Craigslist Dating: The Rise, Fall, and Alternatives

Doublelist Team

June 28, 2023 10 minutes read
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There’s no doubt that online dating culture is evolving. Once upon a time, Craigslist dating was the place to find local romance, fast. You could write a personal ad and connect with other singles almost instantly within the Craigslist community. With users posting over 80 million ads monthly on the platform, plenty of singles were active.

Since Craigslist dating is no longer available, many alternatives exist for fast connections. In this article, we’ll explore the rise and fall of Craigslist and provide alternative platforms offering a similar service. Whether you want quick sex or to meet local singles, there’s a dating platform available for you to use.

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What Was Craigslist Dating Personals?

Craigslist Dating Personals was a section where users could post and respond to personal ads for dating and casual encounters. People would create text-based ads with details about themselves, seeking various relationships with people in the local area. You could also access Craigslist’s personals section offline, allowing you to date without an internet connection.

Categories included “Men Seeking Women,” “Women Seeking Men,” “Men Seeking Men,” and more. Users could also respond to ads through Craigslist’s email relay system, maintaining privacy.

However, Craigslist shut down the Personals section in 2018 due to legal concerns posed by the FOSTA-SESTA legislation.

Why Were Craigslist Dating Personals So Popular?

Craigslist dating personals were popular due to the platform’s simplicity and direct approach. Users could skip the dating phase and move straight on to sexual encounters with little effort. It was easy to connect with same-minded people seeking fun within the local area.

The section’s wide range of categories catering to diverse preferences and orientations made it popular. Users could find potential partners without the complexities of traditional dating sites while skipping awkward conversations about fetishes and intimacy.

Why Is Craigslist Dating No Longer Available?

Craigslist Dating is no longer available due to legal reasons. The FOSTA-SESTA legislation passed in 2018 was the leading cause of removing the Craigslist dating personals section.

Craigslist took this action to avoid potential legal risks and liability for hosting user-written personal ads. The removal of Craigslist Personals was a global action for all countries.


How Has Craigslist Dating Changed Online Dating Culture?

Craigslist Dating has had a monumental impact on online dating culture. Here are a few ways it’s had an impact on the dating landscape.

The Craigslist Dating Site Was An Alternative Platform

The Craigslist dating site provided an alternative platform for online dating outside of traditional dating websites and apps. It offered a more casual approach to connecting with potential partners, attracting individuals who preferred a different online dating style.

The Craigslist Dating App Offered Diversity and Accessibility

The Craigslist dating app welcomes users from diverse backgrounds, orientations, and relationship preferences. It was a space for individuals seeking various relationships, including casual encounters, long-term partnerships, and everything in between. Whether you were looking for luxury dating or a casual experience, Craigslist dating ads had it all.

Craigslist Singles Dating Casually Had Anonymity and Discretion

Craigslist’s anonymous email relay system allowed Craigslist singles dating casually to maintain privacy and communicate without revealing personal contact information. This feature appealed to those who preferred certain discretion or were cautious about sharing personal details online.

Unconventional Connections on Personal Dating Ads, Craigslist “Missed Connections”

“Missed Connections” for personal dating ads (Craigslist) let users to connect with individuals they already met. It created a unique opportunity for romantic or serendipitous connections.

The User-Driven Experience of Craigslist Dating

Craigslist Dating was made using user-generated content. Users were free to create ads according to their preferences, share their experiences, and connect directly with others. This user-driven approach allowed for a more organic and diverse dating experience.

Alternatives To Craigslist Dating: From Hookup Apps to Serious Platforms

Despite Craigslist Dating Personals closing for good, plenty of alternative platforms offer a similar experience. These include the ability to post personal ads and search in categories.

If you’re looking for an alternative way to date, look no further! Here are the best dating platforms for hookups and casual encounters.

Better than Craigslist Dating: Doublelist

Doublelist is the better alternative to Craigslist dating personals. You can write your ads in categories like “Guys for Women, Women for Women, and Guys for Guys”. You can also explore fetish categories, including “Hookups”, “Married”, and “Bondage”.

What makes Doubelist better than Craigslist dating personals is the active moderation on the platform. This eliminates spam and fake ads to enhance the user experience while promoting safety.

Other features that make Doublelist better than Craigslist dating personals are:

Better User Interface

Doublelist offers a more modern and user-friendly interface than the simplistic design of Craigslist. It also provides a smoother browsing and posting experience for users.



Doublelist is optimized for mobile devices. This makes it convenient for users to access and use the platform on smartphones and tablets.

Greater Focus on Relationships

Doublelist emphasizes a focus on relationships rather than casual encounters. While Craigslist dating personal ads did cater to various relationship preferences, Doublelist aims to foster more meaningful connections.

Growth and Active Userbase

Doublelist has gained popularity and has an active user base. This increases the chances of finding compatible matches or connections in your local area.

