What Does This Site Mean To Me

The Cigar Nut

*Disclaimer – The following does not represent the thoughts or views of any sponsor, reviewer or any other party. This entire article is solely the work and responsibility of David Hall. In other words, don’t hold anything I say against them! P.s. there is some rough language, so… yeah.

For those of us who are involved in the twitter world and more specifically within the cigar community on twitter, you all know that the conversations run hot and cold – sometimes a person will say just the right thing knowing that it will start a snowball effect to bring multiple people into a heated debate over a certain topic. Well, a few ‘topics’ seem to keep coming up time after time – they all fall within the same general category – running a cigar review site, what are all the specific rules, regulations or unwritten agreements?

The more veteran visitors will know that I spoke on this subject a few months back and I guess that my tangent just didn’t give the love tap about the head, neck and shoulders that a few people need – maybe they didn’t read my article, maybe they did and just did not think that I was speaking of them directly or perhaps they just lack the brain power to comprehend 3rd grade reading (I mean come on guys, I can’t write higher than a high school reading level for fucks sake) and I have heard an overwhelming surge from viewers who want me to stop being so Politically Correct and start pushing buttons. I am trying to be a more passive, more relaxed human being but sometimes people are just cocksuckers so – here it goes.

There are a lot of people within the community that I like to talk to, mostly the viewers who ask random questions or have some advice to give (which I do appreciate hearing) and even a few of the viewers have become people I consider personal friends – the CGAR clan is a group of just a few of these people. Now, we don’t always get along and we give each other shit fairly often but never in an overly serious way. In this aspect I don’t think there is anything negative about it, we smoke cigars and some of us drink, we talk about both and generally are ‘online friends’ – nothing wrong there.

The thing that really is starting to get to me though, is the overwhelming amount of ‘new review sites’ – Not that they are bad or they are stealing my thunder, because honestly, I could care less, but that these new sites have quickly become ‘gimmie free shit’ whores. Someone pointed out a perfect twitter account for these characters, the @cigarweasel – for those who do not know a Cigar Weasel is someone who specifically functions to get as many free cigars or swag as they can. These sites are starting to be quite a bit more aggressive towards manufacturers, blatantly going to reps, shops, marketers and even directly to the producers asking for ‘product to review’. Am I perfect in the sense that I’ve never accepted a free cigar? Your out of your damn mind if you think that is the case – Yes, I proudly accept any and all ‘free shit’ that gets sent to me – but – as my readers can attest I always give back to the readers, either with a review or contests, trying to share the wealth as best I can.

That being said, I am sure we have all visited a few of these ‘boom sites’ who come up quick with ten to fifteen reviews spread out over a month, maybe put up a google adsense or a companies blurp and get a 5 or 10 pack of smokes, realizes its a lot of work with very little payout and then bail. See, for the groups giving out these cigars that was a total waste of time, money and product. The product was not properly reviewed (not that I am an expect by any stretch), not properly shown to the public and maybe even just put aside into their personal humidor with nothing ever being produced by the blog. This then translates to all ‘blogs’ to the companies, all review sites being piled into the same bad experience that these new cocksuckers have created.

The biggest thing I have to put out there about this entire situation – ANYONE can run a website, blog or review site with little to no issues. With the number of sites out there I’m finding more and more often that these people are either cutting and pasting content (saw my own review on another site – prick), stealing pictures (pardon the hell out of me, ‘borrowing’) and claiming them as their work or just linking to another site or a forum review. My point – to start a website of any caliber, takes no skill or talent. I know I will piss off a lot of people off with that comment but – prove me wrong. Incredibly simple sites with 5 or 6 sentences as a ‘review’ or sites that don’t even have all their pages filled. Sorry, but having a page that says ‘I will fill this in later’ is the same as saying I don’t give a flying fuck – If your going to make a website live, then the entire site should be ready. The ‘About Me’ page took me 10 minutes to write, edit and put up but you made a page for advertising companies to contact you – quit being a little bitch about it. Three sites or more who don’t have the site 100% completed, definitely made sure they had their advertising section filled out or even have an advertiser when they have not been running 2 months – I wonder what their motivation is. I had my site up and running for over 6 months before I was approached by an advertiser, the first one I initially turned down.

