More than double the number of men self-selected to complete the online pre-screener and, from this pool of potential participants, a significantly higher proportion of those who our staff were able to schedule via phone ultimately showed for their face-to-face assessment.
These findings suggest online pre-screening is a useful tool to offer potential participants when recruiting in a virtual environment. This approach suggests that participants who first complete a brief research study component are more likely than others to participate in a more intensive research component.
In turn, this may improve overall external validity. Our findings, however, should be understood in light of several limitations. Craigslist also maintains other listings e. Although we have data on the number of potential participants who responded via email to our ad on Craigslist, we do not know how many men viewed our ad.
Craigslist has automated filters preventing inclusion of a phone number or URL as text ; however, it is possible to embed this information as part of a photo i. Craigslist is moderated by its users and our posts were not necessarily germane to the bulletin board i. Some of our ads were flagged for removal by the Craigslist community, particularly those posted in the borough of Queens.
Further, although we adapted time-space sampling to maximize exposure of our ads, the physical location of our office in Manhattan may have precluded some participants in other boroughs from participating.
We noted high attrition in our efforts to reach MSM online for face-to-face assessments; however, this appears to be common across studies and with a wide range of variability. Similarly, Fernandez et al. However, given that recruitment often takes place in steps, there are many places where attrition can occur.
For example, more than half of the men who responded to our ads via email never took further initiative to join the study.
We do not have data on these men, but suspect that upon learning more i. Project staff reached out to these men multiple times to reschedule. More often than not, these calls went directly to voicemail and our emails were not returned.
We do not have sufficient tracking data on men who did not show to determine if there were differential reasons for no-show based on whether men self-selected to complete the online survey first or called us directly. Participants were recruited using an adapted method of time-space sampling.
An advantage of time-space sampling is its systematic approach for capturing location-based populations; however, it has the potential to oversample those who frequent venues of recruitment. Traditionally, time-space sampling involves actively approaching participants e. This allowed us to reach a broader population of the Craigslist community, by including men who browse through ads but may have not posted one themselves [ 7 ]. Future research should investigate if active versus passive approaches online result in different response rates and sample characteristics.
Our randomization schema was determined in part based on resources available to see participants during face-to-face assessments we limited randomization to two postings a week. As a result, our postings to Craigslist were randomized over an extended period of time. Nevertheless, geographic location should also be considered. A benefit to researchers is that they can use Craigslist to target ads in specific cities and areas within cities e.
However, it may be less feasible to recruit MSM in non-urban areas on Craigslist, where Craigslist communities may be less active. Researchers seeking to work in non-urban areas should first identify if the number of postings in their targeted city seems adequate—number of postings is a useful indicator of overall activity.
Similarly, it may not be feasible for researchers to conduct nationwide studies using Craigslist, which would require staff to manually and singly post ads in hundreds of locales.
Despite these limitations, this study provides an important contribution for researchers seeking to recruit MSM online to take part in face-to-face assessments [ 1 — 3 ]. We found that it may be important to provide potential participants with enrollment options such as calling directly or completing a brief online pre-screener—with most selecting the latter.
Although online pre-screening ultimately involved more steps in getting a participant enrolled in the study, it was a useful tool to offer potential participants when recruiting in a virtual environment. We do not suggest researchers use online pre-screening solely, as this may deter certain sets of participants who prefer other enrollment options.
For example, it appeared that older men were more likely to call us directly; however, this association was marginally significant. Taken together, this finding suggests it is important for researchers to investigate and report on the success of various recruitment messages. Finally, more research would be needed to determine the reasons why the online pre-screener route was selected more often, and why, from this pool of potential participants, a significantly higher proportion of those who our staff were able to schedule via phone ultimately showed for their face-to-face assessment.
Acknowledgements to the study team: Vial and the recruitment staff. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Author manuscript; available in PMC Feb 1.
Jimenez , 2 and Jeffrey T. Parsons , PhD 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Open in a separate window. Conclusion Despite these limitations, this study provides an important contribution for researchers seeking to recruit MSM online to take part in face-to-face assessments [ 1 — 3 ].
Recruiting drug using men who have sex with men in behavioral intervention trials: A comparison of Internet and field-based strategies. The internet and HIV study; design and methods. The Internet as recruitment tool for HIV studies: Meta-analytic examination of online sex-seeking and sexual risk behavior among men who have sex with men. The Internet as a valuable tool for promoting a new framework for sexual health among gay men and other men who have sex with men.
Collecting behavioral data using the world wide web: J Epidemiol Commun H. Risky sex- and drug-seeking in a probability sample of men-for-men online bulletin board postings. J Gay Les Soc Serv. Methods for estimating HIV seroprevalence and risk factors among young men who have sex with men. Time-space sampling in minority communities: Results with young Latino men who have sex with men. Am J Public Health. Recruiting hard-to-reach drug-using men who have sex with men into an intervention study: Lessons learned and implications for applied research.
Support Center Support Center. Unlike Facebook or Google, however, Craigslist has always been simple to a fault, refusing to employ advanced AI to root out problematic posts. To some extent, Craigslist can shut down its personals because it has a business model that exists outside of the section, explains Josh Millard, moderator of the community blog MetaFilter.
But back to me. Where am I supposed to go for companionship now? I met sex partners and lifelong friends. Even today, I stay in touch with guys I met on the Craigslist personals. We act as a support system to talk out problems with our partners or just to rehash things we tried sexually in the past and how we could explore them with their current partners. For others, like year-old Evan, Craigslist was simply an efficiency play. Where do I go? Like me, he explains, many of his clients entered the world of gay sex via Craigslist because the platform made it easy and anonymous for straight guys to experiment.
Before long, though, Craigslist itself became the destination, like the anteroom of a virtual bathhouse. So perhaps the deep sense of loss I and other men are feeling says more about the weight we place on online connections than anything else.
As IRL gay bastions have gone away, he explains, the need for gayborhoods has expanded into virtual communities. The gayborhood went virtual and spread across the city.12 Apr I was an early enthusiast of the Craigslist M4M personals section when it down on sex trafficking of children by holding websites liable for the illegal . We act as a support system to talk out problems with our partners or just. 23 Mar Men and women looking to hook-up via Craigslist are in for a on its platform, meaning they are unable to keep the personals section of the website open. “ To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through. Studies suggest between 40%–53% of MSM seek sex partners online, Much research on Internet-based MSM has recruited on membership-based websites such as In New York City (NYC), the men-seeking-men section is extremely.