Beautiful People Spends $100,000 to Remove 30,000 Ugly People

When a virus dubbed "Shrek" was unleashed on the dating service, thousands of people were accidentally allowed to pay for membership


It's really hard to be a beautiful person. You see, if you're always looking good, you're always getting looks. The beautiful people have to fend off advances by lesser, uglier people all of the time; they deserve much better. And Greg Hodge and Robert Hintze have provided a way for them to get it -- and they're willing to pay to defend it.

"We have to stick to our founding principles in only accepting beautiful people."

Beautiful People, a dating website for lookers with more than five million members in several countries, was launched in Denmark in 2001 by Hodge and Hintze. The founders are quite controversial; they've been profiled before saying incendiary things about how they -- and others -- look. "No uglies allowed," they told the Toronto Star about their website when it spread to Canada. But they're not actually that strict in practice. Their customers are for them. Any new applicants vying for inclusion among the Beautiful People are presented to existing members, who rate them on a scale of 4, ranging from "No definitely NOT" to "Yes definitely." If you make the cut, you're given two days to decide if you want to pay for the privilege of joining. Even then, though, your membership is not guaranteed.

Some uglies were able to slip through the cracks last month when an angry former employee or one of the roughly 5.5 million people who have been rejected by the Beautiful People unleashed a virus. Quickly dubbed "Shrek," after the movie about how looks don't matter, the virus allowed approximately 30,000 people who were awaiting their rating into the site. But all of those people, who believed that the existing members of Beautiful People had accepted them into their community, had another thing coming. 

After Hodge and Hintze realized what had happened, they booted, at a cost of more than $100,000 to their site, all of those new members. "We have to stick to our founding principles in only accepting beautiful people -- that's what our members have paid for," Hodge told the Guardian. "We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet." He did note, though, that it was a "very embarrassing day" for Beautiful People, and said 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."

Giving up subscription revenue -- 4,500 of those 30,000 people had already paid for a $25/month membership to the site -- is nothing new for Beautiful People. Last year, according to the Guardian, about 5,000 people were booted from the dating service because it looked like they had put on too much weight over the Christmas holiday.

Image: Beautiful People.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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