Craigslist personals were a free and popular dating or hookup platform, in which members of the LGBTQ community had plenty of successful meetups. For those who have been active users on Craigslist for a long time, the personals section was a hit, dealing with readers’ desires that ranged from strictly platonic friendships, serious relationships and, more often than not, casual hook-ups. On Craiglist’s classified ads site, users could post and respond to personal ads of private individuals. Straights, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals were free to narrow down their choices with complete anonymity.
What Happened to Craigslist Personals?
Because of the passing of Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 or FOSTA by The House of Representatives, Craigslist, a classified advertisements website, became nervous and shut down the personals section, pulling the plug on their web pages for those who are looking for heterosexual, gay or lesbian relationships. This bill places all legal responsibilities on platform holders, in terms of sex-work interactions and activities, instead of individual users. It was a legal risk that Craigslist simply wasn’t prepared to take.
While it seems the end of Craiglist personals, doors opened to new alternatives. However, not all work well as they claim to be. That’s why we have created a comprehensive guide for your reference, so you’ll be able to choose your alternative to Craigslist personals. Let’s get started!
What Are the Alternatives to Craigslist?
Because Craigslist personals seem not to be coming back soon, it’s a good idea to check out these top ten alternative sites in no particular order.
4. Grindr (M4M)
5. Reddit R4R
In-depth Review of Top Alternatives to Craiglist Personals
DoubleList: Closest Resemblance to Craigslist Personals
Doublelist used to be a small site, a temporary solution that became a huge community and closely resembling Craiglist personals. It is a safe place where people can post photos, communicate, and have fun hooking up or finding sex.
Doublelist has placed verification measures, so be prepared for prompts to enter your phone number and email, making the site SESTA compliant. Also, the site removes ads and spams for underage sex with the help of their dedicated 200 employees. The Doublelist team works 24/7, and most of them are not getting paid. They are passionate about improving the site, giving their guidance, and free time.
Following sign-up, you’ll need to specify what you’re looking for. Results will be shown depending on your choices and answers. Doublelist is a great place to express your sexuality regardless of your sexual orientation, providing a fair and safe environment, and fosters open communication.
Here’s how Doublelist monitors any site misuse to avoid breaking the law:
● Content Analysis: It involves the removal of offending content and finding out the identity of the user who posted it.
● Human Reviews: Real people analyze content and give honest reviews about the site.
● Machine Learning: Doublelist employees undergo online training to learn how the site progresses and monitor the site using appropriate tools.
● Reporting: Users are allowed to report and flag any misuse. All feedback and complaints are prioritized, investigated, and addressed.
● Artificial Intelligence: Soon, Doublelist will work with a top-notch AI company, specializing in content analysis for a higher level of safety and user satisfaction.
ClassifiedAds: Easy-to-Navigate User-friendly Alternative
ClassifiedAds.com is very similar to Craigslist. It’s one of the most visited websites, not only in the United States but also around the world. From jobs, pets for sale, real estate, vehicles for rent, to personal services, the site has everything you want to buy. Simply type in the city name and choose any category you’re interested in and begin looking for things you want and need. It’s absolutely free to post ads on this website, which is also a great alternative to Backpage.com.
For less tech-savvy individuals, ClassifiedAds.com is highly recommended even for those who want to look for local dates. It’s a very easy to navigate classified ads website with different categories and subcategories listed nicely, such as “Women Seeking Men,” “Men Seeking Women,” “Women Seeking Women,” “Men Seeking Men,” and “Casual Dating.”
ClassifiedAds come with picture icons, and users can post photos too. Also, contacting someone is convenient by using the reply form found on the right part of the same page as your post. Simply type in your name, email address, your message, and then click on “Reply.” The site doesn’t contravene the law because of the safety measures that ClassifiedAds carry out. You won’t encounter any nude photos or signs of forced prostitution on the site.
Oodle: Versatility at Its Best
One of the major competitors of Craigslist is Oodle.com. It’s a classified ads website that displays both posts from its own and other classified ads websites. It has a mobile app not offered by other classified ads websites.
The site shows items for sale from eBay and Facebook Marketplace listings. On the other hand, posts placed on the personals category display ads from Advertigo.net, giving users more options as Oodle captures different posts across different online platforms.
