Friday, December 16, 2011

W. Blake Gray now blogging for Crushpad

I've got a new gig (part-time) blogging on occasion for Crushpad, the Sonoma County business that allows anyone to make your own wine.

My first post, about when you should decant wine, is up already, and I have written three more that will presumably run in the next few weeks.

It's an interesting gig because I'm being paid a minimum for each post plus a small amount for every page view, which gives me an incentive to send my blog readers and Twitter followers over there.

However, maybe I just don't believe my good fortune, but I have doubts that this new paying job is going to last very long, and not only because I just wrote the middle part of this sentence.

If you go to Crushpad's front page, you can't see any indication that exciting new things are happening on the blog. There's just a tiny link in the lower left among a bunch of other links.

I don't know much about Crushpad's business model; I know something, because I've written about the company, but I don't have any idea what strategies will lead to its long-term success. But I do know something about the online publishing industry, and there's no way that an unpromoted site will attract a following.

Of course, the idea is that I, being paid by the click, will promote the new enhanced Crushpad blog, and as I am writing this post right here, it's successful on its face. Still, I can't write an item on my blog announcing every blog item I write there. In fact, this post ABOUT my blog post might end up being longer than the original post.

From here on, I'll probably tweet "Hey, I wrote this thing on Crushpad's blog, go read it, I get a few pennies!" I have tried to give Crushpad good quality writing, because I want the blog to succeed. I like being paid.

So I'll say it again: Please go read my post. Not only might you learn something about decanting; I'll get a few pennies. And tell your friends, "Hey, W. Blake Gray is now blogging for Crushpad, it's the greatest thing since unsliced bread."

Or, if you want to help a struggling freelancer and cut out the middle man, drop me a few bucks in the Virtual Tip Jar I put on my blog. Don't forget to tip your blogger! On the Crushpad blog, service is included.

Follow me on Twitter: @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.


  1. Hi Blake,
    I, too, am one of the new paid bloggers for Crushpad and I did 'pimp' the site and my blog post wherever I could. I was pleased to find myself in such good company and who knows maybe we can bring many eyes to crushpad so that it becomes obvious they have a happening blog. Pennies from heaven is what we may see. I couldn't open your tip jar so sorry.

  2. This is NOT a comment on those who are blogging for Crushpad, but I turned them down because they had incentives in the contract specifically about tweeting / fb-ing the links to drive people to the blog posts, and I told them that didn't fit with my policies regarding non-sponsored content. I.e., me tweeting about the post, to me, was creating sponsored twitter content.

    Maybe I'm taking too hardline of a stance on it?

  3. Blake - Are you going to rate and/or review Crushpad clients wine?

  4. Anon: You're absolutely right, you ARE pathetic for cowardly criticizing somebody without the courage to put your name on it. I only answer questions from real people with names.

    1WineDude: To each his own. I tweet about my posts on my own blog. I don't see any difference. I dunno, if you want to insist on being an amateur that's fine, but I write to make money and have for my entire career.

    Sondra: Thanks for telling me the tip jar didn't open. In Europe right now with my iPad, so I'll try to fix it when I get home. Yes, let's hope pennies from heaven rain down on us, although from a short distance because a penny at high velocity would be quite lethal.

  5. Work is work these days, go for it and keep it as interesing as your blog.

  6. I think that's pretty cool. I like Crushpad - I had a great visit with them a year ago. I have to admit that their previous blogging was a little weak. I'm looking forward to reading some well written content from Crushpad. Good luck, and hey, work IS work.

  7. Thanks guys, I appreciate it. Yeah, in this economy, if somebody's going to pay me to write AND I get a lot of choice in what I write, what's not to like?

    Crushpad has been presenting me a menu of topics. I choose the topics I want to write about. For this first post, we discussed the lead, they had a suggestion, I riffed off their suggestion, and we were both happy with it. What's not to like? It's just like writing for any publication -- there are always editors.

    I should probably have mentioned this in the post but it would have sounded obsequious, but it's true: I put a Crushpad reference in this post. Their editor took it out. So it's not like I'm writing advertising. Which, as a matter of fact, I did in Japan for about 6 years, and consider a perfectly respectable, lucrative and creative profession. Ever seen "Mad Men?" That was me without the smoking.

  8. Been trying to leave this comment via iPhone - not fun - so sorry if there are multiple instances of it...

    Not sure how adhering to a longstanding policy regarding sponsored content makes me amateurish. In fact, I don't get that *at all*. Didn't you just take TWA to task for possibly not adhering to their longstanding policies?

    Regarding getting paid to write blogs for the wine biz - I hope you make MAD coin doing it because I have ZERO problem with that (I've done it, am doing it, and am in negotiations to do a lot more of it). The concern I had personally on my side in doing this for Crushpad was that they wanted me to tweet / fb post some minimum amount of times to promote each entry - to me, that's sponsored content in my social media feeds and I didn't think people would dig that, and so generally was just trying to start a convo. to get a sense of people's feelings about that (both writers and readers).

  9. for 1WineDude:

    While I am sure W.Blake can speak for himself, I take the reference to "amateur" in the sense of a non-professional enthusiast ("lover", is the original French, I believe), which is in no way derogatory or denoting 'non-expert', in fact often quite the contrary.

    (I enjoy your blog pages as well!)

  10. SteveG: You're right.

    Joe: I meant no insult. "Amateur" means not getting paid. To pick an important nit, I didn't call you "amateurish" and wouldn't. Sorry if you got iPhone finger trying to respond.

    I think I've been more open about my arrangement with Crushpad than is really wise, so nobody can accuse me of lack of transparency, but getting into the exact contract details is where I'm going to stop. Follow me and see! (Ooops, just turned into Natalie MacLean.)

  11. Hey guys - NO worries at all, I am NOT upset and sorry if I gave that impression (that was a reflection more on my frustration with the iPhone browsing/typing!).

    Generally I am really curious and am glad that you're being (overly?) transparent on this stuff, Blake - as you know, that's my M.O. on these things as well (be open, let people decide for themselves if they think you're legit or not, etc.).

    I'm always wondering if my policies are too restrictive / not restrictive enough, or too limiting, etc., etc. So really this just hit home for me and so was using the comments as a sounding board. I'm looking forward to following and seeing! :)


  12. Looking forward to reading your articles on Crushpad. I've heard a lot of great things about them and your addition to team is a step towards the right direction. Congratulations.

  13. congrats on landing another paying gig. I've enjoyed your blog for some time and went over to click on your Crush Pad link, so your mission is now accomplished :)

    All the best to you.

  14. Blake,

    Just wanted to say thanks for your decanting article, as well the ones
    yet to come (of which I have had a sneak preview). We are delighted you are writing for Crushpad.
    Regarding our purpose -- we are looking to develop a useful content resource from experts like you -- that will be useful to our existing
    customers -- as well as those who may be interested in developing a custom wine. Glad to have you on board at the start.

  15. Congrads on the new paying gig Blake. I know some of the original Crush Pad team and several happy customers, so my impression is that you are a good fit. They are a quality outfit with good people behind their services. For those who want an introduction to the art, without much of a fuss, it offers a nice experience led by a thoughtful team.