Will Work for Wine (Alice Feiring & Who Really Killed Wine Writing)

Vinted on June 16, 2009 binned in commentary, wine blogging

It’s no secret that writing, as a paid vocation – whether about wine or any other subject – is a becoming a bit of an endangered species.

Never has this situation been so acute as it has in today’s economy, which is utterly dreadful for all of us except for maybe the 4 people out there who enjoy having twice the responsibility for 33% less pay than a few years ago.  And those 4 people need a Chuck Norris-style roundhouse kick to the side of the head.

Much has been written about the impact of this gloomy state of affairs on the world of wine and wine writing, and from what I’ve seen, Steve Heimoff summed it up best in an article that appeared on his blog on June 5th (emphasis is mine):

“…if there are fewer and fewer paying magazines and websites, and more and more wine writers doing bad writing, then simple logic dictates that the economic future of wine writing is pretty dismal, in the long term.  People used to make a living as milkmen, gas streetlamp lighters, town criers and all sorts of other jobs that no longer exist. Could “wine writer” be as anachronistic as those someday?”

Last week, Alice Feiring – another writer who, like Steve, paid her wine writing dues coming up through traditional media and now also publishes content on a (very good) blog – seemed to have taken this gloomy view one step further (or is that farther?… ah, whatever) into the bleak and murky depths of wine writing despair.

She quit

She quit blogging, that is.  Alice will purportedly give up blogging after publishing a few more articles, despite some impassioned imploring from fellow wine bloggers via comments posted directly to Alice’s blog, or in articles published on their own blogs.

I suppose that I’m about to jump onto the bandwagon of imploring Alice not to join the 90%+ of blogs that give up (I’ve long been convinced that persistence is the key element for long-term blogging success), but I’m not going to do that by explaining that the wine blogging world would be far  worse for having lost such a writing talent if she does quit (it would).

I’m going to tell you that Alice shouldn’t quit because the logic behind her decision simply isn’t sound.

In her fateful blog post, Alice cites a discussion with SF Gate’s Jon Bonné in which they lamented the state of popular writing and blogging in general (emphasis is mine):

“I was bitching to Jon Bonne about requests from magazines –you know the Hachette’s, G&J’s, the NYT’s of the world–who ask me to contribute to their site for the ‘exposure’ instead of pay.

He wrote, “As I’ve been saying for a while now: blogs didn’t kill journalism. blogs killed writing. The art of writing is now essentially fully devalued. It’s a hobby.”

Think of it before you jump all over us. The popularity of the blog has reduced writing to a 500-word postage stamp norm, and usually given away for free. For free. While a digest of words can be a fun exercise in craft, the indulgence the 2000- to 5000 word article was nirvana. Yes, the fee was great, but the process was the thrill and one that we exercised our chops for. And often took a pledge of borderline poverty before, because it was worth it. But now borderline is the real thing. Words and writers are no longer valued. Is it because of the blog? Oh no. For sure. But now the expectation is words are free.

I get a few requests a week for categories and topics readers would like to see here. I ask them, that’s great, but would you be willing to pay, $30 a year for it? Invariably the answer is, oh no. Not willing to go there yet.

You see, once upon a time, writers were respected and paid for content wrung from days, weeks and months of research, interviews and five-ten drafts. Once upon a time, you had to pitch stories, craft them, structure them and develop them on something more than soundbyte and gossip.”

Put simply, Bonne’s statement that blogs killed writing is akin to saying that the 100 point scoring system killed wine criticism, or that television killed reading, or that violent video games and heavy metal music kills teenagers.

In other words, it’s bullshit.

You know what killed writing?  The same thing that killed reading, wine criticism, and anything else that used to require diligence, care, and patience to both craft and appreciate.

You did, baby – you did.

Yes, I’m talking to you.  And me.  And your neighbor across the street.  And your cousin, and anyone else living the consumerist lifestyle in America.

