Bacchanalian Battles in the Blogosphere

The battle for the soul of SA wine between Bacchus and Mammon rages on, but the struggle for the tongue looks increasingly likely to be won by bloggers, with deadtree media in retreat on all fronts. Of course the major problem with blogs is how to make them pay, as the deadtree kolumnist reduced from a weekly slot to a monthly mention soon found out.

Which makes the position adopted by the recently resuscitated communal blog Grape of “shouldn’t, and as a rule doesn’t, carry any advertisements even ones opportunistically pretending not to be.”

johann1 Bacchanalian Battles in the Blogosphere

As the site sternly notes “our policy remains that we accept no paid advertising and have no financial/commercial links to anyone. Though, of course, the wine industry is a deeply commercial one, and it is obviously vital that we mention, and even endorse, certain things (like wines!) which are in commerce.”

Which is fine in practice, but what to do when PR-releases start soliciting quotes from bloggers as authentic experts in their (presumably paid for) press releases or reprinting blog postings for commercial gain. The issue is raised by another newcomer to the blogosphere: WineGoggle. Isn’t this advertizing by proxy or a Bill Clintonesque way of having sex while remaining a virgin?

After all producers probably reckon there must be some commercial value to be had from supplying bloggers with free samples, trips to Grax in Austria and invitations to lavish lunches, none of which are ever free.

Of course the bloggers quoted in WineGogglepresumably did not get paid for their insights (which sounded well lubricated indeed) and whenever I’m approached by a producer wishing to re-quote any of my ponderous pontifications, permission is freely given. But the counterattack from Mammon on the brave corps of Bacchus Bloggers has all the makings of a blitzkrieg.

On another piece of unfinished business from Grape, at the Morgenster lavish lunch Judi slipped me the Die Burger photograph of Johann Rupert taken by Stephen Williams that was source material for a wonderful piece of social commentary by blogger extraordinaire Melvyn Minnaar. I was relieved to see a hand (his own) and not an arm in Johann’s pocket but for me the scene was stolen by Breyten Breytenbach in a black oriental-looking top. So nice to see that being interviewed on TV recently by a presenter who thought he was a fashion designer, has not toned down his sartorial sensibilities any.

johann Bacchanalian Battles in the Blogosphere