Tag: wikio

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Wikio beer and wine blog rankings: March

Another month of all change – at least outside the top five.  This table is virtually unrecognisable from what it was a few months ago!

1 Pete Brown’s Blog
2 Pencil & Spoon
3 Beer Reviews
4 Master Brewer at Adnams
5 Are You Tasting the Pith?
6 Bibendum Wine
7 Drinking Outside The Box
8 Travels With Beer
9 Zythophile
10 The Wine Conversation
11 The Good Stuff
12 Ghost Drinker
13 Raising the Bar
14 Spittoon
15 Called to the bar
16 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog
17 HopZine.com
18 Tandleman’s Beer Blog
19 Bordeaux-Undiscovered
20 The Pub Curmudgeon

Drinking made by Wikio

My return to the top is due to a combination of Young Dredge being preoccupied with starting a new job, and me finishing a freelance adman contract that freed up some time to blog.  I think it will be the last time I’m top of the pile for a while… as the readership of beer blogs grows, it gets more competitive, and I’m not going to be able to blog as much for the rest of this year thanks to getting quite a bit of new column and feature work, the upcoming Stokey LitFest, the next Cask Report, and what will hopefully be imminent good news on new books which will need to be turned around very quickly – I’ll blog more fully about those when and if they are confirmed.

You can see the list for yourself.  From now on when I preview these rankings (and if you want to preview them yourself, PLEASE drop me a line – it would be good to spread this around a bit more) I think I’ll just pick on one blog that’s showing some action and urge you to check it out if you haven’t already done so.

This month I want to have a look at number eight, Travels with Beer, mainly because it is more focused on pub photography than writing, and we don’t really think about about photography generally when we think about communicating beer.  Good photographs of pubs are wonderfully evocative, and Robert Gale from South Wales is very good at taking them.  I get a very sharp yearning to just be in most of the pubs depicted on the site.

Rob is one half of www.BeerLens.com, a transatlantic partnership of beer loving snappers with the delightful Kim Reid in Rochester, NY.  Kim was one of the people who looked after me on a recent trip to the city, and is probably the only person living in America who wishes she lived in Newport, South Wales, instead.  Most people who live in Newport don’t want to, so it’s an extraordinary enthusiasm to have.

Travels with Beer is also brilliantly laid out and put together, and makes me feel quite ashamed of my basic blogger template.

Generally it feels like beer blogging is starting to get a bit more serious, a bit more respected, a bit more polished.  There will always be good and bad of course, but ‘noisome bloggers’ (copyright: Roger Protz) have in the space of a few years become a fundamental part of beer communication, and have made it much more diverse, richer and more influential.

Social media + world’s most sociable drink – not hard to see why, is it?

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Wikio Rankings – February

It’s all change in the Wikio rankings – not sure what’s going on!

1 Pencil & Spoon
2 Pete Brown’s Blog
3 Beer Reviews
4 Master Brewer at Adnams
5 Bibendum Wine
6 Zythophile
7 Drinking Outside The Box
8 Reluctant Scooper
9 Sour Grapes
10 The Wine Conversation
11 Spittoon
12 Tandleman’s Beer Blog
13 Are You Tasting the Pith?
14 Called to the bar
15 Raising the Bar
16 Rabid About Beer
17 Thornbridge Brewers’ Blog
18 The Good Stuff
19 The Pub Curmudgeon
20 Real Brewing at the Sharp End

Ranking made by Wikio

Congrats to Young Dredge for making the top spot.

Interesting to see some wine guys making a much stronger showing than they have over the last year or so – this can only be encouraging in terms of diversity etc.

I’m also really pleased to see brewers’ own blogs making an increasingly strong showing, with Adnams, Sharps and Thornbridge in there – not sure what’s happened to Brew Dog!

Off the back of hosting The Session, Reluctant Scooper shows a strong rise.  If you’ve never read him before, please take the chance to do so now.

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Who’s the Christmas number one?

Ah, that’s better!

