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Wine sites cash in on Facebook phenomenon

A new online wine service hopes to become the world’s busiest cyber wine recommendations site by cashing in on the Facebook phenomenon.

New York-based Snooth, which launched in June, provides searchable wine recommendations from users and critics with a database of two million reviews.

Its revenue comes from commissions on wine sold through affiliated merchants and wineries across the US. The company says it plans to expand abroad.

‘The more users we attract through Facebook and in general, the more specific the recommendations, and the more valuable the database becomes,’ said Snooth founder Philip James.

Snooth is not the only system to use the three year-old social networking site. An application called Wine Beagles offers a similar service but so far provides purely amateur reviews posted by Facebook members. Its members so far have rated over 18,000 wines, from 1955 Gould-Campbell port to 2006 Yellowtail Shiraz.

Although tasting notes on these applications include, ‘this was beautiful, as usual’ for a bottle 1998 Lafite Rotschild, or just a blank entry with 5/5 for a bottle of 2000 Chateau Smith Haut Lafite, the hosts of these new sites are in little doubt of the value of being on Facebook.

‘Since we launched on Facebook 10 days ago we’ve signed up 500 new members,’ said James. ‘The Facebook platform offers tremendous potential.’

Since it started in 2004, Facebook has become a global internet phenomenon, with over 20m users worldwide who share photos and personal news, play games and shop online. It currently ranks among the top 15 most-visited websites worldwide.

Written by Maggie Rosen, and Oliver Styles

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