Locks and Keys control access to individual services and activities within a netVillage. Locks are checkpoints in the software which screen users. Keys are the security codes locks look for. While keys can be assigned to individuals, they are far more often assigned to classes (which are groups of users such as DEMO, NORMAL, VIP, STAFF, etc.). Users do not need to know that they carry keys. It's all internal to the server.
While users are individuals with a unique User-ID, they are at the same time always a part of one class or another (USER, MEMBER, COORDINATOR, SYSOP, etc.). This simplifies user management: you do not track thousands of individuals. Rather, you track a few classes. When new users sign up, they automatically join the most restricted class. You choose if and when they switch to classes with higher levels of access.
Our User Class Management provides powerful tools for class management such as automatic switching. An account can automatically be switched (with a corresponding e-mail message) from one class to another:
For example, a for-profit system can switch a member to DEMO mode when they use up all their credits. Or a school could have grade-level classes automatically advance for the next year along with corresponding access to new materials. A subscription business could automatically reduce access when a time period has expired. The flexibility of this model allows many types of business models.
The value of keys is that you can offer normal and premium services, allowing you to grant more features for paid subscribers, while tempting others to upgrade their access.