Invite codes were once required for people who wanted to join LiveJournal. From September 2, 2001 until December 12, 2003, the number of new users was increasing faster than the server architecture could handle, so the developers used invite codes to control the growth of the system. New users needed either an invite code from an existing user, or about five bucks minimum for a paid account, which reverted to a free account after the paid time expired.
The invite code system also had the side effect of making sure only current members' friends were allowed to make accounts, which allowed members of social cliques to spend less time excluding others, and more time being douchebags to each other.
Admins discarded the code system after the site was upgraded to handle 300% more stupidity, a move which met with excessive whining from elitists who felt special because they already had an account. LiveJournal's management pointed out that the system was always meant to be temporary. This did little to reduce the whining, which continued for months.
In the end, everyone accepted that Eternal September had fallen.
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