Telling it like it is
Remember the Rockaway brouhaha? That was last summer, when some bloggers were given samples of a wine, before the traditional critics got it, but only on the condition that they write about it.
When I suggested there might be something manipulative about this, I got jumped on, and the blogosphere ignited into the equivalent of a California wildfire. If I can characterize the bloggers’ defense, it was: “Hey, as long as we’re transparent, we’re above suspicion. And besides, it’s a new media world out there, and blogs are going to take over from magazines.”
I had to admit the issues were, and are, very complex in my mind, and I still get a little perplexed when I try to sort out all the various factors involved, including transparency. So this morning, when I came across this post on an Australian blog called Zakazukha Zoo, it just about blew my mind. Talk about transparency! The blogger, Matt Granfield, comes right out and says he “made a deal with Kirrihill Wines” (a Clare Valley producer) which he describes as “a social media marketing pact.” Matt gets 12 free bottles of Kirrihill wine because he’s “an influencer.” In return, Kerrihill gets the opportunity to get mentioned on his blog. Who reads Matt’s blog? He tells us: “at least 30 people.” He also has “177 friends on Facebook…34 Twitter followers [and] 30 connections on LinkedIn.”
Matt has a proper sense of proportion. “I’m clearly not James Halliday,” he writes, but he is someone a winery such as Kirrihill might “think would be handy to have on their side.” He’s a clever fellow. Using a mathematical formula based on the value of his “Industry Authority Score,” “Social Authority,” Industry Reach” and “Social Reach,” he calculates that he will bring a return on investment (ROI) of $248.25 this year to Kirrihill. “That’s not too bad really,” Matt concludes.
I take my hat off to young Matt Granfield. In the blog’s “About Us” tab he writes “Matt Granfield’s online marketing career began at age 11 when he wrote a computer program on an Amstrad CPC to track inventory of Christmas trees…”. There’s something garagiste about what he calls his “career trajectory,” and I mean that both in the sense of a garagiste winery and the garage in which Hewlett and Packard started their little company (and, later, Jobs and Wozniak). From little acorns do giant trees grow. I have seen the future of online wine marketing and its name is Matt Granfield.