While many people say they are currently forgoing a night out on the town for a quiet night in, perhaps they are spending it in front of a computer trying to find their perfect match instead, at least that’s what the 2009 NetGuide Telecom Broadband survey reveals.

More than 30 percent of New Zealanders surveyed knew someone who had met their current spouse online, although only nine percent admitted to having a profile on an internet dating site.

One US-based dating website (match.com) has put a 22 percent increase in registrations down to the recession and New Zealand seems to be following another US trend that sees 120,000 couples marrying every year after meeting online.

New Zealand’s two most popular dating sites, NZ Dating and Findsomeone, now have around 1.5 million profiles listed between them.

Relationship expert and author, Dr Alice Boyes says that people who are looking for love increasingly see having a profile on an internet dating site as a logical and socially acceptable option.

For many being online allows a sense of freedom in communication, however another survey result found 12 percent of respondents had pretended to be someone else online.

“People justifiably have concerns about deception and safety. The paradox of online communication is that makes it easier to lie but also makes people more comfortable expressing their genuine selves,” Dr Boyes says.

NZ Telecom and NetGuide carried out the survey about what New Zealanders do online earlier this year. Questions ranged from asking if respondents sought medical advice online rather than visiting a doctor, to whether they have been a victim of an internet scam. Approximately 1,600 people took part in the survey.