There has been a time when Craigslist Personals ruled the online dating scene. There was simply no competition. But as it happens with all good things, it ended abruptly with no sign of return. Although it ended with a sad outcome, the platform spawned quite a few alternatives that, in our opinion, came pretty close to the source material.
In this post, we’ll mostly focus on the alternatives, but we’ll also touch upon why Craigslist shut down their personals section, as well as what happened to backpage.com. Thus, without further delay, let’s get started!
What is Craigslist Personals? Why it Shut Down?
Now for those of you who don’t know, back at the day, Craigslist was a completely different website than it is today. It used to host a section called “personals” that were primarily used for dating purposes. Yet, back then the internet (and frankly, the world) was a different place and this section sparked a lot of controversies because of a few sub-sections. The most popular sub-sections dubbed “casual encounters” and “erotic services” are the ones that caused a lot of trouble. And this is quite puzzling considering that there were sections that seemed way more controversial than “casual encounters”.
Why Was Craigslist Personals so Important?
The reason why Craigslist Personals was so popular is that the service offered security as the system masked the identity of each person. Indeed, if there’s something users could count on, that was the fact that nobody knew who they are. This also added a thrill-like effect as it was always a gamble on whom you might land. Craigslist casual encounters were so popular that there was barely any criticism of the system too. Everyone enjoyed the platform, especially those who relied on anonymity.
Both doctors and high-level businessmen that had trouble meeting someone publicly loved the platform. Some described the system as the only place where they can even start searching for partners. And for good reasons too, for them, the platform was the only place where they could openly express their feelings. There is a good amount of people who actually met their soulmates and live together even today. Craigslist dating was a big deal, especially considering that nothing like it was introduced in the past.
What Opportunities did Craigslist Personals Provide?
There is no question that many gays found peace and comfort when it comes to dating on Craigslist Personals. To them, the system was a nice place to share not only their position but to find the like-minded people. Indeed, many formed communities were judgment-free, meaning that the platform was more than just a site where they could meet new people. It gave them a sense of belonging to a certain group.
Also, the site was practically a paradise for married men who were looking forward to trying gay sex. They didn’t have to risk revealing their identities so they also had zero trouble communicating with like-minded others. Another thing Craigslist Personals was good at is providing services such as sex workers, relationship building, and naturally, casual sex encounters. All this combined with high-level privacy made Craigslist Personals one of the best places to meet new people for flirting and sex.
Why Snapchat Can’t Be A Replacement?
First off, Snapchat was never built for meeting new people. There is no discover tab, and you won’t find a line to fill out personal information outside of your name. The main focus of the platform is to share photos and videos that you can modify with custom filters and masks. While it’s true that you can share snapshot photos with other social media platforms, you can only do so much with the app. It won’t be your Craigslist Personals replacement as it is more of a photo and video sharing platform than a dating one. So, TL;DR, it lacks the features a dedicated dating site has and the UI is simply not up for the task.
Why Backpage.com Shut Down Also?
The reason why backpage.com shut down is that it wanted to be the new Craigslist Personals. They had the same sections and even the UI somewhat resemble Craigslist but things were getting out of hand fast. Their casual encounters corner quickly gathered weirdos that advertise sex services. The government suspected that they were promoting prostitution and enforced pressure on banks that processed the transactions and warned the website to stop their activities. Yet, even so, the site continued to work and started accepting Bitcoins. Later, the CEO of the site was brought to court where the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” or “SESTA” bill played a vital role in stopping the website from working.
Good Craigslist Personals Alternative
Now that we’ve covered a little bit of history, let’s move on to Craigslist Personals replacements. We’ll be covering all kinds of things about these sites, including but not limited to, the date they opened, the average amount of visitors, number of users, and why it’s a good replacement. In addition, we’ll discover whom each site is for, what said website does, and finally, what unique features it has.
Monthly active users: 600K+
So at number one, we have DoULike.com, and suffice to say that this is a very good website for dating purposes. With monthly 600K+ active users, this is a paradise for lonely souls. It has all the bells and whistles a dating website needs and adds a dedicated mobile app into the mix. Each profile is verified a number of times, meaning that you won’t stumble on fakes. Also, the website is practically for everyone, whether you are 20 or in you mid 50, chances are that you will find someone. Couple all this will high-quality filters and an outstanding matching algorithm, and you got yourself one of the best websites around. The website makes sure that you have a pleasant experience by providing constant updates. Highly recommended for everyone who likes quality and wants to spice their life up.
