The day when Craigslist decided to remove its ‘personals’ section was a very sad day for millions of people throughout the United States and around the world. Despite it not being necessarily talked about as one of the best dating platforms, it was one of the most reliable ways for locals to meet up and have hookups or even form long-lasting relationships every once in a while. With its removal, it was revealed that there was a massive need for a replacement given its popularity and practicality – there have always been tons of dating sites/platforms since the internet age began, but there was nothing quite as reliable as Craigslist personals which is why so many people stuck with it for years. Now that it is gone, it’s left people wondering – what is really the best Craigslist personals alternative out there?
In this day and age, there are just far too many dating and hookup sites which we are bombarded with on what feels like a daily basis. Some recommend Tinder, others swear by bumble, and others go with unheard of, sketchy websites which are undoubtedly filled with bots and fake profiles. Let’s not forget the scam websites which decide to charge your credit card after you’ve signed up for their ‘free trial’. All of these apps/sites that people recommend to us are typically quite flawed and it is no wonder that the loss of Craigslist was so painful. Thankfully, better alternatives are finally starting to show up.
Best Craigslist Personals Replacements & Alternatives
My main criteria when breaking down the best personals alternatives was to take into account a couple of key factors. First, I wanted to make sure that the user pool was large and healthy. No hookup platform would ever replace Craigslist if it only hosted a couple of thousand people and were exclusive to just the largest cities of the world. The other thing I looked at was how attractive were the users. For me, Adult Friend Finder or AFF was the best when it came to finding the hottest matches near me in the shortest amount of time. Believe me, if there’s anything I’ve learned from using all of the other platforms it’s that there are few things more annoying online than finding fake profiles or finding no profiles at all on these mostly dead platforms. AFF is truly amazing and only getting better from experience.TRY ADULTFRIENDFINDER
Ashley Madison is a website that built its reputation on being a website for affairs. While it remains largely the same in its nature, it has gone more mainstreams in recent years and people have been using it as a Tinder alternative for grown-ups. Obviously, the user-base is quite massive since this brand has been around for years and for the most part,profiles are quite legitimate. There are a fair amount of men and women looking for an affair and you don’t necessarily have to be married or in a relationship to get involved. However, they did have the scandal a few years ago where the profiles were leaked and since then, the reputation of Ashley Madison has taken quite a hit. Still, relative to what else is being offered on the market, it is has remained one of the most practical and immediate ways to find a hookup for a lot of people. One of the biggest downsides to using Ashley Madison is the cost as the membership fee can be pretty high. Some might tell you that this is the price to be paid to reach the highest quality individuals though. Overall it is a pretty good platform, but it is no longer one of the top 3 like it may have been years ago.TRY ASHLEY MADISON
DoubleList is next on our list. It is a website that is almost identical to Craigslist personals in more ways than one and for many, it is their go-to source for dating and hookups now that CP is gone. I can definitely say that of the dozens that we’ve tried, DoubleList is definitely near the top in almost every category. It is very similar to AFF in that the pool is quite large and you should have no problem finding new matches each day regardless of the size of your city. However, in my experience the average quality of the girls on here was below what I would typically find on AFF (in terms of physical attraction). That’s not to imply that the girls on there were ugly; they were just more average/plain compared to the 8’s and 9’s I was occasionally finding through Adult Friend Finder. In terms of it’s legitimacy and lack of fake profiles, scams, etc. it is certainly one of the best alternatives and I would really recommend using it.TRY DOUBLELIST
Unfortunately, I cannot personally review this platform myself but I did have some gay friends share their experiences with me in anticipation of writing this review. They decided to sign up for the free trial to see what it was all about. Out of 3 friends, 2 of them were really, really satisfied with their experience. They were able to tell me that it is a newer website and that a lot of the guys they met on there were pretty seasoned and overall of a high quality. They also told me that a lot of the guys were somewhat trying to keep Gays2Fuck a secret in order to prevent it from getting saturated with older, lesser quality men, but unfortunately for them I had to share this website. Keep in mind that because it is new and because it only caters to the gay community, there aren’t as many users on here as you’d find on any other mainstream platform. However, there are no fake profiles or scams going on with this which is a great thing. There’s also a free trial going on which I highly recommend trying if you’re interested as there is nothing to lose.TRY GAYS2FUCK
Classifiedads.com is a general listing site that has been around since 2001. It has long been the ugly stepbrother of Craigslist and the majority of people on the internet were unaware of this website up until the death of the personals section of Craigslist. Now, tens of thousands of horny individuals have moved over to this platform with the downfall of Craigslist and Backpage in recent years. My experience with this website was relatively short – I would compare it to DoubleList except it is slightly worse in most categories; there are definitely quite a few fake profiles on here, the user-base is significantly smaller, and you may have a hard time finding many people if you don’t live in one of the major cities of the world. However, it can work in your favor if you happen to get lucky and I definitely wouldn’t go as far as saying it is a dead platform. It is alright as a classified ads website but it is not managed as professionally as other larger companies. Those that live in a big cities should definitely check it out.TRY CLASSIFIEDADS
