Obviously this recession is different than previous ones, as our major media have changed drastically in the last ten years. With the world more Internet-driven, people have myriad more options for dealing with the financial crisis. While it makes perfect sense that LinkedIn, virtual worlds, and game sites would have more traffic as people tighten their belts or deal with the job market, one of the really surprising things is that, since the economy started going downhill, dating sites have spiked in popularity.

“[O]nline dating is one of the few industries that is recession proof,” says Meir Strahlberg, CEO of Avalanche, owner of several popular dating sites.

Reuters reports that Match.com had its largest membership increase in seven years this November, and Perfectmatch.com has seen a 47 percent growth in membership since August.

There is a fascinating correlation between the stock market and online dating activity: "On days when the U.S. Dow Jones industrial (average) went down by a lot, by more than 100 points, more people were likely to log in and spend more time on the site," said Gian Gonzaga, senior research scientist at Web site eHarmony.

The stress of economic insecurity has driven more people to try to find a relationship. Already in October dating sites were attributing increased revenue to the economy. Avalanche LLC, owner of Date.com, Matchmaker.com and Amor.com, attributed its 17 percent revenue and 26 percent membership growth to this.

People are also taking more time to get to know potential dates online before going on expensive dates. An Avalanche poll showed that 48 percent of people said the recession has caused them to spend more time on online dating sites before meeting their dates.

By Mark Alvarez