How NOT to sell an item on Audiogon

Lately I've been doing a lot of shopping on our favorite website, Audiogon, and I have noticed a few trends in ads for gear here posted by our fellow members. So, I thought it might be interesting to point out a few things that I see way too often. I'm not trying to provoke anyone, after all we are not professional advertisers, I'm just trying to show things from a shopper's point of view, in a tongue in cheek kind of way. So if you are offended, then loosen your tie a bit, and don't be so serious.

1.Don't worry about photos. No one really wants to see your item anyway. They trust you so no one suspects that you could be hiding the fact that your gear is beat up and scratched to hell. Or if you have photos, but don't know where they are, go ahead and start your listing now, with the promise of photos later. After all, first impressions aren't that important, they'll come back and look again next week since they have nothing else to do. And just because you're asking thousands for that old amp is no reason to move it, or even wipe the dust off of it, just take a picture of it stuffed back into that dark cabinet, as long as they see the outline of the gear no reason you should be bothered to show the back or sides. It's only ten thousand dollars, do those details really matter?

2. Now for a description, yes it's much more important to wax poetic about how much you love this gear, than it is to actually post its specs. I mean, if a shopper is serious, they can take 30 minutes of their time to search the web to see if your amp is a good match for their speakers. It's not like they don't have a hundred other amps to look at, after all, the sheer name of your amp demands respect! So save the digital ink and just post a link to the specs! So all the shopper has to do is leave this website and go to another, and find his way back and find his place where he left off, I'm sure he won't skip it and move on to the next listing.

3. Reviews! Yes your gear has a glowing review that everyone should read! So just include the entire 6 page review right in your description! None of the other 6 reviews from other magazines are important, as long as they see this one! And without your help, no one who really wants to read a review on your gear could find them on their own.

4. It's important to identify yourself, especially if you are a high end salon! Go on for 6 paragraphs about what a great store you have, and all the brands you sell, no need to even mention the item you listed at all! The title is explanation enough.

5. Terms, yes we want to let them know your asking price. So let's also state the obvious just in case, so those pesky treasure hunters don't bother you! No one will want to trade a gold brick for your gear, so be sure to state "No trades". And be sure to state that you don't like low ball offers, those low ballers are just looking for an ad that doesn't state this important information, don't worry no one will think it condescending. And make sure the only payment you will honor is a bank wire, it's a heck of a lot of trouble to surf over to PayPal and open an account, just because it's the accepted currency of online sales is no reason to buy into the hype. And be sure to ask for more of a percentage to accept PayPal than they actually take, might as well make a few extra bucks right? In fact, adding that few percent to your "must have" price is a lot of math so just ask the buyer do it for you.

6. Shipping, we want to be sure we get paid for shipping, so just overstate the cost of shipping by $500 and then mention somewhere in the description that you will refund any unused money after the deal is complete. After all, you've given no one a reason to distrust you. Going to the UPS shipping calculator is a lot of trouble, so save yourself the time.

7. Lastly, you must threaten to not entertain any questions you do not feel are worthy of your time. Why waste your time telling a perspective buyer how tall your speakers are when they could google it and look it up themselves? After all, it's just money, who cares if it takes another two months for an interested person to enquire?

I'm sure I've left a few things out, but if you follow these rules, you are sure to waste yours and everyone else's time with an ad that won't sell, unless that is your goal. The wife said you've got to sell that gear! "Sorry dear, they just wouldn't sell?", well if that's the case, then I've got you covered, these simple rules will certainly help you not make a sale. Although, Audiophiles are a tenacious bunch, you might make a sale anyway! If your gear really is what another must have, they can be hard to turn off.

Before you get offended and bent all out of shape, this was just for your reading entertainment, if anyone you know resembles any of the people I've described, it's purely coincidental, and no animals were harmed in the writing of this post. All silliness aside, I have purchased many pieces from Audiogon and talked to many of its members, and I have had nothing but the best of experiences, all very nice folks. And before every purchase I have made, I always ask a simple question of the seller. If they are too high and mighty to answer my simple question, I shop elsewhere. There have been a few, but most were more than polite and courteous, and made a sale! Selling on Audiogon is not hard, just put yourself in the buyer's shoes, and make an ad that you would like to see if you were shopping for such an item.

