jamie goode's wine blog: Noel Young cyberspace tasting with Virtual Wines

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Noel Young cyberspace tasting with Virtual Wines

A plug for a virtual wine tasting coming up this Saturday (details here). It will be held by Cambridgeshire super-merchant Noel Young in conjunction with Virtual Wine (www.virtualwine.co.uk). To participate you need a broadband connection and a six-pack of interesting-looking wines from Noel's list, which will set you back 49. Although this would work out an expensive and rather boozy evening for just one person or a couple, it might be worth considering with a group of friends?

[Disclaimer: Virtual Wine have just taken out some advertising with wineanorak.com]

24 Comments:

At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly a disclaimer!

More like a not-so-subtle plug!

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Anon
Yes, it's a plug, which I think the disclaimer makes clear. Now if I hadn't added any disclaimer, then I think you'd have some legitimate grounds for complaint.

If readers find this distasteful, then I won't do it again.

 
At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course it is distasteful! Or rather cheap.

 
At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Jamie, but you can't just big up one of your new advertisers, and then plonk a disclaimer after it and attempt to exonerate your actions.

You get advertisers on your site great, that pays for it, but please don't add entries on your blog pertaining to be off-the-cuff when they're really plugs for your advertisers.

Really, we can spot them a mile off, just like you did with that airline in July, when you tried to give the impression that you just strolled up to that Flybe wine club launch, when in fact you're on their payroll.

ANON

 
At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Anonymous - you're quite out of order!

There's nothing wrong with this kind of plug (even without a disclaimer). The fact that Jamie added one enhances my confidence in his integrity.

In fact the only one lacking integrity is you who chooses to remain nameless!

A fine idea (and thanks for bringing it to my attention)...

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I disagree with you, Alex.

If you really can't see the problem here, then fine, but I have a problem with it.

If you're an independent wine writer, you have to be extremely careful when money is changing hands, and it is crucial not to be seen to favour anyone.

Why is there "nothing wrong with this kind of plug"?? It would have looked even dodgier if there had not been a disclaimer there!

Don't think you lot live in the real world, sometimes.

 
At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The logic of Anon's comments are that Jamie (or any writer) would never be able to comment on somrthing beneficial if there is any financial link whatsoever. I think that is a sound rule for politicians and judges, but journalists? The end result is that a) JG only advertises crap wines (otherwise he cant comment on them) or b) he cant tell us about anything interesting.

In our drive to be squeaky clean about everything, it seems that we can lose our common sense and degree of objectivity. Most people on this site are 'into' wine in a reasonably big way. I am not an expert but am happy to take JG's view critically - more often than not agree but sometimes dont (chianti? - pass me the chips). The tag that there is paid for advertising is more than enough for me.

Laurence

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

I agree with Alex and frankly take no notice of any points made on this site by people who do not have the guts to use their own names.
Why do you have an Anon facility Jamie?

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

I suspect that allowing anonymous posts is a must because if you didn't, people would either

a) Not post stuff which might be interesting

or

b) use a made up name anyway (!)

When I said a "plug" without disclaimer is OK, it's because I just regarded it as a fairly neutral news report. To be frank, I don't think it's a plug at all - it's not as though he was saying it's the best idea he's seen this week. One would expect that most readers of this column are grown up enough to handle that kind of information in a mature fashion.

 
At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Robert said...

Nothing wrong with it!

 
At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only sign in with anonymous because I cant be bothered registering! Always leave my name though.

My complaint is that I would have been very interested in trying this online wine tasting but it is too late to get the wine and friends round for it!

More of a heads up next time please Jamie!!

Laurence

 
At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

It would be a cool and useful feature if one could separate the anonymouses from eachother. That could be done by IP address or cookies (and wouldn't necessarily be 100% reliable).

BTW - Laurence, all you need to do is click on the "Other" radio button and put your name into the "other" text box that then appears - registration is not required.

Actually, I would find it useful if the site would remember (via a cookie) what my name is (and put it in as a default - which I could change to "Keith Prothero" if saying something naughty).

