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Dating site gives 30,000 'ugly' members the kiss-off

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If you're homely enough to be kicked off a dating site, you may need counselling.

At least, that's how sees it.

The notoriously picky site has set up a helpline after ditching 30,000 members for having substandard looks, the Guardian reports.

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The site announced Monday that a monstrous virus - aptly named "Shrek" - had allowed ugly mugs to infiltrate its membership list.

Normally, the website strictly enforces its tagline "Beauty lies in the eyes of the voter" by deleting temporary profiles that do not get the green light in its member-driven ranking system within 24 hours.

The computer virus was the work of a "disgruntled former employee," the site's managing director, Greg Hodge, told the Guardian.

Booting off 30,000 members will cost the company more than $100,000 (U.S.). But standards are standards, he said.

"We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet."

Rachel Godfrey, a 31-year-old Australian nanny living in Los Angeles, was among those who didn't make the grade. She was about to date an American she'd met on the site when she received her rejection e-mail, she explained to the Guardian. "Now I can't get in touch with him."

Since its beginning in Denmark in 2002, the website has cultivated a reputation for being ruthless.

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Last year, about 5,000 members were booted from the website because they appeared to have gained weight over Christmas. In a company release, site founder Robert Hintze referred to them as "fatties," The Globe and Mail reported.

Previously, the site drew ire for listing Britons among the ugliest people in the world, especially compared with bodacious Brazilians and sexy Scandinavians.

Considering the site's callous business model, it may be tough to accept Mr. Hodge's apology to the "unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and believed, albeit for a short time, that they were beautiful."

Clearly, he doesn't realize that beauty is only skin deep.

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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