Posts Filed Under wine blogging
So… you wanna be a wine blogger, eh? [ Editor’s note: sorry, did not mean to sound Canadian there…].
Well, I’m here to tell ya NOT to do it.
Now, before you flame me with nasty e-mails and comments, please bear in mind that I will be following up this post next week with three reasons why you should be a wine blogger. But I can’t in good conscience do that before I tell you what you’re really up against if you want to wine blog.
Any type of blogging worth its salt is going to require genuine commitment from you. It will also require that your writing not totally stink. But these are not the reasons why you should think twice (or thrice, or… uhm… whatever comes after thrice) about starting up a wine blog.
Let me clue you in on the real scoop of wine blogging – the gritty reality behind the glitz, the glamor, the fortune, the fame…
1) There is no glitz, fortune or fame in wine blogging.
Sorry to have to break this to ya, but there’s no glitz, glamor, fortune or fame when it comes to wine blogging. You will NOT be quitting your day job. You will NOT be raking in the bucks from ad revenue. You will NOT be interviewed on CNN to expound on your wine smarties. Blogging revenue is usually tied directly to traffic. Who gets the most traffic in the on-line world? Social networks, porn, and productivity blogs (basically in that order). Wine blogging is NOT in the top three. It’s probably not even in the top 300 – and it probably never will be.
2) Two’s company, Three’s a crowd, and 600 is a Wine Blogging Community.
Guess what? You’re not the only wine blogger out there. You are in very good company. According to Alder at Vinography.com (arguably the granddaddy of all wine blogging), there are now over 600 wine bloggers. At least 200 of those are in the U.S. alone. It’s not just a crowded field – it’s a REALLY crowded field. And all of those bloggers are competing in some way, shape, or form for a similar reader pool as you. Doh! Even better – most of them probably know all the tricks of the trade in blogging to maximize their search engine karma, technorati authority, google page rank, etc., etc., etc. Double Doh! Which leads me to our next reason not to wine blog…
What you get out of wine blogging will depend primarily on what you put into it. In that sense, it’s a relationship between you and your blogging.
3) You need to be original from day one.
To wine blog, you need to offer something original to the community of 600+ and their potential readers. This will NOT be easy to do in a field of 600+ and their potential readers. In fact, it will be really, really, really difficult. And you won’t have much time to do it, either. Potential readers will decide in a matter of seconds whether or not your blog is worth reading ever again. They can do this because if they don’t like yours they can very quickly try another one of the 600+. Standing out is essential, and it’s not easy to do. Have fun!
It may not seem like it from the timbre of this post, but personally I don’t think that any of the above should stop you from wine blogging if you’re really passionate about it. What you get out of wine blogging (or any blogging, for that matter) will depend primarily on what you put into it. In that sense, it’s a relationship between you and your blogging.
More on that next week. In the meantime, have a safe and wine-filled weekend.
(images: interfacelift.com, workfarce.files.wordpress.com, aquariumdrunkard.com)
So, really – who cares what I think?
Maybe not too many wine consumers.
According to a new Pew Internet study report, the Internet has a small influence on consumers’ buying decisions when compared to offline channels (like recommendations from salespeople, friends, etc.). That includes Internet sites like, oh, for example, 1WineDude.com.
Hmm… maybe I should be putting a little more time & effort into my off-line consulting…
Anyway, according to the Pew report (which, to be fair, measured on-line impact on purchases of music, housing, and cell phones only):
“No more than one-tenth of buyers… said that online information had a major impact on their purchasing decision.”
And here I’ve been trying to steer wine consumers right and not realizing the whole time that nobody is listening (er – I mean, reading).
What’s also interesting (assuming you still might care what I think at this point) in the Pew report is the gap between those who actively contribute to the on-line dialog (by submitting reviews, for example), and those that simply consume the information:
“The large gaps between contributors and readers are understandable; not all consumers
are interested in lending their voice and many may be content to free ride on the efforts of
others. However, with the growth of broadband adoption at home and the buzz about
online participation in a Web 2.0 world, widespread activity in this arena might be
expected. Yet the data in this report do not show this; there is clearly a distance between the numbers of those who contribute and those who lurk.”
