Craigslist Personals: What Is It & What Happened? | New Idea (2024)

Once upon a time, Craigslist was one of the biggest websites on the internet. Gen X-ers will remember scrolling through its mysterious annals, whether it was to read a sweet missed connection or find some second-hand furniture.

But one of the site’s biggest features was actually its ‘Personals’ section, where women seeking men, men seeking men, or women seeking women could find the love of their lives. The closing down of Craigslist Personals signalled the end of an era, and we decided to pay tribute to this relic from the old days of the internet by taking you on a trip down memory lane!

RELATED: Couple tried to sell their baby on Craigslist

What’s Craigslist?

Craigslist is a website where you can post and/or view classified ads, which can range from job postings, real estate, for sale items, services, gigs, local events, and more. It is reminiscent of newspaper classifieds, except people can search for specific ads that interest them quite easily. Similar sites include Locanto, Gumtree, and Doublelist.

The site, established in the mid-90s, was one of the first sites dedicated to classified ads. At its peak, the site brought in millions of visitors every month and millions of dollars in revenue every year.

Craigslist was so popular, it became a fixture in American and internet culture. Several TV shows, video games, and films feature the site, such as New Girl, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Although Craigslist is an American site, the service expanded to over 70 countries around the world. There are even specific subsites for Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

What Is Craigslist Personals?

The personals was one of the Craigslist’s most popular sections. It was an area where you could find “personal ads”, from people looking for casual sex, dates, and friendship. It was particularly popular for members of the LGBT community because, at the time, it was one of the only spaces where gay and lesbian people could freely make connections, especially in more conservative regions.

Craigslist Personals: What Is It & What Happened? | New Idea (1)

Craigslist was doing all this at a time when there was a lot of stigma surrounding online dating and casual hook-ups, so they’re definitely a pioneer in the industry. If you enjoy swiping on Tinder or sliding into someone’s Grindr DMs, you have Craigslist to thank!

What Happened To Craigslist Personals?

Unfortunately for lovesick and thirsty adults all over the world, Craigslist Personals was officially shut down in 2018, although the rest of Craigslist remains up and running. The section was discontinued in response to FOSTA/SESTA, which were laws passed in the United States to combat sex trafficking.

According to the law, the government can impose criminal and civil liabilities on any website that provides a platform for prostitution and sex trafficking. Craigslist used to have an “adult/erotic services” section where escorts, erotic massage therapists, and other sex workers could promote their services, but that closed down in 2010, resulting in a “migration” to the personals section.

When FOSTA passed, Craigslist decided to simply discontinue the personals section to prevent the rest of the site from getting shut down as well. Interestingly enough, there has been a lot of push back from the sex worker community. They claim that removing sites like Craigslist and Backpage removed their ability to find work, screen clients, and engage in sex work in a safe way.

Instead of looking for clients online, from the safety of their own homes, many sex workers are forced into the streets where their lives are at more risk. And the remaining websites that are still up tend to exploit sex workers’ desperation by charging insane amounts to post, compared to Craigslist’s low-cost services.

Are There Any Replacements For Craigslist Personals?

After Craigslist Personals and other similar sites went down, people scrambled to find alternatives for online dating, hookups, and sex work. Here are some of the sites where you can still make connections with strangers…or have an NSA (no-strings-attached) casual encounter.

Craigslist Personals: What Is It & What Happened? | New Idea (2)

Doublelist

Doublelist is purely for personal ads. You’ll have to sign up to view the ads, and sex work is definitely not allowed, but it’s similar to Craigslist Personals in every other respect.

Snapchat

While Snapchat technically isn’t a dating app, many sex workers and cam girls use the platform to update their fans, sell nudes, and connect with their clients.

OkCupid

OkCupid is one of the most comprehensive OG dating sites. You answer questions about yourself and get matched with people with a high compatibility rate.

Seeking Arrangement

If you’re a sugar daddy/mommy looking for a companion or a sugar baby looking for a client, then Seeking Arrangement is the perfect dating site for you.

Grindr

Hookup app Grindr is a staple in the gay community. You can find other hom*osexual men in your area easily, safely, and without any judgment.

Tinder

The undisputed king of dating apps, Tinder helps you quickly find potential matches through a game-changing swiping system. It’s like Craigslist Personals: Speed Dating Edition.

Conclusion

Craigslist Personals was a great place to get to know strangers, go on dates, find hookups, and find other people like you. It will be dearly missed, but thankfully, there are many other sites and apps trying to fill its shoes.

RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide To Casual Sex

Rhys McKay

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Craigslist Personals: What Is It & What Happened? | New Idea (2024)
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