Ok, what did I miss guys?
Funny and you make some good points.
Alpha_gt, most of this resonated with me. I mean dust on the equipment ... come on. Do you try to sell a car without detailing it? And what is it with pictures? Is it that hard to take decent pictures? Don't you notice that your pictures are too dark or too blurry before you post them? Make sure there's plenty of light. Jeez, you don't have to be Albert Porter to take pictures good enough for an ad.

And, "If you're reading this ad, you already know everything about the equipment so I don't need to tell you anything." You know what they say about first impressions ... and my first impression is that you're lazy.
Excellent post Russ.
Thanks for the good laugh, much of this is so true.
Selling should always involve buyer pick up, demonstrated operation ability of the item and payment in cash. All else is 'risky business'.
And be sure not to dust off the amplifier before you take flash photos.
Yes Alpha, You've missed one point mentioning that
Audiogon is the best place to sell your gear on the internet or is it really your favorite website?
Now you've gone and done it Alpha_gt. You have set the bar so high that you may hold a record that may never be broken. It will be no easy feat for anyone to ever be able to get their tongues so far into their cheeks. Nice post. Gotta love the truth(s).
I just love when a guy/gal post photos of his/her very expensive speakers either sideways or upside down.
Is it really that hard to "rotate" a picture before you post it & put it up for sale?

8. By all means, misspell the name and model of your item. Write "Theil CSS2.4". After all, you don't want people to find your item via a search of the manufacturer's name. Plus it makes you look really familiar with your item, and gives your buyers confidence that they're dealing with an expert.


10. Don't limit yourself to the brand and the model but include other editorial comments casting aspersions on other brands and touting your own item. Also include information on other items you've listed. This really captures the eye and makes your item easy to see.
Since you are an expert with four recorded transactions on the website I can only say that, as a group, we are pretty evenly split on the idea of listing specs in ads. Please see the thread addressing this here:

My apologies in advance for having wasted the time of members here with my non-conforming ads over the years and my apologies to those that traded in the print publication AudioMart, which preceded the invention of the internet for wasting their time as well.
There have been a few pieces I would have pursued but for the ad, which screamed " it won't be worth dealing with this problem child seller." For most stuff, it is a buyers market. Sellers do well to act accordingly.
I am trying to type, but; laughing uncontrollably is making it difficult.

How about listing: "Best Ever"', "Worlds Best", "Best of Show", "World Killer", "Best ____ in the World" - Wow the entire planet? Gosh, even though the item costs thousands of dollars...I gotta buy this up right now if the ad says its the best in the World!

Of course the average audiophile spends no time researching an item before they plunk down big bucks. And if its listed as a smoke free, child free environment; well that makes all the difference in the WORLD! Now if it listed in an environment where habitual bong use is occurring, that really has my interest. the satire.
(9) Only used once by a virgin princess...
Use generic pictures lifted from the manufacturer's website and/or only a picture of the shipping box. At all costs be sure not to specify which of the three factory colors the item you're selling comes in.

Rate the item a 7/10 but be entirely silent on the issue of why you gave it that score. If pressed, make sure only to use the phrase "slight blemish" without elaborating further.
"This won't last long".... After the ad has run three times.
" Local pickup only ".............
Drive to the spot in the woods where they thought the Lindberg baby was. Leave the the cash under a stone and your trunk open. When you return your 12,000 amp will be there. No PayPal fee.
"Handcrafted by (insert name)"... pathetic attempts to elevate designers to some status beyond question,unless of course,"inside chassis still retains cigarette ash from the legendary Tim Paravacini" ....Yeah,he blamed it on the dog.
Can't tell you how many times I have come home and found my dog smoking a cigar and playing records.
I'm glad most of you got a good laugh out of it! To be honest, I was concerned that the moderator might not post it. But, I figured nothing ventured nothing gained. Yes Audiogon is my favorite sight, if only by the amount of time spent on it. I usually scan items for sale, or looking at this forum as I fall to sleep every night, dreaming of my dream system. And thanks Viridian, I looked at your post on listing specs, and was surprised at the even division of those who did, and didn't think them necessary. But I agree, at least the main specs. If you leave out the slew rate, ok, but at least tell me how big the device is.

