Six months ago, I rarely turned on the computer that sat behind my desk. I didn't specifically avoid it, but there wasn't any real need to get involved. Then, one Sunday in September, I realized that I had spent more than two hours straight "surfing the Net" on my newly installed home computer. Now, when I have business meetings in my office, I can't help but turn to the computer and show my visitors the latest developments on the company's Web pages.
That's a backdoor way of announcing something that I consider one of the most exciting things we've done since Cigar Aficionado was launched--the debut of our Web pages. By the time you read this, the Cigar Aficionado site will have been live for more than a month. If you haven't already found it, you should go there. If you have already visited, then you know it's not just an ordinary Web site. We have devoted an extraordinary amount of time and thought to making our site not only attractive but useful to every lover of cigars.
Just to give you an idea of how important the Web site will become for cigar smokers, I can compare the performance of our Wine Spectator Web site, which we launched in early October. For the first few months, we averaged more than 200,000 visitors a month, and our cumulative "hits" exceeded 10 million. The heart and soul of the Wine Spectator site (http://www.winespectator.com) is the wine database, which includes access to more than 55,000 wines, and a search engine that allows visitors to find exactly the wine they want by country, by grape variety, by price or by score, plus several other variables as well. The Web site also lists great restaurants around the world. There are also archives of past issues, live chat sessions with stars of the wine industry and editors of Wine Spectator, and much more.
I hope Cigar Aficionado's Web site will be even more popular. Of course, you will be able to search the cigar database, which includes every cigar we have tasted since the magazine's inauguration in 1992. You can set up a personal shopping list complete with ratings, descriptions and tasting notes. There are sections that list cigar shops and cigar friendly restaurants, so as you travel around the world, you'll find the best places to buy and smoke cigars. Trying to remember what Demi Moore said about smoking cigars (or what India Allen looks like), or the predictions Edgar Cullman Jr. made about cigar production for this year? It will be easy. Our complete archives of stories published in the magazine, including all the celebrities and personalities and all the top people in the cigar industry, will be there. We'll also set up live chat sessions with the major players in the cigar industry as well as the senior editors of the magazine. But that's not all.
Cigar Aficionado's Web site will include information on the publicly traded cigar companies as well as up-to-the-minute stock quotes. And, you'll find the latest Las Vegas betting lines on all professional and college sports events, as well as up-to-the-minute scores.
Yes, it is the ultimate lifestyle Web site for anyone who wants to enjoy the good life. You can find us at the address below and learn more about the site in our ad on pages 28 through 31 in this issue. I'm looking forward to getting your feedback on-line.
Cigar Aficionado On-line: http://www.cigaraficionado.com
Marvin R. Shanken
Editor & Publisher