The hard part, the one that DOES require talent and skill is maintaining the site, creating new and interesting content and driving people not only to the site, but making sure they return. This is a battle that even the oldest and most respected of sites have to face so I am not concerned about ‘Being The Best’ but rather ‘Doing MY Best’. Now, older sites – your not exempt from the shit storm, I think I have been double fucked harder by other review sites more often than any rep or manufacturer, and thats issues I’ve dealt with personally – not the bullshit I see them posting. Three (3) sites asked for cigars to ‘help them out’ or to ‘trade’ so being the nice guy I am trying to be, I sent them the smokes – yeah I’m out about 40 cigars between the 3 with not so much as a thank you or even a post saying ‘I got these from The Cigar Nut’ or anything from them. Two other sites have officially posted or video recorded their statements about how they were ‘jipped’ or given the short end of the stick when getting free cigars. One even said ‘I wish I could review their cigar but they did not send me any’!! Not a big deal you would think, but its gotten to the point that I would love to challenge them to a boxing match although for most of these people the biggest fight they’ve had in the past 10 years was leaning over to wipe their own ass. These are sites that have been in operation longer than I have – hell, some of them I even looked up to! All I have to say, unless you know your holding your dick tight in your hand, quit making statements that can be proven otherwise.

Before everyone gets into a tizzy – Tom, your still my cigar review god, Tony in TX you do an awesome job and I really enjoy your site, all the guys at Nice Tight Ash you fucking rock and Mike in NY I’m really happy to see your site growing as fast as it is and to the guys at SR your still the mecca of cigar info – I know I am leaving out a few sites, and please know that not all of you guys are bad – but about 6-10 of the sites, your mom should have had the abortion. If you doubt me, contact me privately and I’ll discuss it with you, wanna be a jackoff about it I’ll be sure to list names, specific links and documents and let the readers make their own decision.

I guess the thing that amazes me the most is when these sites get an out of control ego or start claiming themselves as ‘famous’ – You run a site talking about cigars, congradu-fucking-lations, I’m sure your mom and dad got all worked up and horny thinking about the famous internet sensation they would produce. Pride in what you do is perfect and respected, but put it in perspective, its not like you got a Doctorate degree or went to war or even helped an old lady cross the street, you sat at your computer and typed up your experience on a cigar. Never once have I tried to use this side project, a cigar review website as a way to explain to others my existence as something more than just a nut stain that almost missed the target, the Marine Corps already corrected my self esteem.

So, this wraps it up and I finally answer the main question, David – Why do you run this site? Quick and to the point – If I had the money I would like to open a big band concert hall with a bar and cigars being sold. Second, I smoke cigars so I like to talk about them. Third, Jen said I couldn’t do this so I had to prove her wrong. There are more reasons as to why I keep going, but when I started it was all about me and my hobby.

If none of you have been able to comprehend what I have been saying, let me sit down – write it out on a brown paper bag with crayon so you can understand – If you run a site or are thinking about running a site, do it for yourself, not for anyone or anything. I know some people will not return to my site, its been a great year, thanks for coming, don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split ya – on the other half, those who stay I hope you had a good laugh, opened your eyes to some of the ‘behind the scenes’ bullshit that goes on and will share this with a friend or two. Please give me some feedback, perhaps I’m just in a pissed off mood or maybe I just don’t take this stuff as serious as others.

~David – The Cigar Nut

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29 Thoughts to “What Does This Site Mean To Me”

  1. CigarsThomas

    David- you are a NUT! I love the fact that you kept this very PC! I agree with a majority of your statement. Keep up the good work buddy! Now stop being a weasel…….

  2. […] What Does This Site Mean To Me | The Cigar Nut […]

  3. Matt Maronna

    ok i agree with most of what you had to say. now are you ready to quit your whining and get back to reviewing cigars?

  4. You really let loose man and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I agree with a lot of the above. Do it cause you love it. Do it cause you love the people amongst the cigar industry. Do it cause you love to share your experiences. And after all that, have fun doing it!