I had an issue with my login, there were areas of the website I couldn't get to, and working with Audiogon's exceptional customer support they fixed it! But, in doing so I lost my history, so, nothing showing more than a year and a half ago or more. And kudos to the support team, they really are top notch and worked hard for me. Knowledgable guys. But that's why I only show 4 purchases in my history.

The other reason and another large peeve of mine is those who do not report their sale to Audiogon. I hate to be a tattle so I haven't reported anyone, but I have made at least 3 purchases that I got no feedback for, as the seller didn't report the sale. Bad form, greed is ugly.

But thanks for all the kind words, and extra offenses that I didn't catch! Great stuff!
Post removed 
When listing cables of any type, be sure to describe how mellifluous they are, but omit any reference to their length either in the title or the description. Based on the photos alone (coiled only, please), audiophiles like a good guessing-game.

When listing any component, include three or four loving close-ups of the front panel, but do not even hint at what might be on the back. People on this site are not at all interested in exactly how it hooks up, the voltage, serial number, etc.
Enjoyed this post, Thanks!
I always laugh when sellers describe how great the item is that they are trying to sell.

If it is that great, then why sell it?

I guess I am trying to say that I would appreciate honesty from the seller on this point.

Otherwise very humorous thread.

Some translations from Audiogon ads, feel free to add more:

"Rarely seen for sale" -- (I was the only one dumb enough to buy one.)

"My reference piece of gear" -- (It was the most I could afford)

"Lightly used in my second home" -- (I don't have a second home)

"Highly rated" -- (by me, so why am I selling it?)
Dsper: The Item may still be great. I may need the money, the space or I just bought something to replace that item. It may be a smaller piece due to space considerations. I may have to sell due to a divorce or breakup (actually seen this happen). Summer in California and drought conditions where it is very hot and tube amps really aren't helping. Nothing wrong with saying it is great. If it is, it is.

I may still have to sell that great piece.

Unless, I can find some way to check the serial number or if the seller shows a copy of the receipt with the serial number on it, showing a picture of the back of the item with the serial number really doesn't help me. Unless I'm missing something here.

I do need to see how it can be hooked up, so a picture of the rear does help me.

I do have to say, that this post is funny to read, but I hope most aren't really serious in their responses. I mean, If I was really interested in purchasing XYZ amp, and enough information wasn't present in the add, I would contact the seller through Audiogon and ask questions or request further information.

I typically take pictures of my stuff for insurance purposes anyway. That is usually front and back (showing the serial number).

To sell something, I try to take pictures of the front, back, and sides as close as I can get. I may post the add first before taking the pictures and posting them later. Not the end of the world.

I'm not comfortable with showing the serial number. I don't know why, just not comfortable with that. too many scam artist out there I guess.

Another way to look at this problem is to propose the ideal ad. For me, this would include the following: Age, real audiogon condition rating, good pictures, reason for selling, Links to reviews are fine, if that is something AG permits.
Sounds like an Emotiva sales pitch! The truth is the only missing link.
Reasons for selling I get a kick out of:

Moving to a much smaller space, the closet.

Dog just had a litter of puppies.

Wife said no.

Used with only the best ancillary equipment, it has a brain with a memory.

Oh, unforeseen financial difficulty, didn't expect that after I forked out 20K, gee, now I must take a bath.

What I'd like to see one day:

Please, buy this over-priced piece-a-crap, I'm selling it over 60% off so I can buy a better sounding piece for 1/10 the price!
Thanks for all the positive responses, I was concerned that the moderator might not post it! But glad to see you guys had had some fun with it. And I enjoyed all the extra stuff I missed in my original post!

But while we had a laugh poking fun, it was my original intent to help folks create better ads to sell their stuff. But if I had written it that way, no one would have read it! Life is always better if we keep our sense of humor.
It's a bit off putting to see how the ads have evolved here on A'gon, along with the demands as to how business is conducted while at other sites it' still done the same old refreshing way.


