When Bad Things Happen To Good Dolls–or “How Not To Sell Your Item”

Hello everybody, I bet you thought I’d forgotten about my Bad Ebay posts–NEVER!  It just takes a while sometimes to come up with enough bad listings to make a good post.  After I did the last one in October, it was really slow, but all of those folks looking to make a quick buck to pay for Christmas more than made up for it.  Are you ready?!?!?!

Sometimes when I look at a listing, I just have to shake my head.  I’ve been selling things off and on via Ebay for about 15 or so years, and I’m just going to tell you that pictures are everything.  Back when I first started selling, pictures were optional, but I noticed almost immediately that the items that commanded the highest prices included a photo.  Several years ago Ebay made it mandatory to include a photo with anything you were selling.  I think that was a terrific idea as I’m sure there were unscrupulous folks out there who were trying to sell air.  However, they made no rules about the photo being good or even halfways decent, and that does pose a problem.  So many people think that selling things on Ebay is a piece of cake.  Let me tell you right off the bat that it isn’t.  But having good descriptions and good photos of your items will help make it less of a struggle and help you to get a decent price.  My selections for today’s post seem to have missed that little detail…


First thing is to clear a nice spot to take the photos at and remove all of the items not related to the item being sold to avoid confusion.

This first photo was from a listing sent to me by Jen of The Dolls Between Us.  We couldn’t decide if poor Addy had been relegated to living in a shed or what.  The other problem is that she is being held, so you can’t tell if her limbs are tight.  None of the photos that went with her gave you any idea either.  (I also had to edit the very identifiable arm ink on the person holding her as well!)

bad ebay addy living in a shed
This next photo falls into the “One of these things is not like the other” category. In case you are wondering, it’s the Kanani stand that is the item listed. Plus you now have a kink in your neck from having to turn your head in order to see it!
bad ebay kanani shave ice stand
Uh folks, orientation on the photo is important, as is distinguishing exactly what is for sale. Do you know what the saddest part of all is in this listing? The Shave Ice Stand didn’t sell and it was going for a pittance. I’m sure because of the lousy photo. Ugh.

The “How Can You Tell” Photo

Let’s see, what is the dirtiest thing in my house that I can set this doll on to take a photo of???

bad ebay exercise doll
What made this listing even worse is that it had additional photos, but all of them were blurry. Every. Single. One. You couldn’t tell anything about the condition of the doll and heaven forbid that there be any words in the listing to tell you. This doll has been relisted multiple times and hasn’t sold, partially because it has a reserve price on it, but I think primarily because no one wants to take a chance on it with such poor info. The highest bids indicate that to me, they are way below market prices for used dolls. NEXT!!!

Poor Kanani, she apparently has been to the Sean Penn school of avoiding the paparazzi. (If you are old like me, you will probably get that.)

bad ebay kanani

This was the main photo for this listing, WTH? There was a second photo of her from the front, but it was so blurry you couldn’t tell much from it. I guess their thinking was that they picked the best photo of the bunch? But that was it, just two photos and a brief description.


bad ebay doll food
This listing was for some play American Girl Food. There were several photos. And this was the best picture. Enough said…

bad ebay our generation doll and accessories
And this auction was for a pile of stuff. Oh dear.

Orientation of the photo IS important!

bad ebay upside down case

Do you like standing on your head to look at Ebay auctions?  I don’t.  Most people I know don’t.  That’s why it is important to be sure that your photos are going the RIGHT DIRECTION!  And I don’t want to hear the excuse that you didn’t have a photo editing program.  You can do it right in Ebay after you upload the photo.  Yup, right there on the photo itself are buttons that let you do some minor editing, one of which is turning it.  USE IT!!!

I can’t be bothered…

bad ebay monk seal

Not only was this person not bothered enough to take photos of the actual item they were selling, but it appears they couldn’t be bothered to learn how to use the photo capture feature on their phone properly OR take another one.  So, I won’t bother bidding on your auctions either.  This is just plain lazy IMHO.  I’m sure someone bid on it, but I’m going to warn you, when you see this kind of stuff, many times (not always) it’s a scam.  They don’t actually have the item so they have to steal a catalog photo or a photo from another Ebay seller.  You’ve been warned.

Selling something for a ridiculous price

bad ebay addy hangtag 14.99

For just $14.99, this tag from an Addy doll can be yours.  Really?!?!  I think I’ll pass.  Thanks to Jen for sending me this one too.

Not all photos on Ebay are bad.  The majority are usually good.  Once in a while I come across one where I go “YAY! This person gets it!!!”  Not only do they take good photos of what they are selling, but they use a bit of creativity in the process.

bad ebay an actual good picture

bad ebay 2 bad ebay 3

This seller had several photos of the skating outfit they were selling as well as several poses of the doll, made to look like she was skating.  I thought this was genius!  Kudos to someone who got it right, I hope they got a nice price for the outfit.

I’m going to take a second here to tell you a little story about blurry photos.  A fellow photographer friend of mine told me this.  He had someone he knew that couldn’t figure out why all of her pictures were turning out blurry, so he offered to help her out.  He arranged to meet her with the camera so he could see if it was an issue with the settings or what.  The problem was actually very simple to fix.  She was a gum chewer.  Yeah, that’s right, while she was trying to take photos, her jaw didn’t quit moving and as a result, neither did her camera!  So a little tip to help avoid blurry photos–hold your breath just before you hit the shutter and don’t let it out until you’ve let up on it.

That’s it for this installment of Bad Ebay, thanks for stopping by!  I hope I either gave you a good laugh, or you learned something about selling on Ebay.  Until next time…

Just in case you are wondering, NO editing was done on any of these photos with the exception of blocking out the tattoo on an arm. Otherwise, these are EXACTLY the way they appeared on Ebay.


15 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen To Good Dolls–or “How Not To Sell Your Item”

  1. The Samantha on a dirty chair makes it look like she is strapped down in some sort of Frankenstein movie (the chair back going through her head and the loose ties on her dress). Scary… Right up their with the Addy in the shed. Lol Sean Penn

  2. Oh my gosh… I can’t believe some of these are real – the seal one is PRICELESS! XD The Samantha one makes me cringe. Anytime I see something for sale photographed on something dirty or that could potentially be dirty (like the floor), it drives me nuts.

    • Same here. You want to hear the real irony on the FrankenSam photo? They had other doll items for sale that were photographed in an entirely different place and manner. I don’t know why poor Sam got picked on. But instead of re-photographing her in a better place, they just kept reusing those same, terrible photos!

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