  5. Very nice! Sometimes a good rant is a wonderful thing…

  6. dj

    That’ll teach you Jen! Bad grrl, rrr, rrr (now maker er BARK!)

  7. Nice rant and I agree with much of what you say. I’m not one to ask for anything from anyone, and I pay for my hosting etc. out of my pocket. I have gotten some freebies in the past, but always unsolicited. Even the stuff I give away in my contests either comes from my humidor, was sent to me because of a long -term relationship I have and had said “I don’t want anything from you, or, like you said, is sharing the wealth. My blog is an extension of my hobby and is done as much for myself as anyone. As a matter of fact, I often wonder why people waste their time reading my drivel! Keep up the good work!

  8. Good points about doing a site primarily for your own benefit and screw anyone who doesn’t appreciate that. I started my own close to two years ago and worked at getting it right for well over a year before I decided to try to try to attract a wider audience. “Freebies” are few and far between–unlike many sites that are always thanking their sponsors or reps or something for the free product they are reviewing–but I have received a bit. It’s nice, but not the point of why I started doing it in the first place. Good on ya, David!

  9. I think you should have written it with crayon and put up a picture at the end =)

    One thing i have noticed since I started doing reviews is the amount of time and money involved! Not even just the cigars, but then you have the equipment, hosting, etc to consider.

    Oh and 1 point I have to disagree with – Tom, as a God – can you make that hippies head swell any more? LOL

  10. The Champ

    Now THATS an effing rant right there…nicely done sir!!

  11. Well done David – lots of excellent points in there. It is a lot of work to maintain a website, and even more work to maintain integrity while doing it.

  12. I can’t stop laughing. This made my freakin’ morning!

  13. Bigmike

    Classic! I admire anyone that can keep a blog going for over a year. That takes commitment.

  14. WOW. That’s was EPIC, David. Great job, bud. Keep it up.

  15. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Spolverino, Cigar News. Cigar News said: The Cigar Nut | What Does This Site Mean To Me: *Disclaimer – The following does not represen… http://bit.ly/bh8BRi @thecigarnut #cigars […]

  16. Jacob Krell

    WOW this is just EPIC. Agree or not David laid it all out there on the table without naming names and that must have been hard.

    I got involved in all of this because I love cigars. I liked David’s website and started promoting it so he asked me if I wanted to help out. Up until then I had never reviewed a cigar in my life and didn’t know if I could write a good review. His invite caused me to open myself up more to really experiencing a cigar. Before I always looked at a cigar as a like or dislike and people who said they tasted snozberries in a cigar were crazy. This experience has been a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I am still learning and am no expert by far. I know what I like though and I hope some of you will enjoy my opinions and judgments.

    Do I like free stuff? Hell YEAH! I have made several standing offers to some cigar brands. A one time contact and nothing more unless they want something more. I have received free stuff, given away free stuff, given away my own stuff, etc. For me it is about developing a relationship with cigar companies and our readers. It benefits us all. Through a review we can promote cigar products we like, they get free publicity, and sometimes we get to give you guys free product. We can let our readers know about exciting new things coming up in the cigar industry. The thing is to keep being honest so readers value your opinions. With these developed relationships I am hoping in the future to get the chance to be one of the first to review something new and exciting to come out. I want to be the first to review a cigar so I know my work is 100% of my own thoughts and opinion and is no way the result of reading or hearing someone else’s opinion.

    I am not doing this for free cigars and swag though. I love giving away free stuff and honestly I am doing it for myself, David, and the people who read our reviews. You guys have no idea how much free stuff David sends out. I know I have been on the receiving end several times. I think David does this for all the right reasons.

    What happens when you smoke a dog rocket from a sponsor? Common sense tells me you try another stick or 2. After that I take my issues and concerns to the manufacturer. They might not know of an issue you are having because no one has the cojones to tell them. I am not saying anyone isn’t being honest but I am sure some people do not want to piss off and lose their sponsors. You notice none of my reviews have been absolutely negative. I do point out the little things that I have problems with though.

