*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