Online dating is fast catching the fancy of lovers down under, as a survey has found that one in four adults have admitted to using the medium.
RSVP.com (owned by Fairfax Media, the publisher of the Herald) commissioned Nielsen to conduct the first comprehensive survey of online dating habits.
The Nielsen poll showed that 37 percent, many of whom are presumed to be in a relationship, said they would never go online to meet someone, while 38 percent said they are considering using online dating.
The poll also found that of the adults who had used dating sites, 33.6 percent reported a short-term relationship, 16.2 percent said they had a long-term relationship, 8.9 percent said they had married or were in a defacto relationship, and 2.7 per cent had children.
The initial results suggest that online dating is now part of the mainstream.
The survey showed that:
Of those who had used online dating, 62 percent had dated someone they met online, and that men were slightly more likely than women to use online dating services.
Most of those polled (72 percent) were seeking a serious relationship, but many were looking for friendship or just sex.
Nielsen polled 3057 people online in November and 3764 in January, with the data weighted to the general population.
The full results of the survey will be released later this year but NSW and Victorian data so far shows that while there were fewer NSW online daters (57.5 percent had tried online dating, compared with 64 percent in Victoria), they appeared to be more successful.
Almost 20 percent of NSW online daters had a serious long-term relationship, compared with 16.6 percent in Victoria, and 8.5 percent had married, compared with 5 percent in Victoria.
Almost a third of both Victorian and NSW online daters made a good friend whom they remained in contact with.
Asked what kind of relationship they were seeking (multiple responses were accepted), 72.7 percent nationwide said a serious, long-term relationship, 39 percent friendship, 18.5 percent marriage and 27 percent casual relationships.
Of those who had used online dating, almost half had a profile and were monitoring it. Another 19 percent had a profile but didn't check it often and 31percent had removed a profile.
The Fairfax Digital group-marketing director, Lija Jarvis, said when she began working on RSVP four years ago, online dating was still something that was vaguely embarrassing.
"That stigma has definitely dropped because people are advocating for it, talking with their friends, sharing stories with families," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.
Since RSVP began tracking marriages in 2003 more than 8000 members have contacted them to report they had married someone they met online.
The poll showed that the biggest group dating online were those had been single for five or more years (38.4 percent), followed by those who had been single for one to two years (26.7 percent).
Those who had been single for less than six months (17.6 percent) and those who had been single for seven to 12 months (16.5 per cent) also used online dating services.
The most popular dating websites among those polled were RSVP (54 percent), Adult Match Maker (21 percent), eHarmony (20 percent) and Oasis Active (19 percent).