Anytime that we let the accelerating pace of life suck us up into the whirlwind, we allow ourselves to get so busy just trying to keep up that we look for the easiest way to do, learn, finish, acquire, or understand anything.  So, instead of using our brains, we look for shortcuts.  Instead of relying on our own experience, we allow the experience of others to guide us to the point of blind adherence.

Sure, there are a lot of sucky writers publishing blogs.  But there are a lot of wine consumers publishing blogs, too, and they don’t have to be great writers, don’t want to be great writers, and the world of wine and wine writing is not suffering due to their lack of writing skills.

Wine and wine writing are suffering because we lack the patience to absorb anything more than a five minute sound bite. Just about every other industry is facing this problem as well, and the dollars and work are going towards what sells, which is the five minute sound bite, not lengthy and well-crafted articles on wine culture – all of which is made more acute in a belt-tightening economy.

Blogging is not the source of any of that.  It’s a reaction to it. If anything, we should be blogging more, not less, to help show people an alternative to the whirlwind pace and speedy judgments that otherwise rule our waking hours.

So, if I were to say something to Alice, it would be this: come back to reality, and then come back to us!

Cheers!

(images: creativetimes.co.uk, archives.gov)

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    Comments

  • Evan Dawson


    Joe,

    I don't quite understand your point to Alice. If she doesn't feel she can make a living or make much money doing it, and she's not sitting on a pile of cash, she's going to do something else. Why would "coming back" change anything for her? Sorry, just wasn't clear to me.

    Also, from a psychological point of view, your assertion that blogs are only a reaction to culture is flawed. It goes both ways. The advent of technology changes the way people use their time; they didn't move technology along simply because they desired different uses of their time. Under your theory, the "culture of poverty" would be bunk and we'd blame crime only on the kids who commit them, not the culture in which they're raised. Expose someone to violence and crime and they're more likely to follow it. Expose them to blogs and they're more likely to want more. You can say this for many aspects of American culture.

    • 1WineDude


      Good points, but I'm not saying that blogging remains a reaction to our need to want to connect, publish, break down barriers to entry, etc. It's certainly more faceted as you point out, but I'd still stand by the opinion that it is not itself the advent of the change – *we* are the advent of the change.

      As for Alice – if she wants to give up because of the cash, then that would be disappointing since no wine bloggers are making real cash of their blogs. If she wants to give up because of the state of blogging, then in my view that's just crazy – blogging needs people like her to improve it. If she wants to give up because she has no more passion for it – now *that* is a reason to give up!

      Cheers!

      • Evan Dawson


        Joe – I guess I'm just confused, then. You say, "I'm not saying that blogging remains a reaction to our need to want to connect, publish, break down barriers to entry, etc. " Then you say that "it is not itself the advent of the change – *we* are the advent of the change." So you say that it's not the cause, but it's also not the reaction?

        I think you're misdiagnosing the issue and Alice in particular. In fact, I think Alice is right about a lot of things. Look at it this way:

        Steve Heimoff groused about the direction of wine writing and seemed to resist it instead of recognizing the shift and looking for innovative ways to adapt. I don't believe long-form writing is dead or dying, but the economic model certainly is changing. Innovation is the key to surviving and financially thriving. Competition makes it much harder, but I don't believe it's impossible…

      • Evan Dawson


        …Alice, on the other hand, seems to get it. She just seems willing to accept the shift and the challenge, and it doesn't seem she is interested in reinventing the model. That's her right and, while we're all worse off if she stops writing, I understand her position.

        And I give Heimoff credit for quickly jumping in to social media and trying new things. I've read one of his books and I hope he continues to impact the wine industry.

        • 1WineDude


          Evan – I'm not saying you're wrong – I agree with much of what you're saying. What I'm saying is that blogging might have began as a reaction to generational type of changes we set in motion, but it's no longer *just* a reaction. It's evolved from there, and taken on a life of its own (as it should be).

  • Hardy / Dirty


    I don't agree with the thought that blogs killed writing. The economy killed writing. (And Killed in the video game sense- Where once someone drops in some quarters, writing will come back with 3 new lives)

    There are a handful of pro-wine writers that I'd pay a reasonable fee to read online- (Alice would be one, Jon would be one) I'd probably pay even more to read them offline- (I bought 6 copies of Alice's book as gifts).

