What’s the value of ranking blogs?

And how does one accomplish this in any meaningful way that presents utility?  If such a list were to exist (and there are many, many such lists out there) what are the important factors and how do you determine them?  Is traffic paramount?  And how do you determine a blog’s traffic without the owner disclosing it?  Some folks use Alexa…I doubt the validity of Alexa. The thumbnail for my site there is still the “parked” site with ads on it.  I’ve been using WannabeWino.com for about 6 months…so that suggests to me it doesn’t update and isn’t accurate.  Not to mention it says I have virtually no traffic…which is not true!

How about Technorati authority?  Well, again, not terribly accurate, doesn’t update as often as you’d like, and doesn’t catch anywhere near the number of links that actually come into your site.  Again, I know this for a fact as I have lots of people linking to me that don’t show up on Technorati.

So then, what inspired this post, there’s what Pamela did about a month and a half ago over at Enobytes.  She Googled “wine blogs” and then weeded out the results that were commercial sites, relists of other blogs, or hadn’t updated in 3 months, etc., thereby devising “Google’s Top 100 Wine Blogs.”  My blog didn’t show up.  In fact, you could have scrolled through 60 pages of Google results and still not found me.  Yet my blog has been around for 2 years, has decent traffic, plenty of incoming links, etc.  What was I lacking?  As I pointed out in her post, the term “wine blog” was missing.  I decided then I wanted to do an experiment and see what would happen if I changed the title of my blog to include the words “wine blog.”  Well, it worked, I’m now on page 4 of the Google Results, which I think would put my blog at around #20 now.

What was the point of this?  Simply to point out that there is a flaw in creating a list of best blogs as there’s really not a great method to quantify it in any meaningful way.  It took less than a month (and probably less than that, I forgot to check until just about 4 weeks in), simply by adding the words “wine blog” to my site, to move my blog from non-existent in 60+ pages of results all the way up to page 4.

Ultimately, I don’t really see the utility of attempting to rank wine blogs.  So many different types exist, from review blogs, to winery blogs, to wine business blogs, they all cover different facets of wine life and focus on different audiences and purposes. The best way I’ve found to discover new wine blogs is through the blogrolls of blogs I like.  I figure if the author likes them enough to list them, I’ll check them out…and then find more from there!  That’s how I ended up finding wine blogs in the first place.  I read The Pour, and followed the blogroll from there, to others, to the point where I now have over 300 wine blogs in my Google Feed Reader.  My advice: find a wine blogger you like, and read his or her blogroll and move on from there!

Wine With A Cause IV

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Colangelo & Partners Public Relations

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I received the 2007 Celebrate Life Merlot from the Fantinel Family Wine Company in Friuli, Italy and decided it would be a great addition to my series on wineries doing charitable works with profits from their wine. This particular bottle retails for $15, had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume.

$1 from every bottle is donated to help fight world hunger.  Specifically, the proceeds go to the Initiatives of the Intergovernmental Institution for the Use of Micro-Algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition.  The bottle tells me that Spirulina is a sustainable protein rich food that is one of the most effective tools in fighting world hunger. I had to look this one up, as I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it.  Wikipedia lets me know that it’s an algae that is comprised of up to 77% protein and has been used as a food source since the time of the Aztecs.  Apparently, the organization this wine supports formed after the UN endorsed Spirulina as a food source in 1974.  Who knew?

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On the nose I found a little funk, berries, plums, eucalyptus, mint, cedar, smoke, definitely a little barnyard, and some cocoa powder.  The fruit blew off quickly and showed the nose as all smoke and eucalyptus.  In the mouth I got some plums, spice, mint, oddly enough I taste popcorn, raspberry, and red fruit.

Overall, the mouth showed as a bit fruitier than the nose, but this is totally a different style of Merlot than what I am used to.  I believe this may be my first Merlot from Italy!  The has nice acidity, tart fruit, and was quite restrained compared to other Merlots I’ve had.  Smooth, and drinking fine now, this would be great to tote along to all those holiday parties, especially since some of the profits go to charity!