Wikio.co.uk – December Beer and Wine Ranking

1 Pete Brown’s Blog (+3)
2 Brew Dog Blog (+1)
3 Pencil & Spoon (-1)
4 Boggle About Beer (-3)
5 Zythophile (=)
6 The Pub Curmudgeon (+2)
7 Tandleman’s Beer Blog (-1)
8 Are You Tasting the Pith? (+3)
9 Beer Reviews (-2)
10 Thornbridge Brewers’ Blog (+5)
11 The Wine Conversation (+7)
12 Rabid About Beer (+2)
13 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog (-1)
14 Called to the bar (-5)
15 Spittoon (+4)
16 “It’s just the beer talking” – Jeff Pickthall’s Blog (+19)
17 The Beer Nut (-4)
18 Master Brewer at Adnams (-8)
19 I might have a glass of beer (+3)
20 Beer. Birra. Bier. (+1)

Ranking made by Wikio.co.uk

Boggle’s Sidebottom Crusade keeps him in the top five, and it really is quite a good blog aside from that. Nice chap too.  Cooking Lager’s Jonah-like aura continues to wreak its harm though.  Since he defected from Team Avery to form Team Boggle, Zak has recovered and gone back up three places – mirroring precisely the fall suffered by Cookie’s new cause.  The blogosphere’s reaction to Kelly Ryan’s return  home sees Thornbridge’s blog rise five to break into the Top Ten.  And Jeff Pickthall stages a stunning recovery based on a mere three posts, covering beer judging and busting a potent myth.

Full updated rankings will go live on Wikio on Sunday 5th December.

So, Christmas number one – does that make me the Cliff Richard or the X-Factor winner of the beer blogosphere?  Well now you’re here, why not watch my latest Vlog and draw your own conclusions.  But please, if you’re moved to comment on my weak chart-based analogy, remember it’s the season of goodwill.

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Wikio Wine and Beer Blog Rankings for October 2010

There hasn’t been much movement of late in the blog rankings.  I blogged a few months ago that it seemed to have gone a little stale.

Well, be careful what you wish for:

Wikio.co.uk  – November Wine and Beer Ranking

1 Boggle About Beer (+39)
2 Pencil & Spoon (=)
3 Brew Dog Blog (=)
4 Pete Brown’s Blog (-3)
5 Zythophile (+5)
6 Tandleman’s Beer Blog (+1)
7 Beer Reviews (+1)
8 The Pub Curmudgeon (-4)
9 Called to the bar (=)
10 Master Brewer at Adnams (+34)
11 Are You Tasting the Pith? (-5)
12 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog (-7)
13 The Beer Nut (=)
14 Rabid About Beer (+15)
15 Thornbridge Brewers’ Blog (-1)
16 Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog (-5)
17 Bibendum Wine (+37)
18 The Wine Conversation (+15)
19 Spittoon (-4)
20 Brew Wales (-8)

Wine and Beer

Ranking made by Wikio.co.uk

Congratulations, Boggle!  Up from number 40 to the top of the pile!  A very busy month from me does nothing to stop me sliding to my lowest ever position after nearly a year on top, and there’s all sorts of moving and shaking going on throughout the chart.  Sadly, Cooking Lager’s campaign to install Zak at the top of the chart also seems to have backfired, with Mr Avery slipping five places.

Call me arrogant if you like, but I did check with Wikio, they’ve been through the data very carefully and have confirmed that the rankings are correct.

Time to maybe check out some blogs you don’t normally read!

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October Wikio Rankings

Gosh, it’s that time of the month again, when beer bloggers get grouchy and irritable for a few days and I’ll just draw that analogy to a close before it gets going.