Fetlife is a website that is recommended pretty often when people ask about what the best alternative to personals is. Evidently, we don’t have it in our top 5 but despite this we felt that it was still good enough to mentioned as one of the best in 2020. Here’s the thing, there are not nearly enough users to practically use this on a consistent basis if you aren’t located in a moderately large city. For a lot of people in the major markets, this can seem fine but there’s one other factor to be mentioned; the people on this site can be really kinky. Obviously this isn’t always a bad thing and if you are an extremely kinky person yourself, then you might have just found your perfect alternative. However, the crazy BDSM stuff involving whips, chains, and even small cuts here and there just aren’t for me. I can see why others are into it and nobody minds some light slapping here and there but the girls I met through here were bordering on clinically insane. If that’s your cup of tea, then you might be pleased with what you’re able to find on FetLife.TRY FETLIFE
A pretty fair amount of people who used Craigslist in the past flocked over to Locanto out of desperation and as a result, the platform still has its own community of individuals who are into dating/hookups on their personals section. Locanto is slightly less moderated than a lot of larger apps/sites and this means that you can typically expect to be able toget away with much raunchier post titles and photos. Unfortunately they still have a policy against nude photos so if you’re thinking of showing yourself completely bare here, it is probably smarter to not even try. The user-pool is not great and as the site has gotten older, it has filled up with fake profiles and scammers. If you can weed through the trash, you may just be able to find somebody worth meeting or hooking up with. Beware though that there are quite a few bait-and-switch operations going on through this site in certain regions.TRY LOCANTO
Lastly, we’ll be discussing Reddit’s “R4R” sections which it holds in various cities. If you don’t know, Reddit also implemented a sort of classified ads-like system for many major cities with the biggest one being for all of Southern California. As far as legitimacy goes, this platform might just be the most legitimate one there is. Reddit is heavily moderated and because of this, it is quite difficult for spammers, scammers, and bots to get away. I should also point out that Reddit users are typically more internet-savvy than a lot of folks and this means that many catfishes or scammers won’t even bother with the platform. When it works, you could even argue that Reddit should be number 1 on this list. Unfortunately though, the communities are still pretty small outside of the main regions and not many people are using it in suburban areas. There’s obviously also very little photo sharing on Reddit which makes it slightly more comparable to Craigslist as opposed to something more typical like Tinder as it pertains to dating and hookups. It’s great when it works, the problem is that it only works to people in the big cities. If you do end up meeting with someone from Reddit, make sure you get your Bluechew or Hims ready because Reddit users are about it.TRY REDDIT R4R
What About Dating Apps As An Alternative To Craigslist Personals?
If you were to ask the average person what they suggest to use now that CP is gone, they’ll likely point you in the direction of Tinder, Grindr, or any other app that is meant for people to use for hookups. While on the surface they may look like good alternatives, sadly most people report that using these applications are a complete waste of time. Other studies even show that even some of the most attractive men on Tinder have a hard time getting matches due to the complete lopsidedness of the user-base. There are just far too many men on many of these apps meaning that the girls can become extremely picky and selective. Most 6/10 girls get treated as if they are 9/10 and as a result, they start feeling as if this is actually the case in reality. Situations like these absolutely spoil the user experience for most regular people and have made a lot of these dating apps pretty toxic. Guys quickly learn that through using Tinder (or any other app) the top 10% of guys share 90% of the women while everyone else is left with the scraps. These are not good odds for most guys and this means that they’re not worth using.
However, this can potentially be a good thing for women. Because there are just so many thirsty guys on a lot of these platforms, it tilts the odds heavily in your favor and a female can become so picky on Tinder that she can narrow it down to the best half-dozen men out of a group of 500 and she will likely match a good percentage of them. So while Tinder is not a great choice for the average guy, it is more than sufficient for at least 80% of women out there. If you’d like to keep it strictly online, you can even check out some sites like Chaturbate.
Craigslist Personals Replacements That Aren’t Scams
One of the biggest things to be aware of when looking for these replacements or substitutes is that there are just so many phoney sites only looking to make a quick buck and potentially lead you on. It’s critical that you try your best to read a lot of review; at the time of this article being written, most of the sites I’ve recommended have a pretty small percentage of fake profiles or scammers. However, if you decide to go in a different direction and try something relatively unheard of, be wary and try to avoid inputting your credit card information in sites that don’t look entirely legitimate. Remember that the safest bet is to almost always go with the big fish when it comes to these things and remember that there are a ton of fake profiles on the internet, regardless of the platform.
What Happened to Craigslist Personals?
In March 2018, the U.S. Senate passed HR 1865, “FOSTA” (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act). The new law holds personals sites criminally liable when their services are abused by third parties. Therefore, Craigslist could face lawsuits if users get stalked, killed or sold into prostitution through the personals section.
