Rachel Godfrey had just been accepted to an online dating site and was preparing for a date, when all of a sudden she was kicked off the site and could no longer contact the guy.
"I was getting on really well with this American guy," the 31-year-old Australian living in L.A. tells the Guardian. "They locked me out of the site . . . now I can't get in touch with him."
Godfrey was one of 30,000 people recently dumped by the online dating website BeautifulPeople.com because their looks were not up to the standards of the site. Normally, members ruthlessly vote on who should be able to join using a traffic light scale, but a virus attacked the software used to rate new entrants.
"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil paintings," says managing director of BeautifulPeople.com Greg Hodge to the Guardian. "We have to stick to our founding principles of only accepting beautiful people - that's what our members have paid for."
The aptly named Shrek virus was believed to have been planted by a disgruntled former staff member last month. The company is now spending more than $100,000 to refund people they don't want.
"I sent them all a very carefully worded email, trying to be as sensitive as possible," Hodge says to the Guardian. "But naturally many of them are finding it a bit of a sting to have been rated beautiful by their peers only to lose the accolade overnight."
This isn't the first time BeautifulPeople.com has come under some heat. Last year, about 5,000 members were removed after it looked like they gained weight over the Christmas season. The members, including 500 Canadians, were told they could rejoin if they got back in shape. The campaign called Festive Fatties resulted in 48,000 people applying to the site within 24 hours.
BeautifulPeople.com has around 700,000 members in 190 countries. On average one in seven people are rejected and the site has rejected 5.5 million people since starting in 2002 in Denmark.
As for Godfrey, she is going to get a makeover and a professional photo shoot and then reapply to the website.
"What if he's the one? This is the only way I'll be able to get in touch with him," she tells the Guardian. "If that doesn't work I'll see what I can do with Photoshop."
(Screen capture from BeautifulPeople.com)