Here are the rankings for the month of September:

Wikio.co.uk Beer & Wine Ranking – October 2010

1 Pete Brown’s Blog (=)
2 Pencil & Spoon (=)
3 Brew Dog Blog (=)
4 The Pub Curmudgeon (=)
5 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog (+3)
6 Are You Tasting the Pith? (+1)
7 Tandleman’s Beer Blog (-1)
8 Beer Reviews (+1)
9 Called to the bar (-4)
10 Zythophile (+1)
11 Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog (+1)
12 Brew Wales (+3)
13 The Beer Nut (-3)
14 Thornbridge Brewers’ Blog (+5)
15 Spittoon (-2)
16 I might have a glass of beer (Ent.)
17 Reluctant Scooper (-1)
18 Beer. Birra. Bier. (-4)
19 “It’s just the beer talking” – Jeff Pickthall’s Blog (+2)
20 Travels With Beer (-3)

Ranking made by Wikio.co.uk

No change up at the top then.  But look what’s happening overall: with the honourable exception of Spittoon (which to be fair looks like a very well put together blog about wine and food) the rest of the top 20 are now all beer blogs.

So momentous is this, Wikio has even started calling it the ‘beer and wine’ listing rather than ‘wine and beer’.

I wrote a section in the Cask Report about how the online beer community is actually helping drive the growth of craft brewing in the UK, spreading enthusiasm and knowledge, giving brewers a platform to showcase their beers.  With my marketing hat on, when you look at the twiss ups, meet the brewer events, V-blogs, promotions, beer swaps etc that are happening now, I think we’re seeing a new marketing model emerge, where consumers and manufacturers work together to promote the category.  Sure we can be inwards looking and cliquey at times, as any community can, but please, keep it up – this is brilliant.

And do let me know if you’d like to feature the exclusive rankings on your blog at any time.

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Exclusive: Wikio rankings for July

Yes, it’s the monthly blog post you love to hate: the Wikio rankings!

There have been some changes at Wikio this month so it’s all a little later than usual, but below are the movers and shakers for January 2010, due to be published in the Wikio site on 10th August:

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Beer blogs are now up to 18 of out the top 20 “wine and beer blogs”.  There’s also a creeping increase in the amount of beer coverage in the nationals – Young Dredge is getting some pieces on the Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog, and we’ve had two paid-for beer supplements in national press so far this year.  A few of us have also had more bits in the papers than we’re used to getting.

What do you think – is the beer message finally starting to come through?

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Wikio Rankings for June 2010

Yes, it’s that time of the month again, that time when people get grouchy and irritable and are prone to sudden mood swings, when something inconsequential gets blown up into an object of genuine anger…  no I’m not talking about pre-menstrual tension, I’m talking about the Wikio blog rankings!

1 Pete Brown’s Blog (=)
2 Pencil & Spoon (=)
3 The Pub Curmudgeon (+3)
4 Called to the bar (+6)
5 Brew Dog Blog (-1)
6 Tandleman’s Beer Blog (+1)
7 The Beer Nut (-4)
8 Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog (-3)
9 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog (=)
10 Spittoon (+1)
11 Zythophile (+1)
12 Beer Reviews (+1)
13 The Bitten Bullet (-5)
14 Rabid About Beer (+12)
15 Reluctant Scooper (-1)
16 Real Brewing at the Sharp End (+2)
17 Travels With Beer (=)
18 `It’s just the beer talking` ? Jeff Pickthall’s Blog (-3)
19 Brew Wales (=)
20 Taking the beard out of beer! (+1)