    • 1WineDude


      Jancis Robinson is making that work, though she has a couple of serious value-adds going on as well: 1) forum access, which has some of the most potent high-powered wine minds in the business chatting together and gives you access to their smarties, and 2) an on-line searchable version of the Oxford Companion, which is totally kick-ass. Downside: it aint' cheap!

  • RichardA


    I certainly agree with you that wine writing (and many other fields) are "suffering because we lack the patience to absorb anything more than a five minute sound bite."

    But blogging more is not a complete answer. For example, writing many more short blog posts won't do anything about that issue. The key then is longer and more involved posts, something to challenge the reader. Yet the blogger then may lose some of his readership if he does that, losing those readers who don't want to read something lengthy. And much of the advice given to bloggers, is to actually limit the size of their posts.

    I think one of Alice's points that was not really addressed here is that magazines/newspapers are less willing to pay for wine writing, especially when they get can articles for free. How many bloggers have or would write an article for a magazine/newspaper for free, for the exposure in print? I have and will probably do it again in the future. That willingness does make it harder for others to get paid for their writing.

    • 1WineDude


      I would also, but only to a point.

      For me, it's like this:

      There's a great local band that I often sit in with to jam. What usually happens is, I might sit in for a song or two in the furst set. Hang out, have a few drinks, have fun. I might even play the entire second set with them.

      But when they ask me "where ya goin'?" when I pack up after the second set, I say "home! you want me to play for an entire show, then I need to get paid for it! Love you guys, but…"

      At some point, the exposure isn't good enough, and you need to stick to your guns, especially if you really believe that you have an ability worth paying for.

    • 1WineDude


      I would also, but only to a point.

      For me, it's like this:

      There's a great local band that I often sit in with to jam. What usually happens is, I might sit in for a song or two in the first set. Hang out, have a few drinks, have fun. I might even play the entire second set with them.

      But when they ask me "where ya goin'?" when I pack up after the second set, I say "home! you want me to play for an entire show, then I need to get paid for it! Love you guys, but…"

      At some point, the exposure isn't good enough, and you need to stick to your guns, especially if you really believe that you have an ability worth paying for.

  • Dale Cruse


    With all due respect to Alice, forget her. If she wants to be what in my opinion is part of the problem rather than part of the solution, then so long. See ya. Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

    She could use her voice to help wine blogging mature into something with quality that could actually generate income for her and other people. Instead she throws a playground fit and packs up her toys and goes home. So I say forget her.

    • 1WineDude


      Good points, man – she is in a position where she could be a leader in the wine blogging space… she only need take the reins and many, many bloggers (myself included) would line up in support of her. I'm reminded of the great speech she gave at last year's WBC, part of which had a message of 'don't give up!'

  • David Honig


    I wrote the following there:

    With all due respect, and a great deal is due, the premise is false. Blogs did not kill writing. The economy, and print media's failure to find a competitive model in an electronic environment, killed writing. Rather than argue over quality and value of wine writing, I will suggest you consider a different example, editorial cartooning. It is dying. Talented cartoonists with years at their papers are getting fired, and no new artists are being hired. There is literally a mere handful of political cartoon blogs, and they have tiny audiences. Syndicates are not taking on any new artists, either. The demise of the newspaper cartoonist comes from exactly the same source as the demise of other specialty writing, and it has nothing to do with blogs, as easy as they are to blame.

  • David Honig


    Newspapers are cutting back on every expense, from local reporters to cartoonists. The same is happening with magazines. Why? There are many real reasons, and "blogs" is not on the list. First, younger people do not read. They do not read for pleasure. They do not read for information. They do not read. Yes, that is a generalization that fails on an individual level, but it performs perfectly on a macro-economic level. Second, those people who do read have an absurd plethora of choices so finely tuned they can pick not just "the good life" media covering fine wine, great cigars, and expensive cars, not just wine media, but magazines focused on specific wine regions, or focused on one brand of cars. The diluted readership is not enough to keep anybody afloat. The theory was that focused media would attract focused advertisers, but as you winnow down your readership to the three people interested in left bank Bordeaux picked on a Thursday by left-handed red-headed virgins between the ages of 16 and 18, well, the dollars do not follow.