All the best,
Nice thread, very appropriate. It's gotten worse over the years.

While it's nice to have a clean environment, I'm not close to OCD levels.  Still, nothing surprises me more than a person asking $6000 in an ad for a component that's covered in a blanket of dust.  Especially, when they include a bunch of photos.  If a person has 5 - 10 minutes to set up fairly decent shots, doesn't it seem strange they wouldn't take 5 minutes to get rid of the dust?  Again, not saying the gear wasn't taken care of, but it's also hard to think that it was
as a buyer i don't care how people list their thingies on the inrnet 
i can as perhaps anyone else make call, offer alternate price or fold.
as a seller i don't care how people list their thingies on the inrnet bcoz if anyone or many really post turd ads it's better for me to compete with good and detailed adds sometimes with videos.
Where is the classified section in this forum?
Where is the classified section?
I for one appreciate good photos of the actual component instead of stock pictures. The rest is to be taken with a grain of salt. Any smart buyer, will do their own research. 
Please stop responding to the 1st post, and answer my question. Where is the classified section???
Post removed 

You are kidding? If not, well...
Look at the Audiogon Home page Under New Today.
There is also a drop down box to explore the classifieds by category.

Wow what great info like most people don't know that well maybe they don't. Anyway thanks for the great tips.
There's an item on here that was posted yesterday, listed as "New" in the information box, that the seller then goes on to describe as purchased in 2012.  Huh?
Ok, first I have not ever sold on AGON but have purchased plenty. Here is what I look for in an ad. Pictures, front,sides, top and most importantly the BACK showing all connections clearly. Out of focus pics are useless. Next condition rating it’s got to match the pics and age of item. Detailed description, make offer option let’s me know seller is willing to talk. Immediate turn offs are, no pictures, price is higher than when the item was new. Pictures from brochures, " new" rating on a 2004 item, hardly ever used, no or 2 line description, slight minor cosmetic issues when pics are very much in conflict, misspellings, descriptions that show no actual knowledge of item. Moronic statements. No response to inquiries. And I could go on. I sometimes think that a seller is convinced that buyers do not know or haven't researched what they are looking at.
Thinking we are all morons. Hope this helps the moron seller!
I'm amazed at how bad some of the photos are in adds.

Especially when it comes to speakers:  Not only do speakers tend to come in different finishes from a manufacturer, but if it's a nice wood finish every finish can be unique.  So I really want to see a photo of what the darned speakers look like.  Not in dim lighting, slightly blurry, and under lighting that alters the color, etc.

At the point of your add, I'm not hearing your items, I'm looking at them.
And I have to know how they may look in my room.

I've tried to address the frustration I have with many audio adds when I produce my own adds to sell gear.  I'm sure we may have different criteria, but I actually like to see comment by the owner about his experience with the gear being sold. 

Here's a sample of one of my older adds.  It my well fall astray of some of the criteria others may like in an add.  But it fits what I like to see.
My goal was of course to get the speakers sold, but do so in as honest and helpful a way possible.  So I gave the exact reason I was selling them,  with a completely heartfelt description of their sound in my system, and with photos that were bang -on accurate in terms of what they looked like in person, so the finish could be inspected.

It must have been a decent add; I was immediately flooded with offers and they sold quickly.  Helps they were Harbeths, and beautiful speakers.


Rogue eBayer stumbles into the ‘Gon..

”PayPal add 3-4%”...

If I walked into your store would you have the audacity to charge me any additional fee for using a credit card???  (I know the fees charged by the credit card companies so...)

”...child free, smoke free, pet free home...”

Not necessarily a negative, perhaps even a positive in some respects, nonetheless to me a touch of TMI that has yet to sway a purchase. 

A while ago there had been a classified in the amp section that was OBVIOUSLY intended as a joke. The accompanying photo was of a DeLonghi oil filled electric space heater. The body of the ad was spot-on audiophilia describing in detail all one would expect.  I think the ad lasted a day or two before it was pulled.  Or sold. 

