Cathy VanOrder of New York won the early bird draw for a $200 gift certificate at her favorite wine store. She has now collected it and both she and the wine store owner are happy. We have instituted another early bird draw with a $100 prize and a deadline of December 15. Everyone who completes the survey still goes into the final draw for the $500 prize.
We keep sending out requests for participation in our study and the responses come in slowly but surely. We have now heard from 93 blog creators and 53 readers, but are still stuck with the same 15 contributors. Several blog owners who have either posted our message on their sites or conveyed it to their readers through other social media have helped our efforts.
As part of this project I have looked at hundreds of blogs that have or at least claim to have something to do with wine. There are two really striking aspects that emerge from those that I have examined. First, there is amazing diversity. From pompous to irreverent, from strictly amateur to extremely professional, from beautifully illustrated to vanilla plain, from highly specialized to all over the map there is certainly a wine blog or more likely a dozen for any taste. The second feature I noticed was the amount of effort that people put into their blogs. Some of the amateur blogs obviously take a great deal of time and effort not just in the writing and presentation, but also in acquiring the expertise they demonstrate. Some of these people are connected with the wine industry, but others come from quite different professional backgrounds. Although we began this project with some basic academic questions about blogs, we have all learned much more than we anticipated through our research.