Also, you can explore Oodle personals to find men or women who are looking for relationships or men or women looking for friendships, for marriage, or casual encounters. Also, it’s a platform to meet Christian singles, Buddhist singles, Jewish singles, and Catholic singles. Millions of people are using Oodle every day, finding unique listings.
Oodle doesn’t contravene the FOSTA law simply because of strict security measures to keep the site a safe place to find relationships. Users can report suspicious listings to Oodle’s Safety Center and provide tips for safe shopping, avoiding fraud. You won’t see nude photos or any obscene photos on the site.
Here are the good-to-know facts about Oodle Personals:
● Oodle highlights interesting dating trends, such as the elderly finding dates online.
● Women can choose from a wide array of men profiles online in the site’s casual encounters department.
● Once you have found your special someone, Oodle can help you take the next step, such as planning your first date using the Oodle Tickets’ event calendar.
● New couples can also use Oodle Rentals to help them find a bigger place, like a condo or apartment. For unlucky couples, they can find a loving and faithful companion on Oodle Pets.
Gumtree: Finding Love in Unexpected Places
Millions of people, most notably in the United Kingdom, use Gumtree every day to buy and sell anything. But did you know that there’s an emerging trend using this site? In the dating world, this is termed as ‘jibing,’ which means a more casual way of dating or asking someone out.
According to Dr. Nikki Goldstein, an Australian sexologist, ‘jibing’ makes it easier for someone to ask a person out as they’re already ‘matched’ with initial connection (item buy and sell) in real life. Now you can forget about ‘breadcrumbing’ and ‘ghosting’ because ‘jibing’ is the newest term in the dating scene. It is a term describing two people accidentally meeting a potential date or love interest on Gumtree, eBay, Airtasker, or other websites that aren’t traditionally reserved for dating.
Here are the solid reasons why Gumtree is a great personal ad alternative:
● Because Gumtree and similar sites function as a marketplace for buying and selling goods, there’s a very high chance of face-to-face interaction.
● Of course, personal details, including name, physical address, and phone numbers are already available, taking the awkwardness away and making it easier for two people (the buyer and the seller) to communicate and say, “How about a coffee at Starbucks?” before parting ways.
● As the sex expert says, people who meet in informal settings are far more likely to be themselves because of no expectations, opening doors for any type of relationship like friendship, dating, or long-term romantic relationships.
Escort Classified ads
These sites are alternatives for escort services or sex workers, connecting them with new prospects and clients. Switter.at is one good example. Specifically designed and created by sex workers, it caters exclusively for escorts, prostitutes and interested clients.
We are, of course, in the business of reviewing dating rather than escort sites, but it’s a fact that a lot of escorts and those interested in their services use classifieds. At least with Switter there is no ambiguity about its content and targeted users.
Many users of personals are of course merely looking for dates rather than commercial sex opportunities. So it’s useful and appropriate if the escort and general sex industry sector is separated in a distinct site such as Switter.
It’s common knowledge that Craigslist personals were predominantly used for finding sex hookups or casual dates. So since the demise of this Craigslist category former users are faced with using classified alternatives with substantially less readers such as Doublelist. Alternatively, they can take the plunge into signing up with one the vast array of online casual dating sites.
If you’re seeking casual encounters, then browsing a hookup sites without a paid subscription makes another free alternative option to using the personal columns. Some examples of social hookup sites include Adult Friend Finder, Alt.com, and the likes of AshleyMadison for affair dating. Members can of course browse other user-profiles and, invariably, a subscription is needed to send messages. The sites also feature ways to retain your anonymity and, for obvious safety reasons, it makes sense not to give too many personal details away at an early stage.
Adultfriendfinder.com is suitable for those who want hook-ups and casual dating given the sheer volume of like-minded members. It also has an array of unique features, as you would expect from a subscription site, including forum groups that cater for all sexual interests.
AdultFriendfinder gives members a decent (or perhaps indecent is more apt!) supply of potential local dates. Guys seeking a female casual date will need to have a standout profile or work harder than women members to hookup given the membership ration is one female for every ten male subscribers. That said, the success rate will be undoubtedly higher than an anonymous guy without a picture placing an ad in the classified personals.