Daily visits: 5000
Active users: 260,000
Bedpage is perhaps the most underrated platform we’ve seen to date. It is a very good Craigslist Personals alternative as it not only looks similar but functions in the same way, minus the controversial sections. The website has more than 5000 daily visits and around 260,000 active users. The community over this place is quite huge and for good reasons. The site offers a nice set of customization options when it comes to ads. Just like Craigslist Personals, you get the ability to create personal ads that will target exactly the type of people you’d like to meet. The website is pretty much for everyone but keep in mind that you won’t find a lot of seniors here. The site keeps everything in check and there are no bugs or broken filters. This is a good fit for those of you who missed Craigslist Personals or don’t really care for fancy UIs.
Active users: 500,000
While the site does sound like a spiritual successor to Craigslist Personals, it’s key audience are homosexuals. The site sports a massive international community that is around 500,000 members large. The site continues to grow and more than 1,000 photos are introduced every week. The key feature of the website is the blog posting option which is something that many of us will find cool. You might not use it but you can still read what other users have to say, meaning that you can easily understand their position on something, as well as you can learn what they like the most. Also as an added bonus, the micro-blog system will help you adapt to the community much faster. The site continues to grow as more people join.
Registered users: 450,000
Daily users: 2000
Based in Germany, this online classified network has all kinds of sections that aren’t exactly dedicated to dating. People can easily post personal ads in sales, services, jobs, and real estate sections. And just like Craigslist, you get access to a personal section that has more than 450,000 registered users. The average amount of active daily users is around 2000, making it a perfect fit for people who have just started. The unique feature of the site is that it has a few cool categories for beginners. These include friendship, men seeking men, women seeking women, men seeking women, and vice versa. You also have sections such as casual encounters and missed connections. Thus, even if you are a beginner, you will surely find a community to join. Lastly, the site also offers a mobile application that can easily be downloaded on the Google Play Store.
Registered users: 350,000
Similarly to how Craigslist started, Oodle was also a classified ad site where you could find all kinds of posting. Before Craigslist Personal closed, Oodle was the only true competitor, which means that it also offers a very similar experience to CL. Indeed, just by landing on the website, you’ll immediately notice that there is a ton of different ads on singles, casual encounters, men seeking men, etc. And for good reasons too, it has more than 1000 ads posted daily. The register base is also massive, clocking in around 350,000 users. Yet, what separates the site from the competition is the fact that it lets you scan the web for personal offers. The site is also very reliable and safe as the moderation team tracks it 24/7. The best part about Oodle is that it suits practically all ages and tastes, there are no limitations and you will surely find someone to talk to.
Registered users: 11,000,000
Doublelist takes more than just one element from Craigslist Personals. Doublelist is trying to be the new Craigslist Personals and it shows. The site gathered quite a few positive reviews regarding its UI and reliability. The key audience of the site is the LGBT community and straights looking for a one-night stand. What makes this site super great is that it’s completely free. And since it’s free, it has more than 11 million registered users and thousands of ads posted daily. Lastly, the site is a perfect alternative to Craigslist Personals as it does not limit you in the number of ads, and has new people joining daily.
Monthly users: 550,000
The last one on our list is iBackpage. This is also a free offering but unlike our previous entry, the site offers a premium user experience. In general, this site is for everyone but most features are tailored for casual encounters first. It also has a dedicated LGBT section that is very active and friendly to newcomers. The key specialty of the site is that it tries to find your partner using geolocation. This means that it will focus on your area of residence and if you want more performance out of the ad, you can opt for the premium plan, which is only $2 per post. This is a very affordable price, especially considering that similar sites usually charge triple the amount. As reported by the site, there are around 550,000 visitors monthly, and more than 10,000 ads posted weekly.
All in all, there are many different alternatives to Craigslist Personals but these are considered to be the best. There is no definitive answer to which one is better as each of them has a nice install base and is being actively worked on. Thus, go with whichever you like. Although, before we leave, we’d like to stress that we should make one more distinction regarding websites. There are those that provide local dating options (i.e CL) and international matchmaking type of services. Many local dating websites offer paid services but don’t be discouraged about it. Since users invest in their profiles, you are more likely to get some results. A good example would be DoULike.com, which is a high-quality option with an immense user-base.