Hello Everyone,

I wanted to write a few words to talk honestly about the health and longevity of Cigar Box Nation. As usual, the post ended up being longer than I intended. So, here’s a summary:

  • We don’t know why there have been so many recent downtimes and issues with the site, and we haven’t been able to get any answers out of Ning (the platform CBN runs on).

  • We hope and trust that the company that owns the Ning system (Mode Media) will continue to operate it for years to come - but we have no guarantees.

  • Cigar Box Nation has become more than just the original site of CigarBoxNation.com, now with a strong presence on Facebook, live broadcasts and more.

  • While it may sometimes seem like more attention is being given to other platforms, CigarBoxNation.com remains the flagship and we are committed to its continued growth and role as the hub of the worldwide cigar box guitar movement.

If you want more details, here’s the long version:

When Shane Speal first founded CBN back at the end of 2008, MySpace was still fairly strong and Facebook still pretty new and small. At that time the Ning social platform (on which Cigar Box Nation runs) was as much an up-and-coming network as any of the others. It was a perfect place to found a new Cigar Box Guitar-focused social network, and in the years since it has served as the cradle of the Movement.

In the years since, Facebook has grown to mammoth proportions, Myspace has faded away, and the Ning platform hangs in a sort of limbo. Bought out by a larger company (Mode Media), its future has become uncertain and these days it has become nearly impossible to get any sort of answer out of them about what their plans are for the site.

Lately CigarBoxNation.com has had periods of downtime and errors, and while they eventually clear up, we have few ways of finding out (despite filing helpdesk tickets with Ning) what caused them, what is being done about them, etc. We hope for the best, but with all honesty we have no guarantee as to what the future holds for it. For now, aside from the bugginess and downtime, all systems seem to remain “go”, but it’s a scary thought that Mode Media could decide to kill off the Ning platform. I’d like to think that they wouldn’t just chuck a bunch of paying customers out the window, but who knows.

Now, some good news. Cigar Box Nation remains the online home and rallying point of the Cigar Box Guitar Revolution and homemade/handmade music movement - and we have been working hard  to expand Cigar Box Nation to be more than just the original CigarBoxNation.com site. We now have a strong presence on Facebook via the CBN page there, we are creating live video broadcasts as Cigar Box Nation TV (broadcast live on Facebook and then archived on Youtube and the CBN.com site), and more. We are doing everything we can to spread the word about cigar box guitars and other handmade/homemade instruments, and taking advantage of everything social media offers is a big part of that. All of this is being funded by C. B. Gitty, and the ads you see on Cigar Box Nation are a part of that.

We try to keep the original CigarBoxNation.com site involved in as much of this as possible, posting feature content and linking back to it from Facebook and elsewhere, featuring member videos and photos, group discussions and more. It may seem sometimes like we are ignoring the original site, but I assure you that is not the case. We are working hard to keep people coming back, and new users coming in. It all takes a lot of time and effort, and frankly, a good bit of money too, but it’s worth it.

So, that’s about it, for now. The CBG movement continues to grow and expand, and Cigar Box Nation will continue to be at the heart of it, no matter what.

Ben “Gitty” Baker

May 31, 2016


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Dear Ben:

Thank you for this post. I was about to propose migrating a web site to Ning, and your experiences have probably stopped me from making a mistake. I hope that the content can be saved and migrated to an open-source platform.


Bremerton WA (Yes, we do have cigar box guitar players up here-at least one)

You should get a tech savvy company to fully map and hardcopy this entire site.

If anyone says it's too big or it would take too long then they are small fish that don't have the equipment to do it. Ask around some of the security firms, they can point you in the right direction.

I don't even think it is illegal for a 3rd party to do this, although I'm sure it would be illegal for them to make it available to a 4th party.

In other words, you can bypass your providers for this site and cover your ass concerning the information on this site.

Speak to several internet security company's and see what they say about it.

When I clicked on the sign in today, my browser warned me and said that either this was on "ning" or hackers might be trying to steal my password etc.I took the chance that it was "ning" So here I am back after an extremely long time.

I recently had a scare with twitter. So as a consequence I discovered how many different ways you can now control their settings and facebooks. You can make your facebook page private and only members can be on it. You can even do a group within your facebook that only they can see or post to.

Bottom line: Even if you are not a regular user of these push to be social places, make sure you go back regulary to make sure new options do not undo the level of privacy you want.

Well, thank you all for sharing your inspiring work.

And we thank you for it , bravo


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