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.
Actually what got my goat even more was the fact that Kramer questioned the relevance of blogs which in his opinion tended to write about only obscure wines that no normal person could get. A charge that is completely without merit and incredibly hypocritical given the Spectator’s tendency to highly review wines with miniscule production levels.
That aside, however, let me ask you this: why is it that most major food magazines have referenced food blogs but the wine magazines haven’t referenced wine blogs?
Heck, Food and Wine magazine now even has something on their web site where they are linking to the “blog post of the week.”
Bitacle Blog Search Archive – Should The Wine Spectator Promote My Wine Blog?
[…] Vinography is the location of some of the best blog-hosted conversations in wine blogdom. […]
I think that Matt is confusing blogs with forums like eBob. In the 3rd paragraph of his column he states this:
“What with chat boards and blogs, you can get lost in the crossroads of argument and discussion. (You can also get dismayed at the uncivil mudslinging, but that’s another subject.)”
Any avid wine blog reader would know the distinction between blogs and online forums but it appears Matt does not. Most of his description here fits the wine forum to a T as they are the ones chasing highly rated and scarce bottles and bragging about it, not us (most of the time, anyway). I can’t point to a single argument between wine bloggers in over 2 years of reading. In contrast, nearly every thread at eBob has some sort of cheap shot and sometimes these become heated exchanges.
We are still in very early days here, Gentlemen. I firmly believe the next Parker will be a wine blogger and the next Wine Spectator will be a multi-author blog. It’s only a matter of time and easier reading devices that make the blog subscription process a no-brainer.
I think Alder uncovers something very telling about many professional/mainstream writers and journalists – they often make wild assertions appear as fact.
Exhibit A: “Kramer questioned the relevance of blogs which in his opinion tended to write about only obscure wines that no normal person could get. A charge that is completely without merit and incredibly hypocritical given the Spectator’s tendency to highly review wines with miniscule production levels”
Sure, I or others occasionally talk about rare vino. Yet, more often than not, I’m talking about large production wines that are easily found.
My challenge to Matt is this: If blogs only write about obscure wines, then tell us exactly which blog(s) you are reffering to.
I also think Tim makes an interesting observation. It’s amazing how many people talk about blogs without not really knowing what they are. For the booleans out there: A blog =! Forum
I’m surprised that Kramer would resort to what is simply bad journalism; you don’t mention something, an idea or concept in a story or column without giving examples. Otherwise, you leave your readers feeling ignorant (while the writer looks superior). It’s also the fault of the editors at WS, who seemed to snooze this right on by. (Or don’t care.)
take a look at blogdemic.com
Blogdemic is a new service that allows blogs to trade imps, base on related topics etc.
Blogdemic can dynamically/automatically create your advertising banner using your RSS feed and we also allow our users to setup default tags (like google adsense) to be disable along with our blog users tags (you can set the percentage)