Beautifulpeople.com is so exclusive, it recently gave the boot to 5,000 members who popped a few buttons after indulging too much over the holidays, according to sources buzzing all over the web -- from Techcrunch to the New York Daily News.
The skinny ones on the site weren't happy with the fatties they were seeing on the social networking site, which describes itself as an "elite online club, where every member works the door." You better stay Stepford.
So after posting their holiday pictures, 5,000 so-called fatties
who were no longer sexy enough for their precious peers were shuffled
once more into the ratings system for re-approval. Only a few hundred
were allowed back into the oh-so-accurate land of the beautiful. The majority of the pudgy rejects were from the United States, with the UK and Canada not far behind.
I tried to join, I was redirected to a page that cited limited use due
to extensive media coverage from the global launch. (How about
extensive media coverage after acting like douchebags?) Ditto with the
browsing option, which lets you check out profiles even if you're too
ugly to sign up. So, ironically, BeautifulPeople.com is flawed -- their
servers are crappy, unable to handle traffic. Either that, or they
don't want press meddling in their secret chambers.
Mark Brooks, an analyst and consultant for the online dating industry, says it's normal for online networks to exclude people, but only as a matter of certain obvious preferences, like sexual orientation. "A straight woman wouldn't spend time on a gay male dating site," he said. "On the other hand, JDate allows everyone, even non-Jews."
"I think the BeautifulPeople tactic is rather amusing," he remarked. "There are so many niches these days. BeautifulPeople has a valid niche, but it's exclusionary. There are very few social dating sites that are truly exclusionary, and they're one of them."
On the subject of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, Brooks definitely sides with a more open-minded approach. "We've been accustomed to magazine cover culture for over 50 years now," he said. "We need to break away from that. People have been aspiring to unnatural extremes of physical beauty."
Brooks does consulting work for eLove, an internet dating site that also offers traditional matchmaking. Starting today, eLove is coming to the rescue, happily opening its doors to all the rejects from BeautifulPeople, no matter what they weigh. Even current BeautifulPeople members will have a chance to take a walk on the ugly side for a healthy dose of reality.
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Paul A. Falzone, CEO of International Dating Ventures, which owns eLove, also believes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but clearly he shines a different light. "We think everyone is beautiful, and frankly, were disturbed to hear about the way that these people were treated," said Falzone in a statement. "That said, we're offering free memberships to all BeautfulPeople.com members -- not just those who were ousted -- because we think that ultimately, the majority of their members will agree with us."
Fat people deserve love too. If you were rejected from BeautifulPeople, simply register for basic membership at eLove (as in most sites, it's free just to browse). Then email email@example.com with "BeautifulPeople" in the subject line. Include your eLove username in the body of the email and you'll be upgraded to complimentary full access membership for three months.
Mark Brooks will be speaking about the dating industry on Wednesday, January 27, at the Miami Beach Convention Center as part of the Internet Dating Conference.