After the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), Craigslist closed its personals section. Later on, Backpage was seized and shut down by the FBI. Since the closure, the users of those two sites who are looking for love and hookup have been searching for alternative sites on the Internet. According to the statistics from Google, the number of searches for keywords like “craigslist personals alternative” and “backpage alternative” has increased 100 times respectively in March compared with the previous monthly searches. Cragly, the first dating app alternative to Craigslist personals, has been launched to cater to this group of people.
The controversial bill was intended to fight sex trafficking. However, it has a lot of negative impacts and hurts those people who are using Craigslist and Backpage for good reasons. Recently, sex workers’ safety (https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/10/health/sex-workers-craigslist-personals-trafficking-bill/index.html) is highly concerned by the public, while those people who used Craigslist personals to find love and hookup are ignored. After losing Craigslist personals, many people took to social media to express their disappointment. When searching “Craigslist Personals” on Twitter, the tweets like the following ones can easily be found.
• “I was hoping to find the love of my life, but they closed down the Craigslist personals.”
• “I could be dating people. And yet, Craigslist doesn’t have a personals section any longer.
• I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DATE WITHOUT CRAIGSLIST PERSONALS. What do I do?”
• “What’s the alternative to Craigslist personals? I’m asking for myself.”
In March, a social networking Switter had been launched for sex workers. While people who are looking for love and hookup have been ignored, Cragly was created by a former Craigslist personals user aiming to be an alternative to Craigslist personals.
“FOSTA has forced many sites to close. It’s not only a disaster to those sites, but also a disaster to those users using them legally,” said Alesandra Madison, the co-founder of Cragly. “As a kinkster, I had been using Craigslist personals to find kinky friends for nine months. There were so many people using Craiglist personals to date or hook up with others. Many of them used it instead of dating apps like Tinder because of privacy issues. Cragly was born to cater to their demand.”
Cragly works similar to Craigslist personals. Creating an account is simple and it can be done with one step. There is no Facebook login needed. Users just need to fill out their nickname, email address, and password. Once the account is created, the user can create a personal AD and send it for approval. If users don’t create any AD, others will not be able to see them on the app. After the AD is approved, it will show up on the app and all users can view it. Users can browse all ADs in any city and chat with the people whom they are interested in.
“Almost all dating apps copied the swiping feature of Tinder. Some people have been tired of swiping on them,” said Alesandra. “Cragly can not only be an alternative to Craigslist personals, but also an alternative to the existing dating apps.”
Unlike Craigslist, Cragly doesn’t allow its users to post nude photos. When you first enter into the app, there is a note notifying you that Cragly follows FOSTA and it’s not a sex app. Sex workers are not allowed to join Cragly.