In a previous post, I enumerated my reasons for dreading my participation in USA Today’s 10 Best Craft Tequila list.
In my experience, something inevitably goes awry with these sorts of “listicles,” and it usually starts with the editor.
Contrary to the galloping propaganda disseminated by some press releases, there were no additional USA Today editors involved in accumulating the original list of twenty craft tequilas. Only the recruited “experts” were involved.
This time around, I blame the curator of these lists whose job it is to engage USA Today’s readership, which in turn leads to its increased ad revenue.
Now that the excitement has died down, it’s time to assess the damage done by deliberately withheld facts, and to clear the air of unbridled misinformation.
[Tweet “Why @USATODAY’s #10Best #CraftTequila List Sucks! “]
The Top 20 Reasons Why USA Today’s Top 10 Craft Tequila List
[Caution: Rants Ahead]
1. Lack of Respect.
When someone asks you to accrue a list on your area of expertise, you, as the curator, must assume that that person takes this task very seriously, especially since you’ve taken the time to background check the expert who is going to help you get PAID.
2. Lack of Communication.
When this expert communicates questions to you via email or phone, be aware that this person expects a timely answer, especially when YOU have asked him for his list by a certain deadline.
3. Lack of Trust.
When you deliberately avoid answering questions about who else is involved in
accruing a list for you, you immediately raise suspicion.
As with most “industry experts,” we tend to know one another. In this instance, we could have worked in tandem to come up with a more complete list.
4. Lack of Respect for Relationships.
You must also assume that the expert not only admires those items on his list, but personally knows each producer of those items and has forged lasting relationships with them over the years.
5. More Lack of Respect for Relationships.
Because of these relationships, you must assume the expert is also highly regarded by those craft producers that he has included on his list.
6. Lack of Understanding the Craft Segment.
By virtue of being craft distillers, you must understand that they are not made of money like the Big Boys. These guys literally live by their shoestrings.
7. Lack of Transparency.
Total and complete transparency when communicating with your experts is vital. Explaining what opportunities and hidden fees await the winners is of utmost importance as that intelligence could alter the final list.
8. Lack of Vergüenza (shame).
Where the HELL do you get off asking the winners for money for the licensing rights to use your seals, medals and trophies?
9. Lack of Seriousness.
Do you realize that you are asking for similar fees by more respected and reputable spirits judging contests like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition or the SIP Awards?
Do you see that this lack of transparency on your part on behalf of USA Today could possibly put the expert’s friendships and reputation at risk?
11. Lack of Realistic Expectations.
Do you really believe that these craft brands will fork over money for a meaningless popularity contest–for bragging rights?
12. Underestimating the Brands.
How stupid do you think they (or we, the judges) are?
13. Concealment of True Intentions.
Do you get that we understand that these contests you curate for USA Today are only to generate reader engagement which in turn determines your pricing to advertisers?
Double dip, much?
15. Conscious Collateral Damage.
Do you catch on that the winning and losing brands on this list probably now believe that the experts knew about the additional costs to the winners but chose not to divulge this information to them?
16. Lack of Good Faith.
Most all professionally held beer, wine and spirits competitions openly inform participants of additional licensing costs to the winners. YOU deliberately chose to keep this information from your experts.
17. Elimination Due to Perceived Lack of Relevance.
Was it fair for you to eliminate those craft tequila brands because they had little or no social media presence?
18. Lack of Foresight on Your Part.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?
19. Naïveté On My Part.
I only reluctantly became involved to help promote these deserving craft tequila brands.
Thanks for cheapening the craft tequila segment.