Tag Archives: wine blogs

Birthday candles

Winebits 360: Birthday week edition

Birthday weekA few notes after the past year of blog posts about cheap wine, wine education, and the wine business:

? Operating system wars: Microsoft controls about 90 percent of the world’s computer operating system market with its various Windows products, but not on the blog. Just 52 percent of visitors over the past year used a Windows operating system to get here, and almost one-third of those had Windows XP installed — which died in April. Still, Windows was the most popular operating system, with Apple’s mobile iOS and desktop Macintosh tied for second at 16 percent. My beloved Linux was at 1.3 percent, good for seventh (and I think I know the other person who uses Linux to get here).

? Picking a browser: Another surprise, given that the world’s most used browser is one of Microsoft’s Internet Explorers (warts and all) at about 55 percent of the world market. On the blog, though, Apple’s Safari (warts and all), is the top browser with 29 percent, with Explorer at 24 percent. Chrome and Firefox, the geek browsers of choice, were tied at around 19 percent.

? Expensive wine: The best-read expensive wine post over the last year was for a Virginia wine, the Barboursville Octagon, which ran in August 2013. It was No. 115. In one respect, this isn’t surprising, since the blog isn’t about expensive wine. But that it did better than host of cheap wine posts, including the recent discussion about Spanish wine value, speaks to how popular Barboursville is in the world of regional wine.

Website

New features for the blog?

New features for the blog?

Always trying to find the right mix for readers.

Update: Thanks for all the emails — some very good advice and comments about what we’re doing here and how we do it. I was quite flattered to have so many people tell me they didn’t want anyone else to write for the blog.

Still working on the transition from the old platform to the new, and especially with updating the broken links — and we’re only in the seventh month after the switch. The Internet is a wonderful thing, and Google’s search algorithms are even more special.

Having said that, it’s time to continue the blog’s progress into the 21st century, and that means I need your thoughts about the following. If you like the ideas — or don’t like them — leave a comment at the end of this post or .

? A regular (monthly? every six weeks?) live chat about cheap wine, the wine business, and so forth, where you can come to the blog and ask me questions in real time. You type them in, and I answer. I’ve done this elsewhere, and it’s usually a lot of fun. The catch? What happens if you hold a chat and no one is there to chat?

? Someone besides me writing blog posts. I’m thinking about this not so much because I’m tired of writing the posts but because I’m wondering if another voice — though still focused on what we do here, still objective about wine, and still a quality writer — would add something to the blog. Also, if you’d like to so some writing for the blog, .

? Wine Curmudgeon TV. I’ve toyed with this before, but the logistics have always been daunting. They aren’t quite as daunting these days, so the question is: Is it worthwhile to do a shortish, 10-minute chat with a guest or guests about wine? And what kind of guests? Because winemaker interviews and features haven’t been all that popular here.

wine advice

Update: Technical problems on the blog

Update: Technical problems on the blog

No, the Wine Curmudgeon didn’t feel like this yesterday. Nope. Not at all.

11 a.m. update: The missing posts and comments have returned, and all is mostly back to normal. Thanks for your patience.

The good news is that we figured out what happened yesterday, when at least six posts — including the post scheduled for Monday — vanished from the server that hosts the blog. Also missing were a variety of other items, including all the comments from last week, and those should return, too, once all is corrected. So no, I’m not censoring comments, for those of you who wondered.

The bad news is that the problem hasn’t been fixed yet, though I have been assured it will fixed “soon.” And, because it wouldn’t be any fun unless there were more complications, I can’t post anything new to the blog because the new post (including this one, which I will have to repost) will disappear as soon as the problem is fixed. So it’s just as easy to wait until then.

That’s because (for those of you with a technical bent), this is a server issue. Somehow, part of the blog exists on one server, and the rest exists on another. And because the Wine Curmudgeon appreciates irony, yesterday’s blog traffic was no worse than usual. Maybe people just want to read me complain, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s about wine.

