Web 2.0, Social Networking, the next bubble, what ever you want to call it I’ve found it difficult to find alot of use in some of these social-oriented web site. I like Digg.com for my technology news so I experimented with a wine version called Wine Life Today. For the limited marketing (i.e. only to my faithful readers) that I did its been really successful circulating some extremely interesting wine news around. As soon as I can get out of this busy period of my life we’ll see if we can’t kick that up even more.
But there were a couple other “web 2.0” sites created with a wine theme that got sent to me. The one I found most interesting was Cork’d, a site where you can create cellar notes and share them with your “friends” network. You can also get recommendations from friends. Stuff like that. I think on week in March I got 4 such sites forwarded to me to review. All similar, and all lacking something.
One day while I was developing Wine Life Today, I thought about those other Web 2.0 wine sites and thought if they could take my notes and tags and make recommendations for wines that would be cool. Even cooler is if you could make a recommendation engine that would go through a database of wines that were tagged by the producers and based on my ratings of other wines (which are also tagged), send me wines that I should like as a sort of super-custom wine club. “That would ROCK!”, I thought. Being the tool that I am I started to research how it could be done. I even briefly put up a survey about wine clubs on this wine blog and sent out a bottle of wine to a randomly selected participant to learn more about what drives people to use wine clubs. (By the way, most people answering were participating in wine clubs to try new wines based on reliable recommendations! Thats called market validation of the concept). Next thing I knew, I ran across BottleNotes.com – a full blown implementation of of exactly what I thought a wine Web 2.0 wine site should be.
Personally I think the site is a little light on information on what they are. They need to understand the techie nature of audience of wine lovers (i.e. early adopters) that will be using their site. When I came across the site it actually took me a while to realize they had a recommendation engine and were actually implementing exactly what I was describing above – based on my wine notes in their site they will customize my wine club selections to my tastes. All I need to do is enter more tasting notes, in particular notes on the ones that they send me through the club, and the engine will send me new wines that closely match my tastes. In my mind, the perfectI wine club!! This is exactly what wine Web 2.0 should be.
The use of the site is easy enough, a personal wine cellar, a wine shop, a selection of wine clubs with varying price ranges and regions. Everything you would expect from a wine club web site. What I don’t think they highlight well is their recommendation engine. Working with heavy wieghts from NetFlix they’ve developed the “custom” wine club tailored to your tastes. I’ve signed up for a wine club and started using the personal wine cellar. I’ll see how the deliveries go and report back but given the concept (and the fact that they thought of it before I did) I think it can be very successful.
Give it a try – www.bottlenotes.com
Enjoy the Wine Life!