  • Phil


    This is a slightly more macro comment than just looking at wine writing, but it hits at one of the biggest reasons for the demise of print media (and they did it to themselves): not only are they giving away their stuff for free, giving subscribers no reason to subscribe at all, they are also giving their stuff to their competitors for free. Take a good look at most of the news on a site like the Huffington Post (not the opinion blog pieces but the news): most of it comes from other media outlets. And not only can you get your news in aggregate form there, you can also read the entire article from any newspaper around the country for the most part (or news magazine). Places like the Post are making noises about getting into the newsgathering business themselves, and I hope they do. Maybe they see the writing on the wall that the current model is completely unsustainable–either the print media is going to wise up and their content is going to dry up or so much of the print media will be gone/cut back on newsgathering that their content is going to dry up. But then the Post is going to run into the same problem that the current print media has–it's expensive to truly operate a top-notch reporting outfit, so how are they going to pay for it?

    Bringing this back to wine, this is a major reason why we continue to resist calls from some people, mainly our writers, to make more of our stuff free and available to all. And this would be true, by the way, if were an online-only publication, because the same basic question still has to be answered: who is going to pay for all of this? If you make everything free, then it's going to have to be advertising based on eyeballs–and that's a real tough road to travel without any subscriber revenue.

    So no, blogs aren't responsible for the demise of print media, they've done that to themselves. But blogs are certainly a contributing factor by capitalizing on the utter stupidity of giving your product away for free and then expecting people to still pay for it.

    • 1WineDude


      I suppose it's a bit like blaming bit torrent for not being able to sell albums – it's not looking at the entire picture. Sure, MP3s allow music piracy, but would anyone say that the old music-making model isn't totally outdated and obsolete now?

      • Phil


        I think you're, understandably, a little too focused on blogs when looking at the big picture. My point, which somewhat agrees with yours, is that print media reacted quickly and stupidly to the advent of the Internet, and have done themselves in. Blogs are a factor, but not a cause, as a dissemenator of the content that is the sole reason to subscribe to a newspaper. To my mind, the ongoing squabble between some in the "old" media and the "new" media is sort of beside the point. Once you decided to give away your product for free, you can't turn around and blame other people for passing it on.

        There's no doubt that models change, but frequently over-reactions to that change are worse than the change itself. The music industry decided that they were going to stick their heads in the sand and paid the price rather than creating the new distribution outlet themselves and charging for it. The key isn't if you're using or not using new distribution models, it's are you making money off the new models or are you letting the new models destroy your ability to make money at all. And you also have to clearly differentiate between just what is new and what is not. New methods of distribution do not necessarily mean old models of creation are obsolete. In general, the higher the level of difficulty in terms of time, money, and skill the more resistant the creation model is to new forces. So back to the Huff Post, cracking a story like the overseas CIA prisons would be very difficult to do with a serious amount of money invested in personnel and logistics. So the old model of creation is pretty much the same, but new distribution models change the way we get the information.

        For wine, there's a lower barrier, so a lot of what has happened is that the voice of wine writing has been democratized and the filters have been removed. Which has been both good and bad and will continue to be so. The big question is will people still pay for something that still uses the older creation model (editors, assigning stories, paying writers) if they can't really get everything that comes with it for free elsewhere? We obviously think so, but only time will tell.

      • Phil Vogels


        I'm sorry Joe, I know I'm going back to an old posting, but I just couldn't resist, because I think this is pretty relevant to this whole discussion, which centers on whether you can earn a living as a blogger. Huffington Post is (incredibly to my view), not a profitable company at the moment:
        http://www.observer.com/2009/media/new-huffpo-ceo
        What's going to happen when their free news dries up? Back to wine, I think the big lesson here which is still being learned by many is that online advertising is a substitute for print ads and you have to find other ways (getting people to pay for your content) to make a go of it.

