Many local newspapers still publish personal ads. Additionally, some singles magazines publish personal and dating ads or have singles directories. Singlesmall.com provides a list of publications for singles where people may be able to find personal ads.
Online classifieds such as Craigslist.org or Classifiedsads.com also have sections where the public can place personal ads for free.
Personal ads date back to the early 1700s, when men used matrimonial agencies and placed ads in local newspapers searching for a wife. They were once considered shameful but became more mainstream in the 20th century when servicemen started using them to find pen pals to write to while away during wartime.