...”heavily modded...”

Frankly speaking I haven’t bought any equipment new or used that has been modded - for obvious reasons. Don’t trust ‘em.  Recently there was an ad here for a pair of Alon speakers- from a retailer - that had photos showing the drivers. It was glaringly obvious that one of the woofers, with a silver dust cap, was a replacement. And a poor one.  No mention of the difference.  Sheesh.  

Fun forum - keep it going!

Post removed 
I´m defending serious sellers and serious buyers here. For both there´s nothing wrong with Bank Transfer. PayPal is always risky business for sellers as it nearly always take buyers side. All honest sellers hate it because dishonest buyers misuse its annoying tedious dispute program. That´s why Money Transfer is the only safe way to sellers.
And why on earth feed greedy PayPal their ridiculous fees. PayPal is the biggest scam artist since communism. PayPal has ruined both Audiogon and eBay. Screw PayPal
Post removed 

There is risk all around (or should be). 

I typically would like buyers to come by, pay and pick up the unit.  That way, I can also connect it and they can sit and listen to their music to make sure it works correctly.  That is preferable.  I never sell anything unless I'm absolutely certain it works correctly.  When they come by, they must have agreed to the purchase before hand.  If they change their mind after hearing it, well okay, but I insist that they agree on the purchase first.

I am not a store.  when people mention stores and how stores shouldn't charge credit card fees.  Well, that is not true anyway.  Stores incorporate all of their fees into the price of what ever they are selling.  If they don't, they don't stay in business very long.

I don't like using paypay. 1) it is a serious pain in the bottom to use. 2) it charges the seller 3-4% of the selling price.  3) it protects the buyer and does not protect the seller at all.  The buyer can purchase an item, place their funds in the paypal escrow site, take possession,  connect it, decide they don't like it's looks or sound or whatever, and request a refund and get it from paypal.  Again, I'm not a store and don't pretend to be.  When I sell something, I describe it accurately, and it definitely looked and worked as I advertised it. 

Just because when a person got it to their house and they decided it wasn't a great fit in their system, should not be my problem if it worked as advertised.  If it doesn't work, there could be three reasons for that.  1) it was not working correctly when the person shipped it, or 2) the item was damaged in shipping, or worse, 2) the buyer damaged it after receiving it.  I know some that don't believe that they should be responsible for damage in shipping is the buyer insisted on shipping.  I partially agree with this.  If the buyer damaged the unit after receipt, for example, connected the amp and shorted the outputs (happens all the time), how is this my problem?  Well, paypal will not release the funds because the buyer said the unit didn't work. 

This is why I want people to come by and pick up the unit.

However, I have shipped items in the correct shipping containers with no issues.  Except once.  I shipped a McIntosh unit to the east coast for repairs and the glass was broken in shipping.  Have no idea how this could possibly happen. UPS gave me a complete runaround and I had to pay for new glass myself.  even though I had UPS insurance.  Who knew? 

So, yes, if a buyer insist on using paypal, I state clearly that if the buyer insist on using paypay, then they must pay the paypal fee.  plain and simple.  otherwise, drive over, listen to the unit actually work, pay me and take possession.

I also have no problem receiving a personal check from a buyer.  but, I will not ship (and inform buyers of this), until my bank tells me that the check has cleared.  There are risks to me for this as scams happen every day when phony checks are used and even fool banks. Until after I've shipped the unit and the bank tells me that check was bad.  Oh well,

So for those complaining that I add the paypay fee and charge buyer paypal fee.  I don't apologize for this.  I don't like or insist on using pay pay.  That is the buyer preference and if so, they should be prepared to pay the fee that pay pal imposes. 

Otherwise, come by and pick up the unit or pay using a personal check.

I don't rip off people.  I treat people as I want to be treated.  honestly and fairly. I know, I'm not everyone.  but, risk has to be minimized on both sides.  Paypal is entirely one sided.


