Domainers are typically focused on gaining traffic and endusers, but can it be a successful strategy to purposefully reject endusers from your site in a bid for exclusivity? BeautifulPeople.com did just that. BeautifulPeople markets itself as an elite version of Match.com. It is dating site where you need to submit your photos before being approved as a member. Users can join only after enough members vote them as “beautiful.” Provoking the user is clearly used as a marketing strategy as the site home page mockingly asks in big bold font: “Too ugly to sign up?”
But what really made waves was that 5,000 members were deleted for posting pictures that indicated they gained weight during the holiday season. The website issued a statement that these pictures revealed that “they have let themselves go . . . . ” Robert Hintze, founder of BeautifulPeople.com, further said: “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded.”
In a CNN interview, Greg Hodge, managing director of BeautifulPeople, added “[i]s it elitist? Yes, it is, because our members want it to be,” Hodge said when the company started out in 2005. “Is it lookist? Yes, it is, because our members want it to be. Is it PC? No, it’s not, but it’s honest.”
Parallels could be drawn to exclusive forums or invite-only conferences, which are of higher quality, and are more sought after. And though BeautifulPeople is a bit tasteless in calling out “fatties”, the site wouldn’t be in the news today gaining buckets full of backlinks if it weren’t for their user deletions.
Jan 05, 2010 5 Comments