Craigslist stated that the new law could lead to a shutdown of the entire site. To protect all their other services, Craigslist folded the personals section upon the law’s passage. This same law also caused backpage to be shutdown and created a huge rise in the number of backpage alternatives.
Will Craigslist Personals come back?
The Craigslist Personals section is highly unlikely to ever be reinstated. As a general classifieds site with millions of users worldwide, Craigslist lacks the centralized resources to eliminate the types of abuse that occurred in the personals section. Sites like AFF and Ashley Madison are better equipped to deal with FOSTA. Even Seeking Arrangement (which is not necessarily a traditional dating site) is better equipped.
Is There Anything Truly Identical To Craigslist Casual Encounters/Personals?
Unfortunately, Craigslist Personals will always be a one-of-a-kind platform and I’m not sure we’ll ever find something truly like it again. The days of using it to find romance and/or hookups are behind us and we’ll probably forever remember them as the golden days. That doesn’t mean that dating is worse or better today (and that is up for debate) but it does mean that it is different. While some people view that to be a good thing, a lot of people see it in a negative light but in the end, we will likely all adapt as we have done so for decades before. Ultimately most of these platforms get to the same end objective as Craigslist once did; they just do it in a different fashion which doesn’t make it a bad thing. The good thing is that some of the newer sites are extremely versatile – you can find interracial dating sites, married dating sites, and even herpes dating sites.
The Kind Of People You Will Meet When Using Sites Like Craigslist Personals
As we mention in most of our articles that cover dating platforms, one of the most important things to consider when using a dating site is what kind of people you’ll be meeting/chatting with, and what these people are generally looking for. If you are the type of person that’s looking for marriage and to hold off from sex for a few dates, then you definitely don’t want to sign up for Tinder or AFF. Conversely, if you’re someone that is just looking for a ONS and to keep things as casual as possible, then you certainly don’t want to register for anything like eHarmony.
If you’ve ever used Craigslist Personals when it was still around (which you probably have), then you would know that the vast majority of people used it to find hookups and those are the kinds of websites we tried our best at finding for this list. To be fair, there were a handful of people who actually found longterm relationships with Craigslist and some even got married, but hookups is what the personals section of Craigslist was notorious for. These sites that we’ve recommended on our list are mainly adored by hookup enthusiasts, if you will.
Avoiding Tinder And Mainstream Dating Sites That Don’t Quite Replicate Craigslist Personals
Many other lists that outline the best craigslist personals substitutes might mention mainstream dating platforms such as Tinder, Bumble, eHarmony, or Match as being viable options as alternatives to what Craigslist once offered. This really couldn’t be much further from the truth; the mainstream dating platforms work against you (especially if you’re a guy) and exist only to drain you of every penny you have to your name. After all, these are private businesses trying to make a profit by having you register for their premium memberships. This isn’t to say that it is totally impossible to find a hookup on Tinder, but rather that the interaction will never be as pure as it would have been on Craigslist. There are also a lot of serious concerns surrounding these dating apps – this can be things like catfishes, scammers, liars, and algorithms working against you.
Craigslist truly offered a unique dating experience. The personals section of the site offered something for everybody; if you were looking for a hookup, you could find it. If you were in search of a long term relationship or even just a friend, you could find it. The new dating apps have somewhat ruined the dating marketplace and have left many in a position of weakness that they would not have otherwise found themselves in when using Craigslist.
Will Craigslist Personals Ever Come Back?
Nobody has a clear answer to this question, but it is quite unlikely that the personals section of Craigslist will ever come back. From a business perspective, it seems that it just doesn’t make sense for Craigslist to continue with that sector of its business. The online dating marketplace has also become so saturated with platforms like Bumble, Tinder, Match, and even escorting platforms that Craigslist personals would no longer be as popular as it once was anyways.
What made Craigslist Personals so special was that it felt much more real than what online dating feels like today. Dating through Craigslist personals back in the day felt like passing notes with your crush in class. It was possible to meet very down-to-earth people who didn’t have any expectations. These days online dating has become extremely difficult for the vast majority of men and it feels more like a meat-market than anything.
The Bottom Line: These Are The Best Craigslist Personals Alternatives & Substitutes Of The Year
Again – there will probably never be anything like CP ever again, but the alternatives we’re presented with are good enough to carry on its legacy. The beautiful thing about being alive in the 21st century is that in most aspects of life, we are granted with a plethora of options and choices. Today we can choose from hundreds of different hookup and personals sites and we have the opportunity to really narrow it down to the ones we enjoy using the most. In the beginning of the internet age, people did not have this luxury that we have today.
All of these sites we’ve discussed have their pro’s and their con’s, their positives and negatives. For the most part, you’ll find that you can find a great time and partner(s) on basically each of these platforms, but your numbers will vary depending on your location and which site you elect to go with long term. Whatever you decide to use remember to be safe and to always use your head when making these choices!