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Craigslist pulled its Personals section in response to the combined Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act that Congress passed back in March 2018.[1] That law makes websites criminally and civilly liable for any misuse of personal ads by their users. The Missed Connections community lives on, though, under the Craigslist Community section.
As these ads go offline, we spoke to a 25-year-old man in New York who used Craigslist’s personal ads — specifically the casual encounters section — as a way of finding casual sex in his early 20s. He spoke to us on condition of anonymity, because, well, that’s what Craigslist personals were all about. It’s part of what made them successful, he thinks.
What is a note about happy couples doing in a move made in response to a bill to fight sex trafficking? Well, this is the vast possibility and danger of Craigslist. For decades, it’s been the place where someone might find the perfect or most horrible roommate; a steal of a couch or total piece of junk; casual sex or even a spouse. One of my oldest childhood friends, for example, posted a Craigslist ad back in the mid-2000s and met her husband. Now they’re expecting their second child!
Recently I saw an ad on TV with a testimonial from some couple that got married after having met on a dating site. It reminded me of how blessed I am to have met my wife as a DIRECT RESULT OF one of your sites. It also occurred to me that as I approach my 5th wedding anniversary in February, I have yet to officially let your organization know about our success. I wanted to share them with you.
Elite Singles caters to college-educated, commitment-oriented singles who want to meet their peers. More than 80% of its users have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 90% of them are looking for a long-term relationship. A majority of Elite Singles users are also at least 30 years old, so you definitely won’t be around the hookup crowd here. The site has reputation on its side as well — over 2,500 people find love on Elite Singles every month.
Most things about this site are pretty good and standard. But there are a couple of issues I think need to be addressed. I have noticed that I just cannot send certain messages, or I cannot send messages at all, to certain people. Pof should, in no way, get to decide, or even provide provisions to not allow people to just message certain people. Just like in real life, people surprise you and turn out to not be what you expected and possibly someone you turn out to be interested in. The feature that prevents you from messaging certain people because ‘you’re not what they’re looking for’ should be removed. The people responsible for controlling certain aspects of this app do not have any interest in your personal endeavors and should not restrict the parameters of those endeavors as they are not aware of anything that pertains to a reasonable decision to act on anything more than the basics. You’re not Cupid’s or match makers.. you’re a bunch of people who know software enough to have that job. Therefore none of your decisions should play into any kind of restrictions placed on me or any other user. You’re providing a service. What good is your service when it prevents people from doing what they reasonably expected they could? Not good is the answer.
Objective, non-emotional answer: Where will past users of Craigslist personals now go? Probably OkCupid or Bumble. I think that these two platforms have very much established themselves as data-based, efficient modes of matching. As they have gained popularity over the past few years, I think that they have cut into Craigslist’s market share - since Craigslist is essentially just a newsgroup that doesn’t offer a whole lot of functionality. Accordingly, I don’t think that this closure will displace a lot of folks.
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