Reflections on a Year

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Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of TheCigarFeed. I didn’t realize it until after Lancero50 started that we would end on the one-year anniversary, but given all of the hoopla yesterday, I figured I’d delay this sort of reflection until today. There are no contests, no giveaways, no free cigars after the jump, just some honest thoughts on one year. — el niño diablo.

Not even a month after TheCigarFeed had been up, David Hall of TheCigarNut published an article entitled, What Does This Site Mean To Me, a rather striking indictment of new cigar blogs. We, along with a few other sites all seemed to crop up around the same time, and I guess we were stepping on (some) people’s toes. I remember one part of Hall’s exposé quite distinctly, “but about 6-10 of the sites, your mom should have had the abortion.”

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I won’t go over what exactly went through my mind that July morning after reading the article, which included pictures of a gigantic condom and someone on the toilet, but it was one hell of a welcome to the cigar community. Yet David had a point: cigar blogs, for the most part, are the same thing over and over again, just with different URLs. There’s a variety of reasons for this: some people found a formula that worked, there’s the attrition factor, and some of us this no doubt was perhaps due to what people thought a cigar blog should be.

Truth is, we’ve tried to do things differently from day one. We put up twenty-five articles day one. We did the Weekly News three days after the site launched in a fashion that really hadn’t been done before. We’ve also tried to put out the best work, even if it is with a camera phone from 2003. We’ve had our flaws: firing Dylan Austin has to be towards the top of the list. (Sorry Dylan.) But, we’ve tried to be different, we’ve tried to be new and we’ve tried to fulfill the selfish goal I set out for the site: be the site that I wanted to read.

On November 2nd, TheCigarFeed changed. At around lunch time we published a story that Sam Leccia was leaving Oliva. About half the people that read the story thought it was a (false) rumor that we had made up. Turns out, it wasn’t. Since then, this site and its value have taken on quite a different meaning. In the past few months, a few other sites have started doing news in the fashion that we have. Some did it before, some are new sites that seem eager to explore this specific genre of blogging. For that, I’d like to say that we changed cigar blogging, and I hope I can say that we made it better.

We can no longer use the “our site is relatively new” moniker. It’s now a year-old. People ask what’s next. To the question yesterday of how I plan on covering the IPCPR show, I’ve got no clue. I do know that the focus of the next year will be on a singular word, authority. There are a lot of things that separate Cigar Aficionado from cigar blogs, perhaps the largest for what is relevant to TheCigarFeed, authority. CA has an almost absolute authority over this industry, and that’s the next target. I’m not sure what or how we go about gaining it, but I think we are at least in the direction. And by “we,” I mean the blogosphere, not just Charlie Stahl and me.

Our readership is different than most sites. And while we don’t get as many comments as a lot of sites do, I do appreciate all of them, whether on the site, via Twitter or e-mail. I thank the readers, as the site would not be where it is without you. Lancero50 would not have been possible without help from a few readers, the news would be far less interesting and the dialogue that we seek to promote would not exist without you. I also would like to specifically thank our readers who contributed to cigars4troops last December, it was a truly humbling and great experience and I thank you for your generosity for those that are most deserving.

There are a lot of people that work on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis that allow for TheCigarFeed to be where it is after one year. They rarely get recognized (sometimes for good reasons), but just know, TheCigarFeed would not exist if it was truly just one person.

There are two new sponsors joining us today, Drew Estate and Atlantic Cigar. I look forward to working with both of them in the coming months, I have a feeling that you, the readers, will reap a few benefits along the way. I’d also like to thank Bill and Lynn Davies of Tobacco Locker, our first sponsor and my first friend in the industry. Without Bill’s guidance, TheCigarFeed would have never happened. — el nino diablo.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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