I can’t say I’m too surprised by that finding. In my experience, especially with people of my g-g-g-g-generation, I’ve found that there is a need to consume information via the Internet, but very little drive to create that information themselves.
Case in point: my friends will tease me about the number of websites that I maintain (official number: too many), and in the same conversation will ask me why I’ve not updated one of the websites in the past 3 days.
They want to consume – they just feel that it’s someone else’s place to author that content. Is this “The Architecture of Non-Participation?”
Deep down I’m a skeptical guy – which in my twisted in mind is being patriotic (hey, the U.S. was founded by a bunch of skeptics!) – but I gotta admit, deep down I am also feeling like wine is different.
I know, I know – wishful thinking, right?
But hear me out (if you still care what I think, that is): Buying wine is different than buying music or a cell phone, because wine is meant to be shared. By its nature it’s a social beast, to be enjoyed with others. It’s one of the few goods we can buy that actually becomes an event unto itself. A cell phone can be nifty but it’s probably not going to be a lubricant for life. And try sharing your cell phone with someone else without going totally insane.
If you take a look at social networking websites like the Open Wine Consortium, Corkd.com, and CellarTracker.com, you will find lots of wine consumers willing to share their views, reviews, and recommendations. I would find it hard to believe that those interactions don’t influence the wine buying decisions of consumers somehow.
And wouldn’t it be great if, instead of wine distribution monopolies, stuffy media mags, and 2 or 3 critics dictating nearly all of our wine purchasing choices, we actually influenced each other and helped each other out based on our own experiences of wines that we thought actually tasted great?
But then again, who cares what I think?
(images: thoomp.com, allposters.com, imagechef.com)
Blame it on the full moon, the equinox, or (purple!) monkeys from space… but strange things are afoot…
The little dudette is coming a week early! So new 1WineDude.com content will likely be a bit slow in coming over the next two weeks or so. Never fear, Dude has lined up some interesting stuff and maybe a guest post or two for your enjoyment in the meantime!
The 2008 American Wine Blog Award Finalists have been announced, and (as expected) 1WineDude.com, as expected, is not among them; remeber that technically I’m not eligible as a finalist, as I’ve explained in a previous post. But once again THANK YOU to all those that nominated this here blog anyways! It’s still uber-important that you vote, and that your voices be heard. So head on over to the Fermentation Blog and Rock The Vote!
If you’re not familiar with the finalists and are wondering where your vote should be cast, I’ve made it more than clear in the past that I consider Alder’s Vinography to be the creme-de-la-creme of the current blog scene in terms of quality wine writing, so Alder (for what it’s worth) has my “official” endorsement (though there are many fine blogs among the finalists that deserve your consideration).
UPDATE: There has been some serious (and high quality) debate… er, I mean discussion on this topic over at the Open Wine Consortium. Certainly worth checking out if you’re interested in how wine bloggers operate and cooperate as community on-line. By the way, I think you should still vote.
Mark Fisher, who writes the Uncorked blog at the Dayton Daily News, has posted an interesting piece this week with his thoughts on a recent American Journal of Medicine alcohol study.
Mark’s thoughts are always worth a read, and this article is no exception (and thanks to him as well for mentioning my previous post on the same overall topic of wine consumption and health).
While the study itself highlights the positive effects of alcohol on middle aged baby-boomers, Mark uses the study to point out that the issue of alcohol consumption and health is not a simple one.
I.e., trying to binge on wine in your 50s to make up for the booze that you didn’t have when you were younger is not gonna help you reap any wine health benefits. That kind of thinking is more likely to fatally turn your liver into a large hunk of scar tissue.
The good news is that the liver can recover from short-term damage – it just needs a break from the likes of coffee, medication, and especially alcohol. So if you’ve been hitting the wine tastings with added gusto lately, consider giving yourself and your liver the gift of a few days (if not a few weeks) of abstinence. Remember, I’m a wine nut, so if I’m saying it’s a good idea to lay off the vino from time to time, it’s not because I just like to type!
Also, for those of you playing along at home, Wine Blogging Wednesday #44 has just been announced by Gary V. over at Wine Library TV. Yes, that Gary V. The theme this time around is French Cabernet Franc. So, if you want to join the wine blogging community in a review, go pick up a wine and transcribe your thoughts! Details are available here (including what areas of France to look for at the wine store if you want to participate).