Dating site for the gorgeous expels 30,000 Shreks?

Beautiful People, a dating site reserved only for those of Bundchen-like qualities, dumps 30,000 people deemed just not pretty enough. The data is reportedly revealed after a virus strikes the site.

Few of us have been given the tools to make us instantly beautiful. Not even visits to the finest surgeons in LA seem to do the trick.

We deal with our imperfections. However, it appears that 30,000 who tried to gain access to BeautifulPeople.com, a dating site for the supremely pretty, are having extreme difficulty dealing with rejection.

You might remember this site. Two years ago, it declared that its standards were strict. It declared that British people were, in general, on the less blessed side of pulchritude.

But now the Guardian reports that Beautiful People has turned away 30,000 people--from all over the world--whom it has deemed, well, just a little too ugly.

It seems that a mere month ago some nefarious being decided to infect Beautiful People with a virus--a computer virus, of course. Computer viruses are cool these days.

Aren't they lovely? Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

This rather infectious virus--quickly dubbed "Shrek"--seemed to allow tens of thousands of new members to register on the site. Typically, people create a profile and are granted membership if enough existing users give them the virtual thumbs-up during a 48-hour trial window. This so-called virus, according to the company, let applicants bypass that screening period. However, once the site owners got suspicious about the rapid approval rates, they gave these new members the once over and deemed 30,000 of them not to be of the required standard. So they were tossed off.

It is unclear whether these people had excessively large noses, excessively disproportionate torsos, or merely excessively high hopes of dating on a higher plane.

However, Greg Hodge, managing director of Beautiful People, told the Guardian: "We have to stick to our founding principles of only accepting beautiful people--that's what our members have paid for. We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet."

Clearly there would be a large, possibly hunchbacked, lump in one's carpet if one tried such sweeping.

Some though, might be pained at Hodge's conception that one is either beautiful or one is ugly. His is truly a harsh world. As is that of the alleged hacker (Hodge believes it was a disgruntled employee) who, it is believed, managed to affect the software in such a way that pretty much anyone who wasn't pretty was voted in. (Ah, yes, Beautiful People is a democracy of sorts.)

Hark at Hodge's unremitting tone to the Guardian: "We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting."

Perhaps you would like to stare at some pictures of Hodge--here's a link for you--and decide whether he is your idea of a Canaletto.

He does, though, seem to enjoy walking the very thin line between beauty and cruelty. Why, just a couple of Christmases ago, his site claimed to have booted off 5,000 of its prime customers because it decided they had put on too much Christmas pudding.

This time, the rejected 30,000--all of those who had already paid their membership fees have had them returned--are in a pretty pickle. Indeed, Hodge said that his site has set up a counseling help line for those who temporarily believed that they were beautiful, only to have their imaginings cruelly disabused.

I know that you will join me in offering a hosanna to Hodge for resolutely putting his money where his pristinely perfect lips are.

Updated 1:24 p.m. PT: There are some who believe this action really didn't cost Hodge any money at all. For they, the security firm Sophos, for one, believe that this just might be, no, a PR stunt.

Updated 4:21 p.m. PT: I contacted Beautiful People, which insists this virus and its consequences were real. The company told me: "The virus was placed on BeautifulPeople.com internally and time activated, then propagated through the site's rating system. It started in a few countries only, then moved on to the entire system until it completely took over the rating module. The rating module is the gateway to the site--to become a member, applicants must be 'rated' over 48 hours by existing members of the opposite sex. The Shrek virus made the rating module become ineffective."

The company insists that 30,000 people were, indeed, rejected, while 5,000 who applied during the virus period, were actually accepted on to the site. However, the company would not be drawn on whether it had taken action against the alleged hacker or whether any of the rejected souls had threatened to sue.

 

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