    Anyways I think David has called out some people who probably deserve it. I know several cigar companies are getting weary of reviewers due to a certain reviewer holding them ransom and threatening negative reviews if he doesn’t get his way. That makes it hard for us who are legit to develop these relationships with cigar manufacturers. For now we will keep doing what we do. Maybe in the future as we keep writing and others fade away some trust will be extended to us. More than anything I want you guys and the makers of cigars to enjoy our reviews and value our opinions. Without that what is the point?

  17. Well said, David. I started righting reviews over two years ago just to share with my friends & because I liked to do it. That spawned our site last year again strictly for the love of the leaf. We have never solicited product, but we do like to have the occasional contest to give back to our readers. Up until recently, every contest/giveaway has come out of our pockets because of our love for the cigar community. I wish more people were doing blogs because of their passion for cigars & the cigar community & not just “15 minutes of fame”. I totally agree with your rant & I approve of this message.

    -DaByrdman33-
    The B&B Cigar Club

  18. Applause is needed here! Great job David, loved reading that and agree with everything 100%!

    anyone who disagrees is just one of those people who likes to beg for free stuff, nuff said.
    Keep up the great site!

  19. clint

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received some sort of correspondence from a reviewer. It typically goes like this, “Hey, I’m Joe Cool Breeze, and I’m a reviewer. I’d like to review your cigar if you would send me some. There’s 4 of us that do the reviewing, so I’ll need 2 for each of us in case we get a bad stick.” I understand maybe giving a couple, but when the demands start coming in, I get real suspicious.

    Some of the folks we run into feel that it is my obligation as a manufacturer to give them free cigars. I’ve got no problem helping them out because we’re all in this fight together, but I’d like to see some meat in some of these reviews and a willingness to purchase a few sticks from us. How will we be able to continue to sell cigars and offer the consumer quality products if we keep giving away all of our inventory? Money doesn’t grow on trees. I still pay for all of my cigars when I go to the B&M’s to smoke. They don’t just give me cigars because I’m a manufacturer. I don’t want to get on my soap box, so I’ll leave it at that. I just thought I’d offer a different perspective on the subject.

  20. tmbryant73

    Even a newbie cigar smoker like myself can appreciate the insight that went into this post. As someone who still has many cigars to explore, reviews are one of my favorite ways to get info about cigars that I’m considering buying, and I don’t want to have to worry about someone’s review being tainted based on whether the cigar was solicited and smoked for free, or begrudgingly purchased by the reviewer.

  21. ChiefHava

    I’m gonna go ahead and say it…this shit if over the top.

    Not the rant (that was great), the pictures.

    I get the mushroom cloud (hat tip to Lou Zava) and the road rage/traffic, but the trailer park trash on the shitter and the oversized condom?

    You should have Jen edit for you.

    LOL….and as always…..

    With Love,

    Skip

  22. Joe

    Big props to you, David. There is a very interesting solution to this problem; I think I contacted you about it a little previously, and many others as well. If not, let me know and I’ll let you in on the idea.

  23. Tom

    I really enjoyed your rant. It was brutal and honest. To post that on the Internet takes balls, and I respect it. The Internet is forever so I often self sensor myself, I admit it.

    You and I have talked briefly in the past about the topic of “Why have a cigar review site or blog?” From the start, you kept it as a hobby, which is why you still do it and enjoy it. You knew up front that sure, favors and freebies would come in time. But expectations should be low. This is a small demographic in the large scheme of things.

    I think cigar review sites who are ran by people with that mindset will have an audience. Some will be huge, like Stogie Review (which IMO is the end all be all of review sites). Others people will have their favorite sites, like yours, acigarsmoker.com, mikesstogies.com, Cigarobsession.com, etc etc, or even my little site. There is no competition or ego. It is just cigars after all.

    If the “Tom” you mentioned in the rant is me, then thanks! You are insane!

  24. HabanoHam

    Way to tell it like it is Brother! Great Rant and thank you for keeping up the quality reviews!

  25. Theant

    Good rant and good for you about being straight up and honest, not many people left like that anymore. And the picture of the hillbilly on the toilet I am currently wiping my eyes with bleach and steel wool.

  26. […] Creating some conversation, The Cigar Nut went on quite a rant regarding the integrity of blogging. Toast it here. […]

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