A Wine Blogosphere Update: WOW
In November of last year I had the gumption to make a series of predictions considering the Wine Blogging world. Among them was this one:
3. The number of wine blogs will double
In November 2004, 26 blogs were listed on Wine Blog Watch.
In July of this year 82 blogs were listed. Today there are 120 listed.
Lots of people will take up wine blogging in 2006. The question of
interest though is who and why?
Well, today Wine Blog Watch is tracking 214 wine blogs. Not a very good prediction, was it.
In fact, in only four months the world of wine blogs has nearly doubled. Since I launched FERMENTATION in November 2004 the number of wine blogs has increased over 800 Percent.
What the hell is going on?
Clearly we are looking at a technology that has a tremendous ability to empower the individual. If you are just a blog reader, and not a blog author reading this, you must have some inkling of just how easy it is to launch and maintain a blog. If you are an author…you are well aware of this.
Consider the change. I was watching C-SPAN this morning and there was a journalist recounting her time in Vietnam during the war. She wrote for magazines. She explained that to file her story she got out an envelope, dropped in a typewritten manuscript, put a stamp on it and sent it off to America. Today, she would log on to the net, write the story, hit a button and it is likely published instantly.
Yea…things have changed.
MAINSTREAMERS COMING ON BOARD
The growth in wine blogging and wine blog readership has resulted in a number of interesting developments. First, we now have a number of professional writers or journalists who have taken up blogging: Jon Bonne of MSNBC, Mark Fisher of the Dayton Daily News, Eric Asimov of the New York Times and Alice Feiring of Time Magazine. I’m sure I’m missing a couple too. This is significant. Both the NY Times and Dayton Daily News sell ad space on their blogs, meaning they believe in its power to attract an audience. It’s a very confirmational development.
AGGREGATORS GET IN THE GAME
Second, we see a number of wine blog aggregators out there now where you can go and read in one place the entries from a number of different bloggers. Among them are EwineCentral, WineLust, and AlaWine.com. Again, this is another strong indication that a perception exists that wine blogs are adding considerable value to the world of wine information.
ADVERTISING: IT’S A BUSINESS
Third, it’s not just the mainstream media blogs that have attracted advertising. There are not a number of wine blogs (including this one) that are accepting advertising and getting it. And we are not talking about Google Ads here. Also, there is now a "Winebloggers Network" at BlogAds where you can by an ad across a range of different wine blogs in one easy swoop. Another indication that we are talking not merely about a bunch of geeks spewing wine ratings, but about a full fledged medium that works.
I’m going to be teaching a class tomorrow at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa on Winery Public Relations. I’m going to be asked a series of questions about wine blogs. At this point I honestly don’t know what I’m going to say when I’m asked, "What’s the future of Wine Blogs from a publicist’s perspective?" I just don’t know where this is leading either for the bloggers (of which I’m one), for advertisers (of which I’m one) and for wineries and their marketing types (of which I’m one).
I do know this, the growth in wine blogs is not close to peaking. Not nearly. There will likely be 300 tracked at WineBlogWatch by next year. And every time a NY Times, MSNBC or Dayton Daily News jumps into the game, it will result in more mainstream media and more individuals being inspired to do the same.
So here’s my advice to an entrepreneur out there. Don’t just build a blog. Build a KILLER wine blog aggregation site where readers can go and look over the very best of the wine blogs. Make it timely. Apply an editors eye to the stories you allow to be re-posted. Set up your own blog on the site. Promote the hell out of it. Become the champion of wine blog-produced information. And SELL ADVERTISING!!