2. The Most Similar to Craigslist Dating: Locanto

Locanto is a global online classified ads platform where users can post ads for various categories, including personals. It provides a space for individuals to connect with others for dating, relationships, and casual encounters.

Like Craigslist dating personal ads, Locanto allows users to create and browse personal ads based on their preferences. You can also search based on the types of connections you are seeking. Users can specify their interests, describe themselves, and outline what they seek in a potential partner or encounter.

Locanto operates in multiple countries and cities worldwide, providing access to a diverse user base. It offers features like photo uploads, messaging options, and search filters to help users find suitable matches or connections.

Here are the best features of Locanto:

Wide Reach

Locanto operates globally, providing access to users from various countries and cities. This extensive reach increases the chances of finding potential matches or connections from diverse backgrounds.

Diverse Categories

Locanto offers various categories to cater to different preferences and interests. Whether seeking a romantic relationship, casual encounters, or friendship, you can find relevant categories to connect with like-minded individuals.

User-Friendly Interface

Locanto has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate and browse through ads. Users can quickly search for specific categories, filter results, and customize their search preferences to find suitable matches.

Photo Uploads

Locanto allows users to upload photos to enhance their personal ads. Adding visuals can increase the chances of attracting attention and making a positive impression on potential partners or connections.

Messaging System

Locanto provides a messaging system that allows users to communicate with each other directly within the platform. This feature enables secure and convenient communication without revealing personal contact information until both parties are comfortable.

Free to Use

Locanto is free to use for creating and browsing personal ads. This accessibility makes it an appealing option for individuals who want to connect without financial barriers.

3. Craigslist Dating But For Love: Oodle

Oodle is a generic personal ads platform that doesn’t focus on dating. Similarly to Craigslist dating personals, Oodle has many categories, including Real Estate, Cars, and Rentals. Oodle’s personal ads category connects similar local people. With Oodle, you can create personal ads complete with a photo to attract other members.

Oodle’s only issue is that it has two broad categories “Men Seek Women” and “Women Seek Men”. As of 2023, there’s no option to browse same-sex relationships. If you’re seeking this, try Double List instead.

Here are the top features of Oodle:

Enhanced Search Functionality

Oodle provides advanced search options, allowing users to refine their search based on specific criteria. These include factors like location and personal preferences. This helps individuals find relevant listings more efficiently.

User-Friendly Interface

Oodle offers a user-friendly interface, making navigating and browsing listings easy. Users can quickly find and view relevant personal ads, saving time and effort.

Social Media Sharing

Oodle allows users to share personal listings on social media platforms. This expands the reach of their ads and potentially attracts more connections.

Nationwide Coverage

Oodle operates globally, providing coverage for users looking to post personal ads to find casual encounters or relationships.

Free to Use

Oodle is free for posting and browsing ads, allowing users to connect and date people in their local area.

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4. For Hookups: Adult Friend Finder

Adult Friend Finder is an online platform for individuals seeking casual and hookup connections and encounters. It is one of the world’s largest adult dating and hookup sites and is bigger than Craigslist dating personals.

Membership and Profile Creation

Users can create profiles on Adult Friend Finder, providing information about themselves and their preferences. This allows individuals to find like-minded people for various sexual relationships, including casual encounters, friends with benefits, or long-term connections.

Advanced Search and Matching

Adult Friend Finder offers a robust search and matching system. Users can search for potential partners depending on location, age, interests, and physical attributes. This helps individuals find compatible matches that align with their preferences.

Communication Tools

Adult Friend Finder provides various communication features to facilitate interaction among users. These include private messaging, chat rooms, and video chat, enabling members to connect and converse with other users.

Adult-oriented Content

Adult Friend Finder allows users to share and view adult-oriented content such as photos, videos, and live streams. This aspect distinguishes it from traditional dating platforms and caters to individuals seeking adult-oriented experiences.

Community and Events

Adult Friend Finder has a vital community aspect with forums, blogs, and member-generated content. It also organizes events and parties for members to socialize and meet in person.


Ready to Find Connections? Sign up For Doublelist!

Craigslist dating personals have influenced the evolution of online dating.  More and more of us are choosing to post personal ads. If you’re ready to skip the small talk and find connections fast, choose Doublelist.

Our categories, including “Hookups,” “Muscular,” and “Bondage,” allow you to find people in your local area. With 248 locations, Doublelist can find you the perfect match. Whether you want a serious relationship or a casual encounter, we cater to everyone.

At Doublelist, we also pride ourselves on keeping our users safe. We carefully sift through every personal ad to eliminate spam and fake ads. With us, you can guarantee you’re talking to a real person who wants to meet in real life.

Still need convincing? Browse our popular interests and categories here to see whether we cater to your needs. Check out the 248 cities our users are active in to see whether Doublelist can cater to you.

If you like this article, check out the Doublelist blog – we regularly post content about finding relationships online.

Unlock your wildest fantasies and connect with locals today!

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