Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Commons: Allrecipes is not competing with your food blog

Whoever thought of the idea of emailing people a couple of weeks after they've purchased a book from Amazon to encourage us to write reviews: it works (at least for me). I wrote my first 3 reviews that way. If I were ambitious, I'd write more, and try and get on the Amazon Vine program, but I doubt that will happen. For one thing, I don't know if Amazon would allow me to review books that I didn't buy through them. Maybe I should post my reviews on Goodreads instead. Actually, what I should really do is write a thoughtful review of every book I read, post a preview on a public site, and then link to the rest on my blog.

Granted, I wouldn't shortchange anyone. All of the important stuff would be upfront, inverse pyramid style. But if anyone wanted more detail, they could click the link. I don't know if this is allowed.

But it should be. As long as the links are not spam, this would be a great way to get the best of public knowledge, while still allowing people to self-indulge express themselves on their own blogs. Think of Allrecipes.

Allrecipes is my go-to site if I'm looking for a dish. It has tons of recipes, and it doesn't make you look at 20 (albeit sometimes gorgeous) photos before you can look at the actual recipe. Plus it allows you to convert the serving size and move from US (British) measurements to metric. It even has nutritional information at the bottom! Most important, it has ratings and reviews. If I really like a recipe blog, then I'll trust that anything posted is delicious. But even that doesn't replace a comment that is liked by 50 and references at least 3 other comments regarding changing the amount of pepper to add. Sorry recipe bloggers, you lose.

That doesn't mean they should stop blogging their own recipes. It just means they should ALSO POST ON ALLRECIPES. If you think about it, it's great advertisement, if their dishes (and photos and writing) are really that good. Hey, if food companies can promote their products on allrecipes, I don't see why food bloggers can't promote their blogs. Wikipedia says they promote such practices. And go ahead and post on and and Food52 and Epicurious and all of those other social-networking food sites I don't even know of. (Actually, I don't think you can post on Epicurious, but they have an awesome name and it was the first recipe site I used regularly.)

Sidenote: My subtitle for this post is that Allrecipes is not competing with your food blog. I considered adding that it's not competing with your cookbook deal either, but maybe it's competing with your cookbook deal. But that's more the internet's fault, and you can't blame the internet for that, because people still get cookbooks published based on their food blogs on the internet all the time. I guess that goes to show that cookbooks aren't really about cooking. They're about personality and food porn.

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