Only Buy Stuff Online With a Picture? Maybe You Shouldn’t

15 Mar

Technology has completely changed the way we buy and sell items on the internet. The better technology gets the higher our expectations become. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been looking for a house to rent. I noticed that one of the main things I look at, before I even consider a post, is if it has a picture or not. As I look through the endless rental posts, such as or, I skip over everything without a picture. I just assume they are scams or too damaged to be worth my time. I mean, who doesn’t know how to post a picture online? Anyone that was serious about selling something should have a picture of it. My girlfriend found a post on Craigslist last night that sounded great but didn’t have a photo. I told her not to bother, but she e-mailed the “owner” anyways. To my surprise she received a response that seemed legitimate, and we are going to check the house out later today. This whole situation has made me re-evaluate my method for showing interest on items that are posted online. I might have been missing out on a ton of good deals because they didn’t have pictures, and I know I’m not the only one. I was discussing this issue with a co-worker of mine, and she admitted that she also only considers buying something online if the owner posts a picture. I still think it’s a good idea for sellers to post pictures of the goods they’re trying to sell, but I can think of 3 reasons why a legitimate seller wouldn’t post a picture.

1) The seller isn’t Tech Savvy: I’m 25 years old, and I often forget that some people aren’t comfortable with technology. I looked up the owner of the house we are going to look at today, and it turns out that he is 78 years old. He might not have a clue on how to post a picture online. Just because someone isn’t good with technology doesn’t mean their post isn’t sincere.

2) The seller doesn’t have proper equipment to post a photo: Nowadays, it seems like everything can take a picture and link to the internet. Pretty soon we’ll have shoes that have cameras on them! That being said, it is still possible that someone doesn’t have the proper equipment to post pictures online. It’s rare, but not everyone has a digital camera, computer with a camera, or smartphone. I’m constantly working with customer’s that don’t use these technologies. Also, they might own a digital camera but it’s broken. I used to go through tech gadgets like most people go through toilet paper. It seems like they’re always breaking.

3) The seller doesn’t think it’s necessary to post a picture: I have a friend that was trying to rent out their home a few years ago. It was a nice house, but no one ever responded to their rental adds. I looked at the post and realized there were no pictures. When I asked my friend about it they said, “I didn’t think I needed any pictures.” It may not seem reasonable but it happens.

I still feel more comfortable checking something out online if I can see a picture first, but I know I’ve missed out on some good deals because of this. Things are harder to sell online if there isn’t a picture, but just remember that it could present a golden opportunity to buy something cheap. Odds are if a seller doesn’t post a picture they will have a harder time selling. If they’ve been trying for a while it might give you the leverage you need to make a good deal. Remember, there are A LOT of scams online, but pictures shouldn’t make or break a deal. Have I missed any reasons a seller wouldn’t post a picture online?


Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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5 responses to “Only Buy Stuff Online With a Picture? Maybe You Shouldn’t

  1. DiabeticallyYours

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    I am one of those people who doesn’t bother if there’s no pictures, and that’s with everything online! I want to know what I’m looking at during a purchase. My husband and I were actually looking at houses online (Through a canadian website, or else I would’ve shared!) and, like you, I wouldn’t bother with those without a picture. The house we finally signed for only had 2 pictures and I was reluctant to go see it! And see? We actually signed for this one.

    Let us know if it was an actual great find! Read you soon!

    • Chris Neighbors

      March 15, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      We went and looked at the house. It was definitely worth looking at, but we decided to go with something else that fit our needs better. I think pictures are great except that they show everyone what the product is (Duh which is the point of a picture), but that means there is more competition which makes it harder to buy. I think the lack of a picture gives you way more bargaining power because most people are like us and pass over those posts!

      So you guys live in Canada? My girlfriend is half Canadian. Her mom is from Vancouver and we try and visit Point Roberts every summer. I love it up there!

  2. DiabeticallyYours

    March 15, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Ooh, I see you point about bargaining power. That’s interesting, I would have never thought about it! (Mostly because I’m such a bad sells person, hah!)

    We live in Canada, yes! Close to Montreal in Quebec, although we’re moving soon closer to Ottawa. Vancouver is beautiful! My father used to live there so I visited often. Love the mounties view! Funny how your wife is half canadian, my husband is American! He’s from Wisconsin. See what the web does huh? Hah!

  3. jlcollinsnh

    March 29, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    Hi Chris…

    Since you hit the “like” button on my last post I’ve been over here snooping around a bit.

    While I am far more seller than buyer, it occurs to me responding to ads without pictures might give you a distinct advantage. Since most people only respond to ads with pictures the competiion for the item advertised should be far less and your deal that much better.

  4. Chris Neighbors

    March 29, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Exactly, sometimes we need to think outside the box.


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