I´m not a store either, just a common man trying to live in this chaotic world and doing my little business as an hobbyist and enjoy this wonderful hobby of music and Hi-Fi. Nothing more nothing less.
Bank Transfer is great for all normal (read honest) people. I usually trust people who have 100 % feedback. I have both bought and sold audio stuff (cartridges) and records with no complaints on eBay and Discogs for two years using Bank Transfer in most deals. Currently I have a NOS turntable part on eBay for sale and only for Bank Transfer, I have received a couple of offers but not yet a suitable one. It will sell soon. And PayPal bites dust.

When selling big money stuff, no normal seller really wants arrogant and faceless PayPal interfere in their very serious and honest business, not to mention their unreasonable fees. Honest sellers dearly hate using it due to disputes made by arrogant and dishonest buyers. Because of dispute on eBay due to a dishonest buyer (well eventually quite criminal as he tried to fool both eBay and PayPal, and that was his last mistake LOL) who tried to rip me off. And then PayPal tried to screw me by freezing my money for five weeks without no reason and nearly ruined my economy but never could because eBay finally after that five weeks battle were forced to admit that it was not my fault. Yes eBay protected me but PayPal never. Sad but true. What a shit business they are. But no body can con a honest man.
Apparently PayPal has successfully managed to create that absurd paranoia against the pay method that is competing (read normal Wire Transfer), different to theirs, as seen also in one post above. PayPal is garbage and I will never let them play games with me, ever again. We are all are happy family here till THEY screw you. PayPal is worse than communism and they don´t give a damn to you and me. They only care for their fat asses. Period.

"But no body can con a honest man."

If only that was true Harold...  
Roxy, It is possible as I have experienced. When you are 100 % honest, when you tell everything essential in your ad, take many sharp close photos and tell everything essential about your return and refund policy, your accepted paying methods. When they begin to accuse you, stay calm and just ignore they wrong statements. Always behave correctly, never use brutal language because you are under big magnifying class during that tedious and boring dispute process that may take weeks even months, just be patient. Like I did.
Never give up, don´t accept buyer´s and eBay´s or whoever unfair needs to change your initial policy for buyer´s favour as they certainly will try that. Buyers are arrogant because they know that these criminal systems will side them. Just don´t please anyone, just fight for your rights. Keep on telling them the same boring facts that are visible (photos) about your initial ad, again again and again. Simply stay true to YOURSELF no matter how eager they desire to weaken you. Don´t change your return policy, don´t change anything not a slightest bit.
When you have absolutely nothing to hide, you will never lose a case.
Good luck for all serious sellers, and buyer as well !
There is no substitute for a cash in hand purchase. I usually try to purchase items as close to me as possible, but unfortunately in this world of hi fi, that’s not always possible. Items like large speakers, I would not dream of having them shipped. I drove two states down to buy my speakers, worth the drive! For one, the shipping costs are exorbent. And after they’ve scraped your speakers up or knocked something loose from rough handling, they don’t want to cover it. I had a dispute with UPS over speaker damage, they ran a fork lift tang through the cabinet! And then declared it wasn’t packed correctly. Even after I convinced them with a photo, they only refunded half the money because only one speaker was damaged! Like. What do I want with one speaker? Some of the risks we take when buying expensive gear to be shipped, by gorillas who don’t want to honor their own insurance policy, to protect you from them! Who does that? If they damage your goods, they should make it right, without you having to buy insurance to protect you from them, which they don’t want to pay out on, even when evidence is overwhelmingly their fault.  I’ve had a lot of gear damaged, my tuner was dropped so hard it knocked the meters out of the face, and my Krell amp has a bent fin. The ordeal over the speaker was a nightmare, and only the deligence Of the seller got it done. That doesn’t begin to address the problem with dishonest sellers or buyers. At least sellers have a rating, buyers ratings are not as informative. Beware the exotic gear that’s less than half what it should sell for from some Eastern Block County, who demands a wire transfer.  Or a buyer who has a history of leaving bad feedback to otherwise clear sellers. Audiogon has done a great job of helping us conduct business in a friendly and safe manner. Nothing is foolproof, and there are always dishonest people trying to get around the system. But for the most part, I’ve been very happy with all purchases I’ve made here on Audiogon.