Welcome to TONMO, the premier cephalopod interest community, and birthplace of #WorldOctopusDay and #CephalopodAwarenessDays. Founded in 2000, we are a large community of experts, hobbyists and enthusiasts, some of whom come together when we host our biennial conference. To join in on the fun, sign up. You can also become a Supporter for just $50/year to remove all ads and enjoy other perks. Follow us on Twitter for more cephy goodness.
They do pretty well when packaged correctly. Make sure you know your vendor's shipping policies: if your animal is DOA typically they'll replace it for at no charge, but you still have to pay shipping.
Caveat emptor, like with anything. Most online retailers--like most LFS--know nothing about keeping cephalopods, and typically anyone who claims to be able to tell you what species you're getting is completely full of it. Most TONMOers don't get our cephs from retailers but rather other hobbyists or direct from collectors who know what they're getting in.
I am amazed at how well they tolerate it. I remember Inklet was being delivered and Jess and I were watching as the delivery man got out of his truck, he was tossing the box from hand to hand until he saw us. Not good, but Inklet survived and lived a long life. I like the fact that Zyans are packaged once and sent straight to us so there's no middle man.