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Comments & Reviews

May 15, 2007 | rubyonrailsgrl

This is unexpected. I hope he doesn't change anything. If anything, I hope that he can make it better.

May 15, 2007 | Michelle Lentz

I think this is a good thing - a very good thing - overall. As the developers said, it was becoming overwhelming for them. Now there is the money and time and resources to take things to the next level. I appreciate that they were concerned about the code and and community when searching for a buyer.
One thing I've always disliked about Cork'd is the lack of "Help." (What can I say - I'm a technical writer and I write Help for a living.)
If you happen to see on Cork'd where on earth I can import the way-too-many wines I have on CellarTracker, let me know. I read they are making (or have made?) this easier, but I haven't figured out how just yet.

May 16, 2007 | Ryan Fujiu

I agree Michelle, Dan and Dan are admittedly not masters of wine. Not very many people are (I think 30 in the US) but cork'd and the cork'd community will only benefit from being under the direction of someone who really knows and understands wine. Gary V is a great person to take over opps and will only improve the community. I just hope he can bridge the gap the into mainstream wine loving public. Cork'd has a very simple and pleasing interface, so they have that going. But they will have trouble getting people who don't use social networking sites to starting using them. All in all, i'm very happy for both Dans and Gary, its a good match.

May 16, 2007 | Joel Vincent

Cork'd developers were never in it for the long-haul. Smart programmers tooling around and then trying to make a quick buck.

I think it makes a nice compliment to Gary's business given he has a built-in community of customers to his retail store. He has the potential to make the anti-Wine.com (i.e. an actual useful online wine retail shop).

Funny thing is, I think this proves that the "community" that Cork'd built was of little value (since Gary needed the tools for his community and he wasn't buying them to acquire the community). Other sites that are thinking they'll build a database of users and that will be valuable enough to get some $$$ out of it will be in for a rude awakening.

May 16, 2007 | Ryan Fujiu

I wonder how much he's really going to integrate the wine library store into cork'd, and visa versa. To me, as a cork'd member, I wouldn't want to see hard sales pitches from the wine library store on cork'd. And i think i speak for many others in the community. He's going to have to walk a very fine line with that because one of the reasons why people love cork'd so much is because its free of corporate influence. I think you are partially right on the community aspect. A community of 20,000 does hold value. But its nothing compared to mainstream social networks that have say 1 million + users. Yes, Gary probably bought cork'd for the code and design, but the active community also played a large role. Additionally, looking at alexa (i know, lame), cork'd is the one of the most popular wine sites on the internet. With that kind of audience, its hard to discount the move Gary made.

May 16, 2007 | Joel Vincent

Alexa is garbage. That means it popular among Alexa Toolbar users.

Gary may gain some followers from the community but his business is wine sales. If he's smart (and he seems to be) it won't be a "hard pitch". It would be "integrated". Making wines you liked and your friends recommend "easy to buy". Imagine someone recommended something to you and you just click it, your card is charges and its shipped to you - so searching, filling out forms, or anything. You could build, potentially, something that Wine.com aspires to do...a full service wine society.

May 16, 2007 | Joel Vincent

By the way, I don't think the community added value to the sale. What the tools allow Gary to do with the community is where the value is at.

He's got a built in community already. So some Cork'd users are annoyed at getting coupons or "one-click" shopping and disappear. So what. If he can convert 10-20% of those users to paying customers then it was worth slightly more than buying a list from a publication and marketing to that list.

May 16, 2007 | Ryan Fujiu

Joel, i agree with you to some extent, but if he was just looking for the code and design, why wouldn't he just pay a prominent web development firm to build it out custom. At the most, a project like cork'd would run around 150k. And i'm pretty sure he paid more than that.

May 16, 2007 | Joel Vincent

He would pay for it because it would take to long to build on his own.

Probably more than $150K raw, say $200K (for top notch consultants). Pay a premium for basically zero turn around time (now $300K). And some more for 20,000 registered users (of which maybe 1000 are actually active if he's lucky). So maybe(MAYBE) $300-500K.

If he paid more than that, I got some land in Florida I want him to check out...

May 16, 2007 | Ryan Fujiu

interesting. i agree with you about the 1000 active users. i was just thinking, and another reason for him to buy cork'd instead of starting his own social "wine notes" sharing site is the competition. He would be entering into a saturated market, and competing against cork'd and winelog, who seemingly have the whole thing on lock down. As for the 300 - 500k price tag, i would agree that its pretty close. But it's hard to say though, because acquisition deals I've seen are based primarily on traffic and user base. So its hard for me to completely throw that could the window.

May 16, 2007 | Joel Vincent

If you figure the actual work is $300K, $500K would put a 66% premium on the traffic.

The only other x-factor is revenue. If it was generating revenue that might factor in. But traffic and eye-balls for 1000 active users (again, if he's lucky) isn't going to get you 7-figures. I doubt there was much value from revenue though because there was no obvious business model or path to revenue for Cork'd.

So Gary (hopefully) isn't creating another social wine site. (Hopefully) he's smart enough to create a better e-commerce site leveraging all the tools that Cork'd gives him. Target the Web 1.0 e-commerce sites. If I were advising him, I would tell him to set his sites BIG. Winelog is not competition because he's gathering up the pieces for an e-commerce site that can take out Wine.com.

May 16, 2007 | Ryan Fujiu

Yeah, I don't think that they generated very much revenue. it seemed to me their only models were advertising, from gary, and affiliate links from winezap (which pay 7 cents per click). I'm very interested in seeing what he is going to do. How do you (or anyone else) think he could make wine library better with the cork'd technology?

May 16, 2007 | Joel Vincent

They're chatting about that on the WLTV BBS already. Check it out...


May 16, 2007 | Jessica Diamond

What an interesting conversation you guys are having. Ryan, I think Joel is right, the cork'd user base is probably not that valuable. I'm also a cork'd member, and think its going to be good that someone who actually knows about wine is running it. Hopefully they can make it even better.

May 16, 2007 | Jennifer Hunting

I like cork'd okay. to me, they dont give enough information to make the wine recs valuable. I like getting recs from people who have a similar palate to me and is not influenced by advertisers and what not.

May 16, 2007 | Steve Rindle

Moviestar, I agree, corkd doesn't have enough credibility as it stands. however, i think gary is very respectable and trustworthy. i saw a vcast where he bashed a wine from a winery that was a friend of the family, and had been doing business with wine library for like 20 years. With that said, i think gary can bring a certain degree of credibility to corkd, thus taking the wine recommendations to the next level. if there was some way to integrate some objective information in there, it would round out the reviews, thus making them useful.

May 16, 2007 | Ryan Fujiu

Thanks for writing in you guys. What you are bringing up is the main point of contention for a community built around tasting notes. We were thinking about making a separate section for tasting notes for our wines. But it didn't make sense to us, and would rather allow people to make comments and not be restricted to writing tasting notes. And by doing favorites instead of a rating system (i.e., 100 point, 5 star etc) we took pressure off people who dont know the difference between a 90 and a 91. this was we could rank the wines on popularity and show what people liked and what they didnt.

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