this way; that means if you have a rush of sales through your Magic Box, a few purchasers may get missed and not added.

    • If the item is bought as a gift, the recipient (not the purchaser) will be added. (Please note that if you send one of your own products as a gift via the XStreet SL website, the recipient will not be added, due to the way XStreet SL handles these kind of deliveries).

    • You can, if you wish, add people who “buy” free products — they can be added in the same way as people who purchase regular-priced products.

    • A purchaser being added is contingent upon our name/key database sources knowing the recipient to whom it is delivered. If they are a very new avatar for example, they may be unknown and, then will not be added.

    • Occcasionally the XStreet SL data feed fails to work properly, so again, a purchaser may not get added if their system is functioning slowly or badly.

    • Finally, the Plugin doesn’t error check your group names, so please be careful. For example, the configuration command ADD TO GROUP: My Purchasers won’t work (and won’t report an error) if you don't actually have a hippoGROUP called “My Purchasers”!

    ... those caveats aside, the Plugin usually works very well; we hope you find it a useful addition to the hippoGROUPS tools.

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    Please note: hippoGROUPS is not a Second Life group inviter tool; hippoGROUPS are a separate entity to Second Life groups.