 
At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Robert said...

Alex, not sure blogspot is up to your demands....

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Laurence said...

great - thanks!

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous keith prothero said...

or indeed Laykee if something really stupid ha ha

 
At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie, you are on very dangerous ground when you start commenting on products from companies who are paying you.

If you really are a journalist, as you claim to be (as opposed to just someone who knows a lot about wine), then you would know that the only thing a journalist has to fall back on is his integrity.
Lose that, and you have nothing.

What I find unfortunate is your timing. No sooner does a new company start advertising with you, and you write them up on your blog. Any journalist with a brain would tell you that looks a bit dodgy.

 
At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Robert said...

Interesting distinction some people are making: it's OK for Jamie to receive free wine samples and then "plug" the wine/retailer of it via a tasting note but it's not OK to receive an amount of cash and then discuss what generated it even with a disclaimer....

Anyone ever read the travel, gadget, fashion or financial pages in a newspaper?!?!

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Garech said...

A few things:

1. This is a blog where Jamie posts FREE content and it therefore requires other means of funding for bandwidth etc. The occasional plug is the price that we pay for this free service.

2. If you were a paying subscriber to a site and the journalist was plugging a product or business (particularly without a disclaimer), I would agree with you that it is inappropriate, something akin to the BBC taking the licence money AND subjecting us to adverts.

3. We are all bombarded with million of selling messages everyday that we sort through according to our own interest. That Jamie has clearly signalled this plug makes it even easier for us to disregard if we so wish.

4. What is an independent journalist? As another comment alluded, all newspapers are stuffed with travel articles, restaurant reviews etc which are effectively freebies for the journalists, on the understanding that they write an article about where they've been.

All the top UK wine journalists are regualrly taken abroad to Australia or South Africa or Chile by each respective countries Generic wine promotion organisation. The implicit understanding is that they will write in their columns or magazines about some of their discoveries. Does this comprimise their recommendations? Personally I do not think so.

In the "real world" wine writing, and the UK wine trade in general, is a poorly paid occupation that people go into because of their passion for the subject.

In order for journalists to be able to travel, taste widely and report back to us any intereseting finds, there has to be some level of contact between the Journalists and the trade. That Jamie tries to tread this line as transparently as possible is, I believe, something for which we should congratulate him.

 
At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Eloquently put Gareth.Agree 100% and wish I could write like you!!!

 
At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Ian Sutton said...

Hmmm fruity debate

Better a real name than anon. (which seems like that someone doesn't want their name associated with the comments - not the most credible approach!). Even a made up name would do the job (how would we know otherwise?).

Still I thought this to be bad timing. Better to take it as advertising, rather than editorial as I do think it gives accusations such as these an airing. Even just one or two instances where people question a critics independance or integrity can have a very damaging effect.

Worth bearing in mind in the future, but hardly a faux-pas on the Gluck scale of these things!

regards

Ian

 
At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Colonel Rufton-Tufton said...

Anonymous - you must be itching to bluster in a private-eye-like fashion "I'm cancelling my subscription!"

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

This is a tempest in a teapot with a soggy teabag and ten sugars. Firstly, you just have to browse this web-site to see that Jamie is scrupulously fair and independent in a way that journalists for newspapers and trade magazines are unable to be (not their fault, but the advertisers do determine the content largely). Secondly, I scarcely call it a plug, more like a diffident "pluglet" - and certainly a point of news information with a disclaimer to boot. As Alex remarks: it's a pretty neutral news report.

Instead of exercising ourselves about these nuances we should be more concerned about the previous post regarding the potential loss of vineyard area in Cornas.

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Doug--already signed the petition and I hope many others do.
Not sure what effect it will have,as I tend to think politicians only worry if signatories are also voters---------or am I just a cynic?

 
At 7:29 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks to all who have commented. Points taken - and nice to see that this has sort of resolved itself. I figure the best way to proceed is always to be open about any commercial involvement and then let readers (who are generally pretty smart around here) decide for themselves.

 

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