If a wine blogger accepts advertising or press samples, this my lead to the appearance of impropriety (cough, bribery, cough).
How do the big media wine mags operate? Of course they exist on advertising, which makes it easy for us, rapscallion wine bloggers to point fingers at them and make snide remarks about certain wine critics’ ethics or integrity.
Guess what? I don’t care about the big wine media corps. I care about..
..the conversation. I care about what Lenn has to say on LI wine. I care about Alder’s latest wine review. I get all happy and giddy when I consider that I can praise a wine and have a fellow blogger heartily disagree with me. Big wine media and its coven of critics tell people what to think about wine, but their audience doesn’t get the chance to respond or challenge. We can discuss/debate/argue all-the-damn day if we like. We drive the conversation.
Now what about the advertisements popping up on some of my daily reads like Fermentation? Do I suspect Tom will kowtow to KLWines? Nope. Do I fear Tom’s content will be co-opted? I don’t worry at all.
Let’s take the idea of potential corporate blog pollution to the extreme: Suppose that Big Corporate Winery ‘bought’ a blogger and told her/him to write nice things (AKA marketing baloney) about its wine. The blog would die. It would be inauthentic and branded blatantly corporate. In other words, it would be outed.
Wine blogs are going to change the paradigm. I welcome advertisers; I welcome sponsors. However, as Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble says, “Any idea that you [the corporation] can control what people are saying about you or your company is totally out the window. The only choice you have now is whether or not to join in the conversation.”