Archive - November, 2008

Would you give your details to a “Naked” stranger?

Unfortunately this isn’t as exciting as it might first appear, but it has potential, so let’s call it titillating.

I was sent a link to a soon to be launched wine company, excitingly called Naked wines. Unlike some other recent developments in nudity and wine (see http://www.slurpswish.com/ also known as the Naked Wine Show), the site does warn you up-front (so to speak) in their only Terms & Conditions that “Nudity is optional”.

The main thing that caught my attention was the fact that this site is recruiting 100 “tasters” to receive 3 bottles of FREE wine in order than they can taste and review them. This is, at least I believe it is, a means for the new company to select a range of wines that really appeal to their target customers. That is a great idea.

There is a rather questionable mission statement of sorts on the site that says:

… to cut to the chase, we believe that UK wine drinkers are being ripped off.
How? There are far too many over-priced, over-rated wines wrapped up in ‘The Emperors Clothes’ i.e. mediocre wines tarted up in fancy packaging.

Of course I would agree that there are many wines that do fall into this category, but “fancy packaging”  is not the main fault, in my view over-reliance on price promotions is, and there are no guarantees about pricing here. They seem to be creating an online retailer, and therefore a form of mail-order business, and fancy packaging doesn’t play nearly as big a role here as it does on supermarket shelves. At least the wines are being selected at least in part by consumers, so hopefully the wines themselves will be worthwhile drinking.

So, these 100 people have a great deal of responsibility to carry. Who are they looking for, and what are they going to do … and for whom?

No idea!

I thought I would try to find out a little more about this company and what they will actually be doing. Unfortunately, there is no information on this available anywhere on the site.

Being a curious type, I decided to sign up to their site. I was asked a few very basic, and slightly leading, questions about my age, wine buying habits and interests, and told that my application would be reviewed and then told if I am selected (I did get a £40 voucher for my trouble). I’m not sure how what they asked for would really differentiate one applicant from another. In fact, I eventually found out that they had already filled all their places because of an “overwhelming response” which to me implies that since they have not taken the form offline, what they are doing now is simply building their database!

What concerned me is that they are asking for quite a lot of information about the consumers, whilst providing absolutely nothing at all about themselves. Would you be happy to hand over your details to this stranger? There certainly isn’t a privacy policy statement that I could find.

Naked wines might have an exciting new model to offer, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that a company setting out to use the internet to build this might just provide some details about themselves, should it?

Anyway, watch this space, and we can hope that recent economic problems do not stop this business from doing something new.

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Since I first started writing about this, I have read on Alastair Bathgate’s excellent wine blog “Confessions of a Wino” that one of the people behind Naked wines is Rowan Gormley who used to run Virgin Wines (who seem to be doing quite well right now) and you do get a certain echo of their style on this site. It also refers, interestingly, to this being the Last.fm of wine. Hmmm.

Does anyone else know anything about this project? What do you think?

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