Mainstream Dating Site Alternatives to Craigslist
Whether you’re looking for regular dating, hook-ups, or any form of relationship, there are safer alternatives to personal ads that don’t have the association of ‘desperation’, sleaze or stigma that is linked to placing a classified ad.
For general dating, the ubiquitous Match.com is the default option for those seeking regular dating with a large amount of local choices. Fitnesssingles.com has captured the dating market sector for activity partners, and OurTime.com is for the 50+ age group. These sites have chat rooms, cams, and voice chat for flexible communication.
What Happened to Backpage Personals?
On April 6, 2018, the U.S. law enforcement agencies seized Backpage, a sex marketplace to end child exploitation and forced prostitution. It was a collaboration of the Justice Department and U.S. attorneys in Arizona, Texas, and California.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 75 percent of the cases submitted were related to the ads posted on the Backpage. While the said move intends to reduce and completely eliminate sex trafficking, advocacy groups and Backpage say that the ads are free speech which is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Without intending to get into an philosophical debate on ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from’, the closure of any publication where advocates try to find a justification of the use of its services for the purpose of child exploitation or sex trafficking is no loss in any shape or form.
Is There a Way I Can Still Use Craigslist to Find a Local Date?
Yes. You can still use the Craigslist ‘activity partner’ section. The purpose of the Craigslist activity partner category is to cater for those looking for others with shared interests. The emphasis is on mutual interests in the context of platonic, non-sexual, or friendship only. As your friendship builds, you can of course test the waters and ask your activity buddy to be your local date. So, ultimately, it can serve the same purpose as Craigslist personals. Also, some of the best romantic relationships evolve from the solid foundation of friendship and mutual ativity interests.
Craigslist remains by far the most popular classified ads option so your activity partner ad is going to get much greater exposure. Just avoid being disingenuous and avoid an ad that suggests you are looking for platonic strolls in the park when, in reality, you want a casual hookup. Use the appropriate casual dating sites and you’ll save time for yourself and avoid justifiable frustration from respondents. They won’t appreciate ‘platonic stroll’ is, at best, a euphemism and, at worst, a deception when the reality is you want a casual sex date.
Negatives of Using Personals
The online world is never safe. That’s why it’s important to take extra safety measures when dealing with these alternatives. Here are the negatives of using personals:
● Safety Issues: Using personals can put you at risk of identity theft and cyber-attacks.
● Scammers: Unfortunately, some sex workers, or more likely their pimps, pretend to be looking for a date to entice replies. They then send links to users that will try to obtain credit card details and other personal information.
● Lack of Identification: Most users don’t have pictures in their ads. Also, many users say that they are women, and they would send messages to male members, but the veracity of the claims is doubtful.
● Adverse Publicity: Due to adverse publicity, most singles use online dating sites with added safety protection.
● Slim Chance of Getting Real Sex Encounters: Some alternative sites are flooded with male users, so those “men seeking women” have a slim chance of getting real sex encounters online.
Positive Reasons for Using Personal ads
Using alternative sites to replace personals gives a lot of advantages for users, such as:
● Local Dating: You can post ads locally within your area and avoid high chances of being scammed and more opportunities to get a local date or hookup.
● Low or Free Cost: Alternative sites offer low cost or even free ads.
● Privacy: All personal information remain private as long as you keep it as it is.
● In theory and, hopefully in practice, dating is a but safer since
Craigslist Personals were abandoned. Because of the FOSTA law, some of the classified sites take extra precaution by putting some restrictions that filter out obscene photos and titles.
● Most sites featuring classified personal ads allow readers to report suspicious ads or obvious scammers. Fraudsters and the ill-intentioned will never be completely eradicated and the relative anonymity of the small ads means they will target the personal ads. Regardless, there is no doubt the FOSTA law has produced a safer environment for dating in the classifieds.
Now you know the best alternative sites to Craigslist personals. Whether you choose DoubleList, Gumtree, Oodle, ClassifiedAds or even adapt your ad to meet the criteria for the Craigslist activity partners section, each of these sites has something to offer. You can use their best features and benefits to attain your dating goals, regardless if you’re trying to hook-up, find a date, or a long-term relationship.
We explore the pros and cons of the industry giants