Friday, April 29, 2011

The Wine Commentator to Cease Publication


The purpose of this posting is to notify readers that “The Wine Commentator” is ceasing publication and that all past entries will be deleted in the very near future.

I can’t say I’m going out of business because this blog has never been in business. As readers may have noticed, the blog is devoid of advertizing and always has been. In addition, as per the disclaimer above, there has never been any other source of revenue or compensation in any form associated with my activities.

I started this blog about six years ago when I developed a severe case of tendonitis and had to have a leg put in a cast for a month. One day, sitting at my computer, I clicked my mouse a few times, typed in a couple of words and discovered that I had a blog.

What to do next?

Some months earlier, I had been trying to explain to a friend the difference between Bordeaux reds and wines made from grapes associated with Bordeaux that were grown in the state of Washington.

“You should write about wine,” he said.

I dismissed the idea at the time, but with a blank blog in front of me, I thought “why not?”

I also decided to test an idea that is central to “Field of Dreams” – the film about baseball: “If you build it, they will come.”  Could that be true with respect to the Internet?

Initially, I  told no one other than my wife that I was writing a blog about wine and made no attempt whatsoever to publicize it or to optimize search engine results.

The outcome?  They did NOT come!

I continued that approach for about five months and during that time, I probably experienced on average three visitors per week.

Then a friend of mine sent me an article from a long-established San Francisco-based wine blog and during the course of reading it, I discovered that the blog invited other wine bloggers to submit their URLs. So I did and my blog joined a very long list. (This does seem to be a popular activity.)

Almost immediately, my traffic jumped to between five and ten visitors a day (as opposed to a week), but when I examined where they had come from, I discovered almost none came from the other blog. Rather, it seemed, Google’s search engine  had somehow decided to take my efforts more seriously as a result of the link.

Some months later, Google greatly improved its indexing system for blog posts and I took advantage of that change. Traffic then quickly climbed to about 20 visitors a day and increased slowly but steadily thereafter.

At present, traffic averages about 60 visits a day during most months and climbs to more than double that during the “high season” for wine – the months of November and December. Since the blog was started, there have been just short of 100,000 visits in total.

The number of “readers” is far smaller than the number of “visitors,” however.  Most people arrive at this blog as a result of a search for information on a particular wine or type of wine and in the vast majority of cases, what they see here isn’t what they were looking for and they quickly depart.

A small fraction of visitors remain and read some postings – mostly two, three or four, but in some cases a very large number. It’s had to know whether what I have written has been helpful or not: I rarely hear from anyone. (Unfortunately I had to make it more difficult to comment because I started getting spam when it was easy to do so.)

The main reason I have decided to end “The Wine Commentator” is that I have been having a difficult time trying to find anything new to say. In addition, it’s time to move on to other activities.

I’ve personally had a lot of fun writing the blog and as a result of doing so, have discovered and tried a LOT of wine that I probably never would have experienced. It has been fascinating.

Best wishes to all  -- including a few who have informed me I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about!

Fowler W  (“Skip”) Martin

(PS I would like to thank Google for hosting the blog and diligently indexing the postings even though the company has received no revenue as a result of my activities.)


Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear you're moving out of the wine blog. I've visited often and with pleasure, even though I rarely commented.

So, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Too bad you're ending. I've enjoyed your blog regularly and your insight into wine. I can't say I've always agree but then that is a matter of taste, pun not intended but works anyway.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am one of the few who have been reading your blog for years. I greatly appreciate it and your honest approach to talking about wine. It's genuine, well written by someone who clearly enjoys wine. You have a lot of good postings and material for readers. Thank you for all your posts and sharing your observations, opinons and time with everyone. Your voice will be missed. - GFish on cellartracker

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear your "shutting down" the blog. I really enjoyed reading your post, especially regarding NW wines. Good luck in the future and thanks!
Tom K

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to see you leave. I have enjoyed the thoughtful and well written way you have talked of wine and your elegantly simple process of tasting blind over several days. You kept the focus on the wine without the distractions that so many of the other blogs and wine sites have. Thank you for the time you spent helping me enjoy wine more. Best wishes

Thad W. said...

Skip, thank you for sharing your experiences with Oregon and Washington wine these last six years. I will miss reading your posts, especially your recommendations. I hope you will consider keeping your site up for an extended period, as I continue to reference it when opening a bottle you've covered. I hope we cross paths again at some point down the road.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. I've been a regular reader, visiting about once a week for two or three years now. I've valued and respected your comments, especially about our local Pacific Northwest wines. I should have expressed appreciation sooner--but don't want to miss the chance to do so now. Best wishes,

==Steve Pendleton==

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear that you are no longer going to post. Your reviews were insightful and witty. I enjoyed comparing and contrasting your reviews and reflections, against my own.

Thank you for all of posts. Good luck in your future plans.

lyndafitz said...

I am also an avid reader of yours for the past two years. Sad to see you go......I am headed to Washington In August and I just printed up a few of your notes last week. Thanks for all the inforamtion you supplied on this blog. I have enjoyed it very much and as Steve writes I too should have expressed my appreciation sooner. Be well.


panel çit said...

thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to see you 'shutting down'. Your blogs have been refreshing.
How about reconsidering your decision?
Thanks for your time!


thewinemd said...

wow, just discovered your deceased blog was like you said, looking up notes for a wine I was curious about. not that it matters much now, but I echo the sentiments of the others do have a skill of describing wine experiences in a pure and simple way, something that is refreshing in our industry. no doubt, I look forward to seeing you pop up in the future. (to which I will have to say "I told you so"

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