Not a week goes by without an email announcing a new Wine 2.0 community. I check these out to maintain my list of links but I’m also very interested in where this space is going. A few, such as Snooth and the newly launched Vinquire, are interesting takes on the Wine-Searcher/WineZap business model that I will be covering here in more detail in coming days. Unfortunately, however, most of the new sites are Web 2.0 versions of online wine stores with social media features bolted on.
We don’t need another online profile to manage; please, stop the madness!
What we do need is a place online for wine lovers of all levels to gather and share their passion for wine. Perhaps features like cellar management and finding wine online and off-line would also be part of this wine community. It would be one part eBob, one part CellarTracker, one part Wine-Searcher/WineZap/Snooth, a dash of Twitter, all chased down with a bit of Scrugy and Wine Life Today.
It seems most of the new entrants are trying to be the Facebook of wine, which is not the right model as I think Facebook will fill this role. What we do need is one place to go with a single sign-on (OpenID, please), slick user interface and engaging feature set that will attract everyone who is now scattered across the multitude of Wine 2.0 sites.
So who will build such a service? Certainly eBob could be expanded and improved but I don’t think this will happen as the current model is working well right now. The same goes for the folks at Wine Spectator who seem so focused on their paid service that you have to even pay for their blogs. I think it’s likely that there will be a roll-up of leading Wine 2.0 contenders to make up such a service; my money right now is on Snooth doing this next year.
But another player has recently emerged that I think bears closer study: WineZap (disclosure: I am a WineZap affiliate). They have added social media features to their core wine search service turning it into more of a community site. Although they don’t have many of the features of the ideal wine community outlined above, I think they have the potential to roll these elements together. I’ll post a review and comparison with Snooth and Vinquire over the holiday break.
Interesting times ahead and perhaps it’s time to make a few more predictions.