An of-the-times thread on Twitter between Dan Cederholm (“simplebits”) — one of the creators of the social wine site Cork’d — and Gary Vaynerchuck, whom he and his partner sold it to in 2007.
Sadly, Cork’d is shutting down, as we learn from this video. Watching and reading, I’m wondering if this is the first time a business’ chairman has circulated news of its closure with both a brief and intentionally unpolished video and an unguarded : ( to one of its original creators. I’m not judging. It’s very Gary. I’m just intrigued by what it says about ‘corporate communications’ at this moment in time, for this type of entrepreneur. Cederholm and Gary aren’t running global banks, sure, but they’re not exactly small players either.
About the news: It’s a bummer, but I’m not surprised. I always wanted Cork’d to be better than it was. Adding wines was laborious, with the database often not able to match what wine you were searching for. Sometimes this was because the right vintage just wasn’t there — with Cork’d inviting you to spend some time adding it — and other times the wine was kind of there, but under three or four slightly different names, with the user not positive which one should be considered 'verified.’ The downsides to a database that was at least partly user-generated. (Compare this with the relatively clean system for adding books to Readernaut or Goodreads.)
I was encouraged within the last year to see Cork’d start focusing on content — so much so, that content.corkd.com seemed to me to become the primary URL — but I’m not sure there was ever a firm strategy behind what was being produced, or its relationship to the user profiles central to the product’s first few brand-creating years. Now that the Cork’d CEO has departed, Gary admits he just doesn’t have time to tend to it properly. I’d love to see someone buy it and really give it some love. There’s a lot of us looking for a better way to keep track of what we’re drinking. CellarTracker, Snooth, and the others have all left me wanting.
Best of luck to the Cork’d staff moving on to new things.