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Beautiful People Dating Web Site Boots 30,000 in Foul People or Ugly Hoax

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by hearit

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Happened: 
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Dating website Beautiful People claims to have booted 30,000 of its members who don't make the cut--not pretty enough or handsome enough for the site's standards. Stranger than the dump of what the site deems "ugly" members is its claim those people never should've been on its member list, and snuck in through a "Shrek" virus. Some call it a hoax and publicity stunt.
 
"Obviously this is a bitter pill to swallow so we've done everything we can do minimize damage," claims Greg Hodge, managing director of dating site BeautifulPeople.com.
 
The scenario behind the website's a bit weird for starters: Site members for beautifulpeople.com are voted in -- by current members of the opposite sex -- in what the website dubs a "purely democratic system".
 
That "system" is supposed to ensure a community of good-looking guys and beautiful women.
 
According to BeautifulPeople.com, Shrek is two things: both an ugly cartoon character who values inner-beauty while being beautiful on the inside -- and "Shrek" is allegedly one ugly computer virus, that lets ugly people into where they're apparently not allowed. The dating site says a "Shrek" computer virus hit last month which compromised its beauty-rating system, allowing even the not-so-good-looking to join the site that's devoted to only beauties.
 
There is also that kicker: those deemed beautiful enough to join the dating website can look forward to minimum monthly dues of at least twenty-five bucks per month. It seems you've gotta pay to be "beautiful".
 
Aided by the the "Shrek virus", the dating website claims 35,000 additional "applicants" were mistakenly accepted for membership the site. Those 35,000 were taken off the site while awaiting a second round of voting after the virus was identified. Of the 30,000 booted, most were in the United States -- with 11,924, kicked off from the U.S. and another 3,156 rejected from Britain.
 
BeautifulPeople.com is reported to have indicated status reports, which were indicating a 100 percent acceptance rate, combined with a flood of email complaints -- concerning a drop in standards -- had tipped off management. If beautiful people are also smart people, the 100-percent acceptance rate alone should've served as the tip-off.
 
"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting," the website's managing director reportedly said.
 
Something that big took six weeks to notice, huh? Apparently Mensa is not missing any members.
 
The dating company claims it originally thought the "Shrek" virus was retaliation by one of its 5.5 million previously rejected users. Yeah, supposedly the site has "rejected" more than eight times the number of its current membership. Right.
 
The website says that in-house technicians then realized what it's calling "Shrek" is supposedly an inside job -- by a former employee. If that's truly the case, that would be one pissed-off employee.
 
While the dating site seems to cry "foul", others are crying hoax: The idea -- that the whole "Shrek" virus theory is a big, fat lie to garner some PR -- has kind of run through peoples' minds. The dating site hasn't run short on what seem to be a string of publicity stunts.
 
The dating site had just launched in October of 2009 when, suddenly, in January of 2010, BeautifulPeople.com announced it was dropping 5,000 members the dating site dubbed "festive fatties" -- supposedly for gaining pounds and being overweight after the holidays and related indulgences.
 
In June of 2010 the Beautiful People website introduced a ‘fertility introduction service’ with the dating connection founder announcing: “Initially, we hesitate to widen the contribution to non-beautiful people. But each one- including ugly those – would like to transport good-looking children into the globe and we can’t be egotistical with our striking gene pool.”
 
Then in July of 2010 the Beautiful People site made a stab at disgracing World Cup players in an event that garnered publicity for the company.
 
The most recent "ugly" debate could simply be round two, three or four of a media ploy. It would be a bit overdue, after all -- it's been nearly a year since the dating website's been in the media over outlandish claims.
 
Tech firms have been weighing in on the viability of the supposed "Shrek" virus the company is claiming. Shrek has yet to be confirmed -- with no major anti-virus or malware firm backing its existence yet. It seems no one has quite heard of the "ugly" virus. While illegally hacking user data could have some financial worth, adding to the site's member base wouldn't have a benefit really -- except, possibly, for a flailing dating website that may be trying to garner some publicity. Again.
 
Graham Cluley of cyber-security firm Sophos is among those leaning toward the whole '30,000 members booted' theory as a hoax. Cluley cites the fact that it's awfully convenient that the website didn't require outside professional services to help rid itself of that virus. Oh, and -- while Beautiful People claims that nasty "Shrek" virus got in and ruined its member base, oddly enough the website didn't experience any breach in member privacy or security.
 
A CHALLENGE BY GRAHAM CLULEY HAS JUST BEEN ISSUED VIA TWITTER, after midnight on June 21: Now Graham Cluley has issued a challenge to Beautiful People via this tweet: "If Beautiful People forward the Shrek virus to an anti-virus firm for analysis I'll give 500 quid to Children in Need."
 
Yeah -- because viruses usually have no outside goal, like gaining user info with a hack.
 
In the meantime, Beautiful People insists the alleged "Shrek" virus and subsequent membership booting's got nothing to do with a publicity stunt. The dating site must simply have an extra 35,000 just banging down its doors during a short, six-week period. Those people were obviously looking for literally any way in.
 
In fact Beautifulpeople.com claims it's got a new site with newly-updated security, to safeguard against future instances of a virus attack. According to the dating site's management, "The system is in full working order and all of our members can rest assured that their votes will continue to count in keeping their community as they want it: beautiful."
 
By the way, in case anyone feels they're not policed enough through other means, a team of "beauty police" has been recruited from around the globe -- to safeguard against future, infiltrating members who don't meet the connection site's standards.
 
No, there's obviously no publicity stunt there.
 
The dating website has about 700,000 members globally. Apparently there aren't that many beautiful people in the world -- or beautiful people who want to be associated with the website anyway.

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A CHALLENGE BY GRAHAM CLULEY

June 21, 2011 by editor, 8 years 6 days ago

editor's picture
staff

A CHALLENGE BY GRAHAM CLULEY HAS JUST BEEN ISSUED VIA TWITTER, after midnight on June 21: Now Graham Cluley has issued a challenge to Beautiful People via this tweet: "If Beautiful People forward the Shrek virus to an anti-virus firm for analysis I'll give 500 quid to Children in Need."