        • Phil Vogels


          Should read "online advertising is NOT a substitute for print ads", I obviously need a proof-reader :)

        • 1WineDude


          Hey Phil – no worries, always happy to have your input!

          I think that article is very relevant. And kind of frightening!

  • David Honig


    Third, people struggling to keep jobs, children, and health insurance do not have the same leisure time they did in the past. Two-income households, struggling to maintain the same quality of life as a one-income household a generation ago, scramble for every second, and leisure reading comes after making dinner, feeding the kids, taking them to soccer games and piano recitals, checking their homework, and finally getting a chance to take a breath at 9 p.m. or later. Finally, money. People have less money, and those who have a spare $10 wonder if it will still be "spare" next week.

    It is easy, and lazy, and wrong, to blame blogs for the demise of writing.

    • 1WineDude


      Well put – very similar to some of the concepts I was trying to touch on in my post.

  • Phil


    You know, I'm going to disagree with you Joe, on reflection, on Alice's decision. Forget about what blogs have or haven't done to the media. She's basically decided that she's giving herself away for free by blogging and that if she wants to continue to earn money as a wine writer, she needs to charge people for the privilege of reading her stuff. She's not giving up wine writing because of the cash, she's giving up blogging so she can earn money wine writing. Some of the comments seem to indicate that she should be creating the business model that leads blogging into a real business that you can make money out of instead of hobby (please no arrows unless you can name someone whose primary business, their prime source of income, is wine blogging). Why her? Because she's a big name? That doesn't mean she's more qualified to figure out what has eluded everyone else. You can tell she's explored charging for her blog from her posting, but concluded it wouldn't work. What else is there?

    Is it maybe a bit draconian to completely cut-off the blog instead of trying to use it to push people to pay for her work in other outlets? I would say so but I do understand her rationale.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, Phil!

      I'd agree with you there, in terms of the blog and the paid content not being mutually exclusive. Again, Jancis seems to be making that model work…

      • Phil


        Well, is she? I mean we don't really know without more information, unless I'm missing something, it could be that the entire website is a loss-leader or is really cannibalizing her book sales or some other factor we don't know. In the absence of other information, I'd say you're right and she's done a great job at integrating herself into the new distribution paradigm, much better than some others, but we don't have a way of knowing for sure. But I'd also say that simply copying her isn't going to work for everyone, we're not all Jancis Robinson :)

        • 1WineDude


          I suppose we could ask her (I know she listens to Arthur… :-)

      • Phil


        Well, is she? I mean we don't really know without more information, unless I'm missing something, it could be that the entire website is a loss-leader or is really cannibalizing her book sales or some other factor we don't know. In the absence of other information, I'd say you're right and she's done a great job at integrating herself into the new distribution paradigm, much better than some others, but we don't have a way of knowing for sure. But I'd also say that simply copying her isn't going to work for everyone, we're not all Jancis Robinson :)

  • The Beer Wench


    Essentially, writing is a method of communication and form of self-expression. Its significance has become more and more important in recent years with the rapid development of the internet and new medias. Just a few years ago, text messaging was viewed as taboo. Now, it is a primary method of contact. Personally, I would rather text people or send emails than spend time on the phone actually SPEAKING with them. New technologies and media trends have led to a severe decline in interpersonal interactions and the internet has done a good job of depersonalizing human interactions.

    But just as we were starting to become mass-typing and text-messaging robots … SOCIAL MEDIA came along. New tools such as blogs and twitter have allowed people to regain their personalities — and express themselves in different ways. Most bloggers are not trying to become professional writers. Instead, they are merely trying to express themselves and share their opinions and create connections with others. Think Maslow's hierarchy of means — for the most part we have our basic need of security and safety. But in today's depersonalized society, it is harder and harder to meet our self-esteem needs. This is where blogs fit in really well. They help to give us a purpose and connect us with others — and essentially gives us a sense of community, acceptance and respect.

