A self-proclaimed “elite” dating website has removed around 3,000 members because they were "letting themselves go".
BeautifulPeople.com describes itself as the “largest internet dating community exclusively for the beautiful” and puts people’s photographs to a members’ vote to decide if they are allowed in.
But administrators have now shown that the rigorous 48-hour selection period is not a permanent pass by taking thousands of profiles down, mainly because of weight gain and “graceless ageing”.
Genevieve Hodge, who founded the website with her husband Greg, said: “This may sound harsh, and it is the most difficult part of managing the business.
“We take no pleasure in removing members, but it is a necessary evil in order to maintain the beautiful community and our prized business model.”
Her husband claimed the website had been “kind” in breaking the news to ditched people with emails encouraging them to apply again when they are “back looking their best”.
The site is also offering advice from “beauty mentors” on how to get back up to the standard.
“Letting unattractive people populate the site would compromise the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded,” Mr Hodge said.
“If their looks aren't up to our members’ exacting standards and they do not secure a majority of positive votes, then their profiles are immediately removed.”
Anyone who is found to be failing to maintain their looks is put back through the rating system, where members of the opposite sex only can select options including "yes, definitely", "hmm yes, ok", "no, not really" and "no, definitely not" based on photographs and a brief profile.
Most of the users removed from the site were from the US but more than 550 from the UK also got the chop.
The website boasts more than 800,000 users from 190 countries and first launched in Denmark 2002, before spreading to the US and UK in 2005.
A statement from BeautifulPeople.com claims it does not attempt to define beauty but “simply gives an accurate representation of what society's ideal of beauty as decided by the members”.Reuse content