Dating sites

Finding Mr or Ms Right ... people making new year's resolutions to find a partner are suspected to be the cause of a projected 50 per cent spike in dating website registrations.

DATING websites are preparing for a surge in activity as harassed singletons bow to familial pressure and hop online in a bid to find Mr or Ms Right.

The first week of January is the busiest time of the year for the nation's matchmaking sites. Some expect a 50 per cent increase in new registrations and a spike in activity among existing clients.

One reason is the number of people making new year's resolutions to find a partner.

But ''irritating'' pressure from nagging relatives also plays a role, as anyone who spent Christmas being grilled by granny about their relationship status knows all too well.

''Singles tend to use the Christmas period as a time to review and reflect and figure out exactly want they want in a relationship,'' cupid.com's communications manager, Sean Wood, said.

''There's also family pressure over this time for singles as they ward off irritating relationship questions from family and friends over the Christmas dinner table.''

About one in 20 Australians have used online dating as a way to meet prospective partners, according to eHarmony's managing director, Jason Chuck.

''We see a slight slowdown in registrations during the Christmas period, followed by a huge spike immediately after the holidays,'' he said.

''This is likely due to single Australians putting 'finding love' at the top of their new year's resolutions.

''Having extended family members at Christmas reunions nagging them about why they're still single is no doubt another motivating factor.''

Mr Chuck said the site's peak traffic would occur on January 1, with about 14,000 ''icebreakers'' exchanged between members.

Another dating site, RSVP, which is owned by Fairfax Media, agrees that early January will be its busiest period.

The increase in activity is caused by new year's resolutions and people returning to work. ''The end of the Christmas break heralds a dramatic increase in online flirtation between members,'' said RSVP spokesman Jayne Andrews.

AAP