    For me, one of the greatest aspects of social media is its genuineness. The best blogs are written by real people, with real voices and real opinions. The greatest writers are the ones who write with passion … regardless of whether or not they are being paid. I'm not stupid. I know when people are being paid to write something and I can see through the bullshit. Writers who stay true to themselves and do not waiver from their values and principles — those are the people's whose work I value most — regardless of their talent, their prestige and their "formal training."

    I think my main point is that blogs, like most social media platforms, are meant to be used as a platform for communication and self-expression. Yeah, for some of us it would be nice to get paid to do the things we are passionate about and love. I would love to get paid to travel around the world, drink beer, eat great food & write about it. My actually chances of making that a reality is slim. So does that mean I am going to shop sharing my passion for beer, wine & food with others just because I can't make it into a career? Hell no. I love beer. I love writing. And I LOVE connecting and sharing my passion for beer with others. AND THAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE. People don't read my blog because I'm a famous, rich & professional writer. They read it because they know I write with passion, regardless of the "perks".

    I might not always have the time, energy & resources to keep up with my blog. But it does not mean I will just give up.

    • The Beer Wench


      I meant MASLOWS HIERARCHY OF NEEDS!

    • 1WineDude


      Wow – great comments (and passionate!).

      Spinning off of your thoughts here… why not use the blog as a potential means to help you start to monetize your passions and loves…? Who knows, it just might work…! :)

  • David Honig


    One more thing, an observation in response to Alice's question- 'but don't you still blame blogs for bad writing?' In response, I stated great writing, like great music or great food, will always attract those who appreciate wine, music, or food. If you want to discuss the decline of writing quality you can not begin with blogs. Right now the best selling book on Amazon is "Glen Beck's Common Sense," while Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" is coming out as a movie. Children are lauded for reading "Harry Potter" while Kipling and Hemingway are cast aside as racists. No, I do not think you can blame blogs for the way people judge writing.

  • Dale Cruse


    Nothing killed writing. It's not dead. The comments in this thread prove that.

    I like Arthur's idea of a paid content network. Rather than pay for one blog, you'd buy a "season pass" to several. That would be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. B5 Media did it. Federated Media did it. Why can't we do it?

    I believe we need a strong, well-known voice like Alice's to start an effort like this instead of a nobody like me. Gary V could do it, though.

    • David Honig


      If I'm in, that's the best idea I've ever heard. You're great.

      If I'm out, that's a terrible idea and you suck.

      This should be interesting.

      • 1WineDude


        Uhm…. Yeah! Me too! :-))

    • Evan Dawson


      Gary V would be an interesting choice, considering he can't write even a little. But I suppose the point is that the voice needs to be strong and well known, not based on writing prowess. Anyway, I'm certainly intrigued by this.

      • Dale Cruse


        Evan, I agree that Gary V can't write. And I'm not talking out of school – he's admitted as much. But he's got one hell of a network to throw behind and effort like this as well as a tech team.

        I've actually pitched this idea to Gary a while back, having a network of "Vayniacs" blogging under the WL umbrella. He never bit. He's got so many irons in the fire already.

        • 1WineDude


          And trust me, I can tell you from experience that having a newborn baby daughter is like adding 10 more irons in the fire at the same time! :)

        • Evan Dawson


          Dale, We're on the same page. I only said as much about Gary because he acknowledges it (and I badly want to help his grammar and spelling on Twitter). But your idea was a good one; can't blame him for not biting. He's got so much going on and it all seems to work.

  • Phil


    I like that idea as well, but be prepared for a big backlash, I mean if you thought the whole Rockaway thing was a big deal, this would really split the community. But that's what happens in maturing industries–and I don't think you have to have a big name to make it happen, if you can put together a group of committed and talented people that's better than one big name turning around and asking everyone to charge.

    • 1WineDude


      Actually, a similar idea was proposed a couple of years ago, and it never took off…

  • Dylan


    "You can tell she's explored charging for her blog from her posting, but concluded it wouldn't work. What else is there?"

