Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taking issue with this issue

I recently read in the December, 2010 issue (issue 90) of Whisky Magazine an article by Tim Forbes entitled, "New digital emperors." In the issue, Mr. Forbes states, "Your multi-million pound brand is at the mercy of a socially inept geek with a vicious inferiority complex." The article mostly says that there are a lot of tech-savvy whisky bloggers in the world who can get good Google page ranks, and that this can be bad because these people can overly criticize and subsequently destroy whisky brands.


This article could compete with the discharge coming out of the literary bowels of Fox News. Here are my reasons for completely dismissing this article:
  1. The curious masses don't just read a single blog and think the opinions stated there are the end-all opinions on whisky. I know I check a number of sources before potentially coming to a maybe-sort-of opinion about a whisky I've never actually tried myself. And I'm pretty sure that anyone who has a decent understanding of whisky would do the same. Even whisky novices would be smart enough not to only read one blog they found on Google and decide they hate a whisky they've never tried; if they're not smart enough to do this, they're also probably not smart enough to read in the first place.
  2. Big brands like The Macallan and The Glenlivet don't get brought down overnight by some dude with a blog - they have a global presence and a strong following, because they have good products. People with an obvious agenda against a brand will be viewed as fools, not as prophets.
  3. John Hansell over at Malt Advocate, for example, runs a great blog that is consistently top-rated in Google and I don't think he's just some socially inept geek with a vengeance. You have to be decently well-connected and respected to run a blog that people actually want to read, because you need access to the products and people that keep a blog interesting.
  4. A self-respecting blogger would not just rag on a brand for no good reason and expect people to keep listening.
  5. Please show me an example of a time when such a scenario has actually happened. The article makes no indication that this has any historical precedent. I believe this article is just wild speculation and should have been left on the editing room floor, or better yet, in the author's head.
I also viewed this article as a bit of an affront to people who are new to whisky and want to voice their opinions because they have a genuine interest in the products. You have to start somewhere, and I find this article to be a bit condescending toward those who want to get their foot in the door.

I personally took offense, too. I mean, I run a whisky blog and am not a socially inept geek with an inferiority complex. It's a superiority complex. Get it right.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. For one thing, I've noticed that whisky bloggers, on the whole, tend to be more complimentary and supportive of whiskies they feature on their blogs, while professional reviews in books (such as Jim Murray's and Michael Jackson's) sometimes sound dismissive or focus on flaws. Also, I feel this effect works in reverse: if I read a scathing review of a peat monster or something with 'burnt vinyl' in the tasting notes, I usually want to run out and try it for myself to see if it really is bad. A "bad" whisky is, in itself, so unusual that I doubt any reader will take an uncomplimentary blog post very seriously, and if your distillery is worried about lukewarm reviews on the 'net, maybe that will push the industry to strive (even more) for quality!