The Online Tobacco Store Project

To make sure this project was possible, Yesmoke inquired first at the Italian customs office, but received no response. So, in the summer of 1999 the Swiss customs office was contacted and an appointment was immediately fixed with three officials. They listened to the description of the project and after a few days confirmed that it could be done.

The important thing was the customs declaration that had to be affixed to the goods and that corresponded to an import request.

At the time the creators of Yesmoke were living in Moscow. And it was here, in a small room, guests of a prestigious Russian publishing house at 12 Bakuninskaya street, in the summer of 1999, they began to work with enthusiasm on their online tobacco store project.

The name of was decided on in Moscow (it was lately changed into, and from Moscow the site was run technically by a Ukrainian webmaster Alexey Kulentzov, before the move, in 2001, to Rome.

On the eve of the shops opening, Alexey Kulentzov worked continuously for 48 hours, so they could begin the shop’s activities at exactly midnight on the 1st of January 2000… a historical date! Yesmoke had to wait six days before receiving its first order.

At the Yesmoke Store people could buy cartons of cigarettes of any brands, paying online by credit card. The cartons were opened and repackaged to have a package less than 3 cm. thick that allowed the store to take advantage of lower postal rates.

The costs ranged from $ 13.95, with shipping costs included in the price, for a carton of 200 Marlboros produced in the European Community, to $ 6.95 for a carton of Abba’, the cheapest brand of cigarettes. The shipments were picked up every morning at 7 o’clock and every afternoon at 3.00 local time.

The goods travelled only by air mail, and the deliveries were fast: “Priority” shipping, with a 2 dollar supplement per carton, took from 1 to 4 days in Europe and from 2 to 7 days in the rest of the world.

The “Economy” shipments were a bit slower: they were picked up twice daily by the Swiss Post, but the “economy” packages left Switzerland only when the shipping lots to a country were suitable.

The “Economy” shipments could take, such as, from 1 to 4 weeks to the USA, but the shipping cost in this case was free for the buyers.

The customs declaration, that Yesmoke had printed on the packages, contained all the required information:

  • Content: 200 Cigarettes
  • Weight: gr. 300
  • Value: 10 US Dollars (this was the value not counting the shipping charges).

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