I started out this week writing about online dating turn-offs (and for those of you who requested this topic I will cover it soon). But while doing research on the biggest online turn-offs, I came across this story and felt compelled to write about it.
BeautifulPeople.com is an online dating site strictly for beautiful people, as determined by the site’s creators. But this past June the site was attacked by a computer virus that let in 30,000 new members who (gasp!) weren’t beautiful enough. So, at a cost of $100,000, the site’s operators dumped those new members. But they did “set up counselors to help the newly rejected people to cope with their unattractiveness.”
The virus, nicknamed Shrek (since the film promotes the message that looks shouldn’t matter), attacked the screening software used on the site to determine whether each applicant is good looking enough for membership. Current members get to vote on perspective members, with a red light meaning “absolutely not” and a green light meaning “beautiful.” Your photo and stats (height, weight, etc) are posted for 48 hours, and you need to get enough “beautiful” votes in that time period to be admitted.
According to The Guardian, the managing director of BeautifulPeople.com, Greg Hodge, stated “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.” He later added that he felt very sorry for the “unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and believed, albeit for a short time, that they were beautiful”. America had the largest number of rejects among the 30,000 by far with 11,924 people.
The judging doesn’t end when you’re accepted to the site, however. In another controversial decision, the site removed 5,000 members last year when they posted photos revealing they had put on weight over the holiday season. Members complained to the site administrators about these people who had the nerve to eat one too many pieces of chocolate while celebrating.
In another oh-so-compassionate statement, according to CNN, the founder of BeautifulPeople.com, Robert Hintze, stated “As a business, we mourn the loss of any member, but the fact remains that our members demand the high standard of beauty be upheld. Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded.” Fatties? Really? The site has now set up a “beauty police” who will monitor members for “infiltrators” who don’t meet the site’s beauty standards.
Yet the site, founded in Denmark in 2002, has approximately 700,000 members around the world, so some people obviously like it. And even more have tried to join. To date, roughly 5.5 million applicants have been rejected. Even some of those 30,000 recently dropped from the site plan to reapply with new photos.
One woman who got admitted due to the virus had been chatting with a man she met through the site, and they were in the midst of scheduling a date when she got booted off. Now they have no way of reaching each other. Obviously that man found her beautiful enough.
What do you think of a site like this? Is it fair? Would you ever join? BeautifulPeople.com points out that sites like Mensa require a certain IQ, and if 30,000 “dummies” got onto the site through a virus Mensa wouldn’t create an easier IQ test to lower their screening standards. Is this the same thing? You can probably guess my opinion simply by what I’ve written, but I’d love to hear yours – whether you agree or disagree.