Should The Wine Spectator Promote My Wine Blog?
Vinography is the location of some of the best blog-hosted conversations in wine blogdom. This of course is due to Alder Yarrow’s incisive writing and observation skill. I was reminded of this, and provoked to some deep thinking, when I read Alder’s and his commenters’ thoughts on Wine Spectator Matt Kramer’s August 31 column in that magazine.
Alder points out in a post entitled "What is Matt Kramer Smoking", that Kramer, in writing about the problems and difficulties in recommending very low production wines, takes note of bloggers. In the course of saying that bloggers are guilty of this too, Kramer notes there are good wine blogs but fails to mention any.
This sort of got Alder’s goat…that Kramer would mention there are good wine bloggers but fail to mention any of them in print.
And this leads me to wonder, is there any good reason why Kramer (and the Wine Spectator) should fail to mention the names of Wine Blogs) they like?
Now this might sound like the hubris of a wine blogger (me), but I suspect that Matt Kramer and the Wine Spectator, and for that reason any other wine magazine, has very few good reason to promote wine blogs for the simple reason that these publications are in business of two reason: Provide compelling wine information to their readers and provide their advertisers with an attentive audience. Pointing readers to other wine "publications", such as blogs, serves none of these purposes.
The hubris comes in where I suggest that wine blogs are competitors to Wine Publications such as the Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Wine News, Wine Enthusiast and Quarterly Review of Wines. To date, no wine blog has arrived anywhere near the level of readership or influence as any of these publications. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that a pure wine blog will reach parity of influence and readership with them any time soon.
Still, if I imagine myself i the shoes of Wine Spectator Editor and Publisher Marvin Shanken, I can’t imagine the circumstances under which I would give any ink to a wine blogger, let alone a print competitor. Now, I’d distinguish winery-written blogs from this formal ban I would impose. Winery Blogs are in now way the same type of competitor. That said, my job is to keep the wine soaked eyeballs focused on my own publication.
Of course I have no idea if this is why Matt Kramer failed to list any of the blogs he thinks are good. But it’s beside the point. The point is to recognize that profit driven publishing enterprises have no business undercutting the advertisers they court by sending readers or potential readers to significant or even insignificant competitors.
Yet, it should be noted that the Wine Spectator does recognize the potential of the Blog. They’ve instituted a number of them, each written by various editors and writers. I’m sure what they see in them in the stickiness that can result from a regularly updated, more intimate and more timely presentation of their talent’s views and idea.
The wine blogosphere, and individual blogs, will need to look outside the established wine print media for exposure. There are no two ways about this. So far, I’ve not witnessed a blog that has reaped the results of anything like an ongoing campaign to market their place on the Net. However, I’m absolutely convinced that if a good blog, such as Vinography, were to undertake such an effort they would reap tremendous benefits.
A collection of wine blogs would also benefit highly from a well coordinated outreach campaign that simply touted the benefit to wine lovers of looking to the blogosphere for their wine information, reviews and news. But again, no such effort has taken place. What publicity does come to individual blogs has resulted for the most part from happenstance.
What would it cost a blogger or collection of bloggers to put together and carry out their own campaign on behalf of a single blog or their collective? Mainly time. But it an investment of no more than $6,000 to $8,000 could result in tremendous exposure. I suspect I’m not telling any savvy wine bloggers anything they’ve not already suspected.