Ranking by Wikio

Nice to see a few movers and shakers in there.  Glyn at the Rake has been devoting a lot of time to his blog when, as a newlywed, you’d think he had better things to do.  And Adrian Tierney Jones’ lyrical West Country musings deservedly enter the top five for the first time.  Also, it’s worth noting that there are now only two wine bogs in this top twenty of ‘beer and/or wine’ blogs.  
Last time I posted the results – at the beginning of May – I suggested that beer blogging had become boring, introspective.  Too many tasting notes, and too many in-jokes for other bloggers.  It’s a difficult path to resist, because other bloggers tend to comment more often than readers who don’t blog, but I think we ignore a general readership at our peril.
A couple of people have asked “Well, how did we do?”
I thought about this for a while and the question made me a bit uncomfortable.  To answer it in a way that discusses individual blogs would be to make myself some kind of self-appointed judge of what’s good and bad in the blogging world, and I don’t think I should do that.  We’re all entitled to a personal opinion and I’ll offer some general thoughts that are just that – purely my opinion, to be agreed or disagreed with.  
If you do want me to judge your work, there is an opportunity to do that: custom dictates that the winner of the British Guild of Beer Writers’ Beer Writer of the Year chairs the judging panel for the following year, and this year that responsibility falls to me.  There is a category for Best Communication Online, celebrating the best beer writing, and/or the best use of V-Blogs, social networking sites, etc.  In its first year Zak Avery won the award and went on to win the overall Beer Writer of the Year title on the back of his excellent blog, and I was runner up.  Last year Mark Dredge won, with Dave Bailey coming second.  It’s definitely worth entering.  But I think you should enter your work and ask for it to be judged before I start making any comments on what’s good and what’s bad.
So with regard to my challenge to the blogging world two months ago, just a couple of general thoughts.  Lots of bloggers didn’t seem entirely happy with me for laying down the challenge in the first place.  Sorry about that – no one had any right to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing with your blog.  
What I did remain firm on though was that if the reason you’re blogging is to attract as many readers as you can, with a view to improving as a writer and perhaps making the transition into paid-for writing, then you have an obligation to constantly try to improve – we all do, no matter what level we’re at.  And I took my own challenge, realising that I too had been starting to toss off quick posts that were really for the entertainment of the people listed above.  I’ve gone back to writing more thoughtfully, never assuming that people are ‘in’ with the world I’m writing about.  I hope I’ve succeeded in making it more interesting for the kind of people who never leave comments.
For the rest of you, I think many people did rise to the challenge.  You may not have liked it, it may have been “Yeah? I’ll show you writing, who do you think you are?” rather than “Hmm, good point, Pete”, but many people did something different.  It caused a lot of introspective articles about why people blog, why they write about beer, and most of those were great to read – not too navel-gazing at all, but thoughtful and articulate and above all, passionate.
Beyond that, I felt the range of writing increased, people did try to do different stuff, take a few risks, and think about what they were writing.  
All I’m saying is I’ve enjoyed reading beer blogs much more.
But a few people said “Why are we now writing about blogging when we should be writing about beer?” and I think that’s an excellent point, and a good argument for finishing this post right now.

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Wikio Mea Culpa

Here are the REVISED Wikio rankings for April.

Tricky situation, because every month they offer a blogger an exclusive, before they go live.  There’s a narrow window to get this exclusive up before the rankings go live.  So even though it looked dodgy, I had to go with it – but it turns out it was wrong.  So here are the right ones:

1 Pete Brown’s Blog (=)
2 Pencil & Spoon (=)
3 Brew Dog Blog (=)
4 The Pub Curmudgeon (+2)
5 The Beer Nut (=)
6 Tandleman’s Beer Blog (-2)
7 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog (=)
8 Spittoon (+4)
9 `It’s just the beer talking` ? Jeff Pickthall’s Blog (+1)
10 The Bitten Bullet (-1)
11 Beer Reviews (+6)
12 Zythophile (+3)
13 Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog (-5)
14 Called to the bar (-3)
15 Reluctant Scooper (+4)
16 Real Ale Reviews (=)
17 Brew Wales (-3)
18 The Wine Conversation (-5)
19 Travels With Beer (+1)
20 Taking the beard out of beer! (+9)

Ranking by Wikio

A couple of thoughts and observations:

The fact that I post these rankings more than anyone else doesn’t mean I attach more importance to them than anyone else.  Wikio asked me to co-ordinate this for them and I agreed, not having any reason to refuse.  I view it as a bit of harmless fun.  You’re entitled to disagree.  But every month I ask if anyone else would like to have the exclusive ands trail it on your blog – it’s an extra spike in hits if nothing else.  Hardly anyone ever volunteers.  It would be great if more people would like to share it around.

