Wulf's Webden

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Writing About Wine


Rob has been musing about ratings and recommendations and writing about wine on The Wine Conversation blog. Having put some thought into my own rating scale and my use of microformats to mark up the review, here is my latest addition to that discussion:

The hreview format is one of a number of microformats that various key players on the web are experimenting with. It is a set of standards for marking up a review so that not only is it readable to a person but a computer can extract key information, such as the product being reviewed and the score given. That then allows all reviews published on the web to be treated as an open database.

It also improves visibility. Do a search on Google for durius tempranillo and you will find the review I posted yesterday already on the first page. Add the word review to your search and it comes higher (trying just now, it hit second place) – I think it is quite impressive that my tiny little blog that writes about wine once in a while can do that and come second only to corkd.com!

I suspect the magic is not my writing style but my mark-up acumen and that using the hreview microformat is largely responsible. Therefore, it is a demonstrably useful solution to the question of how to post impressions of wine that have some influence.

It might even be possible to set up a system that grades other reviewers based on how much their published reviews agree with yours, weighting their opinions accordingly and thus, by promoting the scores of those who seem to have similar tastes, giving more chance of going straight to what you would call “the good stuff” while still recognising the important point that tastes differ. That would be valuable because, the more you put into sharing your own views, the more “intelligent” the system would seem to become.

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