When you work with other people there are subtle, yet crucial differences between split profits and partnering. Here are the basic ideas…
First, whoever owns the vendor object gets 100% of the customer’s payment when that object is purchased. This is just how SL works, and has nothing to do with any vendor system. When someone pays money to an object you own, you get the money.
But, think about what else this means. If you own the vendor object, that means you also own the entire product itself. That’s because you can’t put something into your Inventory Server that you don’t own. So this means that even if someone helped you create all or part of your product, they would have given it to you at least with copy/transfer permissions, making you the final owner of the product.
The term “split” is really a bit of a misnomer. “Split” implies that you get part of the money coming in, but part of it is somehow diverted to someone else. This isn’t the case! You get 100% of the money. If you want someone else to also make money from this sale, then you have to pay them from your account. The split feature of a vendor system is intended to do this automatically for you, based on who you tell it to pay, and how much. As the sale is recorded, the system simply pays the split target the amount you specify, taking it from your account. That’s why splits require debit permissions.
Now, what if the person you’re working with doesn’t want to give you the item with copy/transfer perms, and wants to retain full ownership of the item they create, even though it’s selling in your store? You cannot place this item in your Inventory Server, and thus you cannot sell this item from a vendor object you own.
The owner of the item has to sell this item from their own vendor. But, if they do that, then the purchase will not show up under your redelivery terminal, any store credit earned will not be credited to the customer under your store, etc. All that sales data would go to the store of the owner of the vendor object.
This is where partnering comes in!
Partnering allows the vendor owner to say “I want sales of this item to be part of someone else’s store, instead of my store.” So whether a customer buys an item owned by you, or by your partner, the item still shows up your store’s redelivery page, any buyer’s rewards still affect their credit balance in your store, etc.
In version 4, partner mode can be applied to every vendor on a region, or only to specific vendors.