Google AdSense, wine blogs, and Joe Camel

Google AdSense, wine blogs, and Joe Camel

Google AdSense, wine blogs, and Joe Camel

“Hey, kids. Why don’t you try some wine with your smokes?”

Most wine blogs can’t participate in Google’s AdSense network, perhaps the leading on-line ad service. That’s because, as I found out when I applied, we violate its terms of service: “We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below. Issues: Drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcohol, beer or tobacco. … Please remove all drug-related content from your site, then resubmit your application.”

That we’re doing nothing illegal and that we don’t have any drug-related content to remove seems like just another of those wonderful, Google-esque ways the search giant does business: Buying companies to close them, discontinuing popular services, or agreeing with the Chinese government that Internet censorship isn’t such a bad thing.

But Google’s decision to ban wine blogs from AdSense goes deeper than that, speaking to the contradictions inherent in wine and alcohol 80 years after Prohibition, thanks to the NeoDrys, fear of underage drinking, and the three-tier system. Google doesn’t object to wine, as near as I can tell. It just doesn’t want to be responsible for someone buying it who might break the law, because that could lead to nasty publicity, lawsuits, and the besmirching of its good name. More, after the jump:

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Cake-Wine-Tops

Birthday Week 2013: More growth and some growing pains

One of the reasons I procrastinated about moving the website to a more efficient platform and updating its look is that I knew that one of the results would be a kick in the metrics. Sure enough, that’s what happened this year — a record-setting April, and then lots of ups and downs as changes in Internet search patterns and in breaking in the new site did what they always do.

Having said that — and as demonstrated with the always popular colored chart — we’re still making signifcant progress in bringing the gospel of cheap wine to the masses. All told, the number of average daily visitors has increased 4,172 percent from that first year. Plus, this year saw the first- and third-best days ever — the Two-buck Chuck gold medal controversy and the Treasury debacle.

The annual bullit points ? almost as popular as the chart. On Thursday, I’ll count down the top posts of the past 12 months:

? Can’t report most of the Internet geeky stuff this year, like Quantcast rating or Google page rank. Much of the information was lost in the transition to the new platform.

? The blog ?s audience is younger and more female again this year, as near as I can tell. My efforts in this area seem to be paying off, and I will continue them in 2014.

? The $10 Hall of Fame, for the first time ever, was not the most popular post. That honor went to the 2012 Barefoot review; the 2012 Hall of Fame was second and the 2013 Hall of Fame was fourth. This is significant, even though some of it was probably caused by changing platforms and the drop-off after April.

? Anyone who doubts the importance of sweet red wine should know that the ultimate guide to sweet red wine was the eighth most popular post over the past year, and the wine term post about residual sugar was 12th. The Winestream Media may not care or notice, but wine drinkers do.

? About 87 percent of visitors came from the U.S., a figure that was a bit higher than in previous years. A little more than five percent came from New York City, which was twice as many as the next two cities, Dallas and San Francisco, each less than 2 1/2 percent. The site had 12 visitors from Iran and seven from Mongolia. Think they had some availablity problems?

More about the blog’s history:
? Birthday week 2012
? Birthday Week 2011
? Birthday Week 2010

Birthday week begins Nov. 14

The blog celebrates its fourth birthday the week of Nov. 14, which means a brightly colored chart, a couple of long posts with lots of bullit items, and the annual review of Tormaresca Neprica, the wine that has attracted the most visitors over the past four years.

Plus, of course, prizes — because the Wine Curmudgeon doesn't celebrate the blog's birthday without thanking the people who have kept me here since 2007. I'll give away a copy of George Taber's new book (hopefully autographed), "A Toast to Bargain Wines"; a bottle of Neprica; and two tickets to DrinkLocalWine's fourth annual conference, DLW 2012 in Denver. I'm still working on a couple of other items, which will probably be wine accessories.