    How about acting on it? Charge for her blog. See if it works. If not she'll be in the same position as before. If she's confident in her content and the power of the 2000 to 5000 word articles she can write on there, then why not? I think that's what's left to try. I've said this before: if you ask someone if they would rather pay for something that they already get for free the answer will always be no. The reader is protecting their wallets/self-interest in saying so as any positive answer regarding pay-for-blog could actually lead to pay-for-blog. However, if the content sells then the people will pay a fair price. Will it be as many readers as before? Probably not, but what you retain is an outlet for your thought and the financial support to make it worthwhile–enough not only for writing the blog, but as you said, pushing people to pay for her work in other outlets.

    • Phil


      I don't disagree (what else is there was a reference to how else are you going to make money with a blog), but I tend to give people more of the benefit of the doubt when it's their livelihood. My apologies in advance, but the success of the blogs of Tom Wark or Alder Yarrow or Joe Roberts isn't the primary factor in them earning a living and putting food on the table. I think it's always easier to jump into the unknown if you have a backup or fallback position and it's clear from her post that Alice does not. So she thinks that she's contributing to her own demise and has decided to stop. I think she's taking things a step too far, but I understand where's she's coming from. I hope she takes your advice, but I don't think that she owes the rest of the blogging community to do it.

    • Arthur


      I agree. I have encouraged Alice to look into creating a "conglomerate" or "consortium" of wine writers who control the copyrights, and all IP matters and distribute and syndicate the content themselves – thus controlling the way they are compensated for their product/work.

      • 1WineDude


        Now *that* sounds intriguing….!

  • Dale Cruse


    Now it looks like Terry Hughes is shutting down Mondosapore: http://www.mondosapore.com/mondosapore/2009/06/bl

    • 1WineDude


      F–k! Are you serious?!?? That sucks…

  • Arthur


    Just for the sake of reference, this is the piece I am thinking of: http://www.redwinebuzz.com/winesooth/2008/06/11/t

    Kind of like the Huffington Post pools together various bloggers, my concept would unify bloggers from various "beats" under one roof – not unlike what Appellation America has been doing for several years.

  • Steve Raye


    Good conversation here and some very salient points. Here's my two cents: we need to put blogging in perspective. It is an evolving form of communication and its current form is guaranteed to change. So we shouldn't be as concerned with the problems of blogging today, so much as where it may be going, and how we can help it get there, at least in our small part of the blog world.
    A blog doesn't exist in isolation,and that's especially true for Alice…her blog is a voice and a point of view, and that voice is an influential one. But it's only one vehicle for her to communicate with an audience. Alice should look at her blog (and Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and, and , and…) as tools that work in concert to increase readership, influence, and ultimately her commercial value. That's especially true for someone who already is a professional writer. Don't look to the blog to make money, use the blog as a tool to raise the value of the things you sell for a living…articles and books.

    • 1WineDude


      Basic brand-building, I suppose!

  • Gary "Iron" Chevsky


    I don't think blogging is about writing. It's about marketing. Wine blogging or any other kind of blogging. You can be the best writer in the world, no one will read your stuff until they discover you. In the flood of blogs out there (which we are all contributing to) how do you stand out? In the past, maybe you interviewed for a job, spent your career honing your craft and climbing up the ladder, and finally published for a widely-circulated publication. Nowadays, you spit out a blurb 2 minutes after you decide that you are a born writer?! Take a lesson from Gary Vee and lots of other successful people. Market, market, market! Then if your content is half-decent, you will get some readership, and if your content is brilliant, then maybe someone will want to pay for it. But truth be told, there is one-in-a-million (maybe even in 10 million) folks out there who could garner that sort of attention and devotion. Because this information is not critical, but rather hobbyist. Unless you are publishing something that businesses need, you cannot count on consumers to pay! Ad ad-supported sites? – forget it! So enjoy the social prestige and the pleasure from the discourse and the wonderful wine experiences that enrich us, and go find a real job to finance this writing hobby. That's not the plight of wine blogging, it's just life and business.

    • 1WineDude


      Great points – if you want a blog with readership, then it's essential to engage in some form of personal 'brand building'. Cheers!

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