Welcome to the 6th installment of the Stogie Press “Last Weeks Cigar Social Media News and Questions”, where Boston Jimmie scours the world-wide web of cigars and summarizes relevant news and questions of the past week. On the following Monday, my friend Kap Kaplowitz then shreds my writing and puts his unique commentary on select news bites from today’s article, during his Kaplowitz Media radio pod cast.
Social Media Cigar News and Questions for the week ending June 22, 2018.
- Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax
- Facebook Groups may Charge for Admission
I do my best not to mix cigar smoking and politics, but this week was exhausting. Every where I turned, I saw the battle being fought. I am just as guilty as the rest for getting into a debate that just can not be won. The lines were hard dawn and the battle goes on. There was no escape and I have to say, I even unfriended some people who just totally fell on the wrong side of this fight. The argument seeped into groups and just made for a terrible week of news. In the end we should recognize this had every thing to do with the children. However you look at it, this argument is for the here and now and not the past. It is for the future of the USA.
Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax
The US Supreme court weighed in this week on the battle of sales tax collection by online retailers. As the news broke, the stock market went bonkers as stocks like Amazon took a hit and JC Penney climbed. While mammoth online sites, like Amazon and Etsy, were the focus, the cigar blogosphere lit up like a Christmas tree. The court ruling says that states have the right to collect taxes from online retailers for purchases made by consumers out-of-state.
When it comes to online cigar sales, many were cheering the ruling, as they feel it was long overdue and will help level the playing field between online and brick & mortar shops across the country. I have to say there is some credence in that, but the online sites still do massive buying and can still offer higher discounts to the consumers.
Sites like Cigars International and Famous Smoke are based in Pennsylvania. The tax rate is 6% there so that will still afford the consumer a 4% discount on their normal 10% off retail pricing. I suppose we will have to wait and see how this all plays out, but one thing is for sure, the difference in price will be less and that may drive consumers to their local shop, that is assuming their shop carries what they like. .
Facebook Groups may Charge for Admission
Now here is a new way to make money with your Facebook Cigar group. Facebook announced this week, they are experimenting with allowing Group admins to charge between $4.99 and $29.99 per month for access. The initial groups they are rolling this out to, are hand-picked by the company, and will include groups that feature parenting, cooking and “organize my home” content.
Facebook said they will not take a cut of the action either. But the billing will be done via iOS and Android. It is expected these companies will take 30% of the first years membership and 15% thereafter.
We all know how many times we get an invite from Facebook to “boost” a cigar post, for a fee, and then when we accept, the Facebook tobacco police send a “declined” email message, because of the tobacco content in the post. This leads me to believe, Facebook may not extend this program down to cigar groups, but one never knows. Can you imagine a group like GarStarz or Fat Ash that have between one and two thousands members charging them $4.99/month. That would over $100,000 a year for Fat Ash… If the Cigar Cartel started to charge the same, Nick Era would rake in about $1.8 Million. Deduct the first year fee and he would net about $1.2 Million.
Better start building those cigar groups folks!
The question of the week comes was posted by James Brown from BLTC & BLK WKS
There were over a 120 comments on this and still growing. The overwhelming response was yes. Of course some added the caveat that it depended on the shop or the brand, but in general it brings customers out to the shop, and that is what really matters – right?
What are your thoughts? Do like shop events? Do you own a shop and how does an event help you as a business owner?
That’s about it for major news and interesting questions from cigar media this week. Remember to tune in to Kaplowtiz Media this coming Monday as Kap rips into the Cigar News Powered by Stogie Press.