I didn’t intend to write a followup to yesterday’s post, The TRUTH About Snooth Data, but a response from a CellarTracker user convinced me that there was more to tell. Many of you may know about CellarTracker, but for those who don’t, CellarTracker has been an institution of wine/tech. The first-ever major cellar management tool, Eric LeVine has worked tirelessly for almost a decade improving his application and servicing high-end wine consumers. He is also one of the most dedicated and altruistic people in the business (he doesn’t even charge for his service, he just asks that people “donate” if they like his software). In his own words:
Without a doubt this huge collection of data is a goldmine and any wine tech company would love to have all those wines, wineries, and especially reviews in their database. There were rumors at one time of data being challenged between CellarTracker and Snooth but the details were never revealed. However, as a result of yesterday’s article an avid CellarTracker user sent me evidence of more deception on the part of Snooth. From analysis it really appears as if Snooth IS scraping data, reorganizing it as their own, and using it to grow their business.
Here are some of the examples, provided by the CellarTracker user, from a review by our friend Robert Dwyer (notice the keywords I have highlighted in black in the tasting note below):
Now notice the tags for the same wine on Snooth (I have highlighted the “tags” in red that match the text from Robert’s CellarTracker review):
Every (and I mean EVERY) single user tag on Snooth appears to have been scraped from the CellarTracker review (even the very strange non-wine tag of “sample”). I wondered if this was an isolated incident but it appears there are many more examples throughout the Snooth site. User tags for many wines appear to all be from content taken from CellarTracker.
And the same wine on Snooth:
All of the keywords match (except for synonyms for vegetal to vegetables and acidity changed to acidic – an easy thing to have a computer algorithm adjust). The keyword “try” strikes me as most revealing coupled with the fact that there are NO reviews on Snooth for this wine. If there are no user reviews for the wine on Snooth, how does it have “User Tags?”
And there are more and more as I kept looking deeper:
I was actually disappointed to find this type of behavior from Snooth. A campaign of hyperbole and misrepresentation is one thing, but this is a new low.
It also raises a lot of questions in my mind. How much damage has this caused CellarTracker? How much has CellarTracker’s content helped grow Snooth’s database (not only of tags but adding wines to the database)? How much has that content helped attract users? And partners? What is the exposure for the content partners (Epicurious, Wine and Spirits, etc) that are leveraging this data? Will Eric LeVine sue?
Is Snooth scraping CellarTracker data? You be the judge.