Secondly, I still stand by my challenge about making beer blogging more interesting.  Some people agree, but it’s upset some other people.

I hate upsetting people.  I hate spats and fights.  I have enough of them so believe me, I do know how much I hate them.  I write something I feel has to be written, and then when it all kicks off my stomach starts churning, I lose my appetite, and it’s hanging like a cloud at the back of my head, infecting everything I do, until it dies down.

My blogging challenge coincided with the decision of Impy Malting to return to the beer blogging world after a long absence (Hurrah!  Impy’s blogging again!).  Reading her return post (I recommend you do)  – which was largely about why we blog – helped me clarify what was behind my ‘blogging’s getting boring post’ better than I expressed it initially, so I want to expand on that here.

It comes down to why we blog.  I started blogging for the same reason I do all my writing – to turn on new people to beer and educate casual drinkers on delights they may not be aware of, and to try and help build a career as a full-time writer.  Both these reasons require a larger, general readership if I’m going to succeed. I also have to accept that I was established as a beer writer before I started blogging.

But different people start blogging for different reasons.  The wonder of blogging is that you can simply write what you like and publish it in seconds.  Some people might do it just to see the satisfaction of “I made this”.  Other people do it as a form of therapy.  Some do it just for themselves, and some do it for a specific group of people – friends or colleagues or family – with absolutely no care at all what anyone else might think.

No one has any right to tell these people what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their blogs.

So then we come on to the beer blogging community.  Impy talks about how she decided to blog about beer for her own reasons, and when she started doing it she found this community of beer bloggers (that’s you guys) and was delighted to be welcomed in by them.  It opened up a whole new dimension of chat, opinion sharing, ideas and friendship.  I’ve found exactly the same – and more.  I do the occasional bit of consultancy with brewers, and the first thing I tell them in marketing is that beer brands can now be built on line, that the blogging community represents a new medium, a new audience, through which beers can be made famous.  Ask Brew Dog.  Ask Crown Brewer Stu.



The thing about beer blogging is that, even though we may be read by a wider audience, the people who comment on our blogs tend to be other beer bloggers.  This tends to dictate the directions of the conversations we have, the subjects we cover.  We start to write specifically for other beer bloggers.  And ultimately that means the conversation becomes a closed loop, ultimately excluding someone who isn’t a member, or at least offering them no invitation to join in.

I include myself in this, more than anyone – shit, look how often I post the Wikio rankings – as Beer Nut pointed out, on that evidence I’m worse than anyone.  But I am my own harshest critic.  Well, apart from Roger Protz.  And my agent.  And the Beer Widow.  OK, I’m my fourth harshest critic.

My challenge to beer bloggers is a challenge to myself.  When I rewrote Man Walks into a Pub this winter I realised how far I’ve strayed from the original reasons I began writing about beer, and I want to get back to that place.

But it’s also a challenge to anyone who feels like sharing it.

If you blog about beer and you’re perfectly happy having a closed-loop chat with other beer bloggers, sharing in-jokes and comparing your latest discoveries – and I’m not making a value judgement there, it’s your right to do so – I have no right to tell you to do something differently.  So I unreservedly apologise if I’ve offended or come across as too bossy.

But if you’re blogging because, like me, you want to (a) continually improve as a writer and/or (b) be read by more people, my challenge still stands.

You never know – other beer bloggers might find it refreshing too.

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Wikio Rankings for April 2010 – and a call to action

Yes, it’s time once again to start arguing about what constitutes ‘influential’, ask each other what algorithms are, show off if you do know what algorithms are, and wonder aloud why anyone is reading Stonch’s blog months after he stopped posting – last month’s Wikio rankings are in, and they go live tomorrow.

