Hit or Miss?: Dating site removes more than 30,000 'ugly' members

Naked truth: Dating website Beautifulpeople.com made headlines after it removed more than 30,000 'ugly' new members.

The site said it was responding to a 'Shrek' virus that allowed users to dodge the normal beauty screening process. In 2009, the site told members to reapply if they had 'let themselves go'. Despite claims that the virus was another stunt, the site's agency, Golden Goose PR, insisted it was 'dealing with a genuine client crisis'.


Beautifulpeople.com's media strategy has always been to spark debate to generate global coverage - and it certainly achieved it with this announcement.

We have to take Golden Goose's claim that the timely named 'Shrek' virus wasn't a publicity stunt at face value, but if this was the case, then its management of the situation has to be questioned. Either way, it seems the effects of the announcement have not been fully thought through, from the comments by security experts to the mistrust among journalists.

How many more times can it use the rejection gimmick to good effect? And is it happy for its brand to be perceived as shallow and mean-spirited? Unfortunately, the success of this PR campaign seems to be only skin deep and the longer term ramifications have not been considered - MISS.

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