The VinePair Wine Web Power Index – 2013


The VinePair Wine Web Power Index measures the influence of selected wine websites and mobile apps within the United States. We looked at web traffic, social media influence and organic search relevance to produce our scores. The first edition of the VWWPI analyzed 33 wine-focused publications, forums and mobile applications.

Want to hear about what we learned? Jump down to our observations. Otherwise learn more about how we constructed the VWWPI below the chart.

The Wine Web Power Index - 2013

Choosing the data weighting is inherently subjective. We believe that social media, at least in terms of consumer (and to a lesser extent industry) influence is extremely important, hence the relatively high weighting.

The Weighting: “45% Traffic Score (Alexa US Rank) + 35% Social Score (Facebook Fans + Twitter Followers) + 5% Moz Domain Authority + 10% Moz Unique Linking Domains.”

We are well aware of the issues with Alexa data (see caveats below), which is why we also included the data points from Moz’s Open Site Explorer web crawl.

We used publicly available data, collected on Dec 11, 2013 and Dec 12, 2013. The Moz Open Site Explorer Data is from the Dec 10, 2013 crawl. Data was manually collected. In the short term we intend to update our index manually; over the long term we may automate our data collection to allow for a daily updated index.

  • We used a log scale to visualize our data because the big players truly exist in a league of their own. Wine-Searcher is the only web-first property to achieve the influence of the traditional majors – Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. In fact Wine-Searcher took the crown despite a noticeable lack of presence on Twitter.
  • Jancis Robinson is another unique member of our index. Pay-walling most of her content is certainly a different route which, while potentially lucrative, undercuts her ability to reach an even wider audience. That said, among all properties she has an extremely large lead when it comes to Twitter Followers. As to the wisdom of paywalls, we defer to Felix Salmon.
  • Despite all the problems and negative press Lot18 has collected since its initial, meteoric rise, they’re still holding a grip on the top spot among online wine sellers. Perhaps there’s something more to their co-founder’s motorcycle trip around the world than it would seem. Whatever the case, they seem to have avoided slipping into a death spiral . . . for now.
  • Over the past year, not-quite-a-wine-of-the-month-club ClubW’s Facebook presence has exploded. From what we’ve analyzed, it seems like they’ve been using a lot of recent investments to effectively grow their social media presence.
  • When it comes to web-only content sites, Wine Folly stands far ahead of the pack. Good content, even better SEO, and a steady stream of visualizations and infographics have served the Wine Folly team well. The Reverse Wine Snob may be trailing, but when you examine the underlying data, Mr. Thorsen’s site clearly has momentum.
  • Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) makes a strong showing, as expected. That said, when the tech press writes about wine startups/e-commerce plays, they’re almost never mentioned. We’d guess they’re happy to fly under that particular radar given the revenues they’ve stated they’re bringing in.
  • When it comes to wine-scanning/journaling/info apps, Delectable is our favorite, despite their shadowy Palantir roots. That said, Vivino blows them out of the water when you look at nearly any competitive metric. Perhaps the Vivino team should keep an eye out for drones :). We joke . . . sort of.
  • We were quite surprised that Steve Heimoff’s score actually benefitted from his Twitter presence, given that the wine web’s angry old uncle would probably tattoo his anti-social media views on his forehead if it were socially acceptable to do so!
  • SVB On Wine perhaps shouldn’t be included as it’s not consumer-focused at all (hence its low showing) but Rob McMillan is essential reading for anyone in the wine industry, and for that matter anyone interested in the business of wine. Given the non-consumer focus we wouldn’t be surprised if Alexa was undercounting his traffic.

Putting together an index like this is inherently subjective. If you believe we’ve excluded a property that belongs in the list, please let us know. Without diving into the why or why not of every wine related website on the Internet, we’ll address some properties we considered, but ultimately excluded:

  • Cellar Tracker – While they are a large and influential brand, they really are a unique property that exists in its own category.
  • Decanter – While we enjoy reading Decanter they’re focused on the UK.
  • Palate Press – We decided to look at the individual influential websites within their ad network.
  • James Suckling’s web venture, which we won’t be linking to. All that needs to be said about the man has been said elsewhere…and we’ll leave it at that.

Raw Data & Feedback

In the table below you can see our raw data. Have a better way to weight the data, or more to include? We’d love see what you have in mind. If you do produce a different set please let us know.

Caveats

  • Although we collected Quantcast traffic ranks, we ultimately excluded it from the index, despite our hope to account for Alexa outliers with a second dataset. We did so as for many lower traffic sites Quantcast data did not exist.
  • When a property did not have an Alexa US rank we used their global rank.
  • A couple of properties that do not have a Facebook presence, do have a public, personal presence belonging to the owner of the property. When appropriate and available we used the number of their ‘Followers.’
  • Based upon directly measured Quantcast data, we believe that Alexa is likely undercounting The Reverse Wine Snob’s traffic. We believe this is also the case for Dr. Vino.
  • We recognize that mobile apps have additional, valuable datapoints to use for comparison. While we believe the relative ranks of the mobile apps included in the Index are accurate, we intend to dive deeper into the world of wine-related mobile apps in the near future!


Update*
We’ve been overwhelmed by the feedback today and we wanted to provide a quick update. We enjoyed doing this, reading some interesting discussions, and we plan to release a full update sometime next year.

A note from Josh on the new data: There are some well-known, large websites that regularly write about wine. We at VinePair love a number of them. However comparing them against purely wine-oriented websites doesn’t seem fair. You can find our scores for six additional properties in the second tab of the embedded raw data, although we want to strongly note that this data was recorded today, whereas the original set is from the 12th. And now some more notes & caveats — based upon directly measured Quantcast data we believe that our score for Enobytes is dragged down by the lack of US-only Alexa data. Alexa’s data appears to be undercounting Hello Vino. We believe Wine Maps, to a lesser extent is also scoring lower than it should. As to the original exclusion of Robert Parker’s website, that was an editorial decision we took.

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