Well, we’ve made it. Wine bloggers now have our own horse race statistics, so we must be important to the universe.
Like all other horse races, there are winners and there are losers. The horse (and the jockey) determines who wins by being the first to step over the finish line. The horses that follow are assigned the number in which they arrive. Can’t be much simpler or more objective than that.
Bloggers are rated based on the traffic to their sites, which says something about the number of readers but says absolutely nothing about the blogger’s PR, connections, skill, or influence.
Note: you can look at a horse and tell its gender. Not always so with a blogger’s name.
To be serious for a minute—it’s hard to be serious about any rating system—I wasn’t shocked to learn of a Web site devoted to presenting us with an updated top 100 wine blog listing. But I flipped over the top when I discovered that there are more than 500 wine blogs on the Internet. 500!
I know there are thousands of wines to talk about on any given day, but really, how much wine information do we need? Or better still, how much duplication of effort is built into that 500-plus wine blog number? And how will I ever get to the top of that heap?
When I started Vinofictions my aim was to make a stab at dispelling the many myths connected to wine. I quickly learned that such a thing as trying to dethrone hype and mythology can create a following of enemies as well as readers.
I’ve never met some of my Internet enemies. In fact, I’ve never actively cultivated enemies so I am sure I could get along with a few of them had we the chance to sip a glass of wine together.
A few unseen enemies send me direct email, others sneak around the Internet looking to catch me say something stupid (which I’m sure is an easy task) and then they “out” me on some other wine forum, still others simply disregard what I write because they don’t think that I matter.
That last group probably has it right. How the hell could I matter? Vinofictions didn’t make the top 100 blogs! In fact, Vinofictions hasn’t won anything, not even Tom Wark’s annual blog competition, although some poor soul nominated me two years ago.
I haven’t read all 500-plus wine blogs—and don’t intend to. Yet, the ones that I have read shake out into three distinct categories: well written; funny; largely self-promotional.
Within the three above categories are many subcategories; these are some of them.
The blogger with a point;
the blogger without a point;
the blogger with knowledge;
the blogger with little knowledge;
the blogger who gets paid to write the blog;
the blogger that is in it for love, and probably for insanity;
the blogger who has a day job that may or may not be connected to wine;
the blogger whose day job is wine writing, and blogging is an extension of that job;
the blogger who just loves wine and wants to talk about it with us;
the blogger who loves wine and wants to educate us;
the blogger who can’t stop talking, even when nothing of importance is coming out;
the blogger who needs no introduction;
the blogger who couldn’t get arrested, let alone an introduction;
the blogger with connections;
the blogger without connections;
the blogger who accepts free wine, and maybe blogs just for that reason;
the blogger who accepts free wine because there’s no pay behind the job of blogging;
the blogger who accepts free wine with all the good intentions of a wine critic;
the blogger who prays for free wine but doesn’t get any;
the blogger who accepts no free wine;
the blogger who accepts gifts of any kind, including junkets;
the blogger who dreams of receiving gifts and junkets;
the blogger who is a self-appointed wine critic;
the blogger with wine training;
the blogger who claims to have a ‘good palate’ but wasn’t trained;
the blogger who regularly misspells the word ‘palate’ and also misuses the word ‘varietal;’
the blogger with enemies;
the blogger with friends;
the blogger who engenders indifference;
the blogger who doesn’t appear on everyone’s blog roll;
the many, many more blogger subcategories that I cannot come up with right now.
Now I ask you: with all the subcategories of bloggers, what is a rating firm to do?
Algorithms—that’s the answer.
Why use cognizant thought to evaluate the critics when algorithm does it for you? After all, isn’t that what the information age is all about?
Maybe we can devise an algorithm to evaluate wine. Then, we won’t need no stinkin’ bloggers.
If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.
Copyright Thomas Pellechia
May 2009. All rights reserved.