And just look at this table.  It might look a bit familiar.  Now look at it again, paying particular attention to the movers and shakers – or lack of them:

1 Pete Brown’s Blog (=)
2 Pencil & Spoon (=)
3 Brew Dog Blog (=)
4 Tandleman’s Beer Blog (=)
5 The Beer Nut (=)
6 The Pub Curmudgeon (=)
7 Woolpack Dave’s beer and stuff blog (=)
8 Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog (=)
9 The Bitten Bullet (=)
10 `It’s just the beer talking` ? Jeff Pickthall’s Blog (=)
11 Called to the bar (=)
12 Spittoon (=)
13 The Wine Conversation (=)
14 Brew Wales (=)
15 Zythophile (=)
16 Real Ale Reviews (=)
17 Beer Reviews (=)
18 Jamie goode’s wine blog (=)
19 Reluctant Scooper (=)
20 Travels With Beer (=)

Ranking by Wikio

How weird is that?  Every single one of the top twenty blogs in the same spot it was in last month.

Let’s deal with the most obvious and popular suggestion first – it means something has gone wrong inside the big algorithm machine.

Well, I double-checked this with Wikio before I posted and they assure me it’s correct.  Certainly unusual, but definitely correct.

If it really is correct, it means that no beer or wine blog is any more or less influential than it was a month ago.

And the problem is, I can sort of believe that.

It might just be me, but the beer blogging world seems to have stagnated of late. Are people getting bored?  Busier?  Is everyone too preoccupied with the election or something?

Because I confess that I’ve started to find beer blogs a bit… boring.  Obviously mine isn’t.  Mine’s really interesting.  And if you’re reading this wondering if I’m talking about you, then I’m not talking about your blog either, honest – whoever you are.

That last paragraph was tongue in cheek, by the way.

But collectively, our online beer conversation does seem to have settled into a complacent rut.  It’s not any one person, but taken as a whole we all seem to be writing about what awesome beers we’ve had recently, how extreme they are, how rare they are, how hoppy or how aged they are.  Beer blogs have become an online beer geek diary, a hi-tec glorified form of ticking.

I brewed this beer.  I bought this beer.  I drank this beer.  In this pub.

Too many conversations form decaying orbits around brewing technicalities or beer definitions.

Could it be that the lack of action in the rankings reflects a lack of action – or at least a lack of momentum – in the blogs themselves?

This is not me sitting at number one slagging everyone else off.  I include myself in everything I’m saying here.  And I hardly posted in April.  Lots of other people posted less frequently than they normally do.  I have my individual reasons and I’m sure you do too.  But have we run out of interesting stuff to write about beer? We analyse beers so closely, have we done it to death?

I don’t think so.

So why don’t we try to shake it all up in May?

The lazy way to do this would be to start a fight (*looks uncomfortably at today’s earlier post*) but there are other ways too.  Try to wind someone up if you must – try to wind me up if you want, so long as you’re constructing an intelligent argument and not simply hurling abuse.  But also think about writing something heretical.  Write something that scares you.  Write something very personal.  Write something you don’t think any other beer blogger would or could write.  Turn that last pub visit into more a story with characters and themes and twists and gags.  Write something you’re not sure you agree with but just write it anyway, post and be damned – you can always write another post tomorrow saying you’ve changed your mind.

Think I’m out of order for saying this?  Think I’m being patronising or unfair or superior, or missing the point of what beer bogs are all about?  Think I should have a word with myself before challenging anyone else?  Excellent! Post an argument on your blog explaining why!

Of course, tomorrow Wikio may well reveal that, having checked, there was something wrong in the big machine after all.  If so I apologise for offending anyone.  But I still think we should try and rearrange the beer blogging furniture a little bit.

After these last two posts, the only thing I need to do now for my next post is meet my own challenge in a way that’s not slagging anyone off.  I will do this, I promise. In the interests of balance, I’m going to write a really positive post related in some way to the awesome achievements CAMRA as a body have made over the last 39 years.  Just as soon as I can think of an original and interesting way to do that…

Just heard there may indeed be a problem with the algorithm monster!  I’ll publish updates on this as they come through, and a revised table if necessary, but whatever the outcome I still think my challenge stands. 😉