Melbourne’s top 200+ blogs April 2014

It’s been a long time since anybody has updated any listing of blogs in Melbourne publicly and I’ve collaborated with Thang Ngo at
Noodlies in Sydney
to create a list based on Alexa ranking.

Thang has incorporated the Melbourne listings with his Sydney listing to create a ranking of 595 Australian blogs.

Inevitably as this is the first time for Melbourne we have accidentally left out a few people and perhaps included a few shouldn’t be here.

If you think we’ve got something wrong just let me know in comments and we’ll get it fixed for the next version to be published in May.

If you blog doesn’t have a number it is because there is no Alexa ranking or you have very low traffic.

Also, I’d would only take the listing as a rough indication of ranking. For example, Alexa gives me what I think is an unfairly high score compared to more prolific bloggers. There again I have some 950 posts on this site over 9 years. All these rankings are imperfect but at least we have something here to talk about.

You’ll also see some blogs that aren’t exclusively food but have a high food content.

Anyway, debate your hearts our and let us know where we’ve stuffed-up.

This list may be a bit different to Thang’s as I spotted a few duplicates and interlopers this morning and removed them.

1 food rehab: the tastebud diaries 539,298
2 gourmet chick 624,518
3 wandering spice 1,085,567
4 mel: hot or not 1,136,596
5 tomato 1,163,044
6 the last appetite 1,254,899
7 the food coach 1,395,512
8 the hungry excavator 1,402,941
9 kitchen wench 1,416,120
10 petit miamx 1,480,925
11 burger adventure 1,498,971
12 little eats 1,514,781
13 sarah cooks 1,620,644
14 sharking for chips and drinks 1,654,393
15 let’s get fat together 1,694,543
16 the whole pantry 1,750,305
17 the world loves melbourne 1,810,312
18 melbourne gastronome 1,931,872
19 a rhubarb rhapsody 1,991,728
20 dine whit me 2,050,082
21 fitzroyalty 2,130,471
22 mab vs food 2,150,178
23 gourmanda 2,168,118
24 melbourne australia 2,275,779
25 food lover’s journey 2,319,514
26 parmadaze 2,384,256
27 lisa eats world 2,487,914
28 footscray food blog 2,492,210
29 poppet’s window 2,663,566
30 green gourmet giraffe 2,745,966
31 food on my dog 2,759,032
32 where’s the beef? 2,778,218
33 food made with love 2,794,581
34 the very very hungry caterpillar 2,878,101
35 nourish me 3,071,653
36 i eat therefore i am 3,326,611
37 meet me there 3,464,036
38 chit chat chomp 3,575,562
39 my wholefood romance 3,685,661
40 1 fat cow 3,701,782
41 1001 dinners 1001 nights 3,701,782
42 asian restaurants in melbourne 3,701,782
43 confessions of a food nazi 3,701,782
44 cooked and bottled in brunswick 3,701,782
45 cooking down under 3,701,782
46 fare dinkum 3,701,782
47 foxs lane 3,701,782
48 gourmet girlfriend 3,701,782
49 miss sage sugar 3,701,782
50 piecey num nums 3,701,782
51 to stay or to go 3,701,782
52 the melbourne coffee review 3,959,874
53 james ridenour 3,993,670
54 consider the sauce 4,017,734
55 typical food blog 4,037,543
56 spatula, spoon and saturday 4,210,312
57 mishka la mushka good food blog 4,499,188
58 the hangry bitch 4,516,748
59 brunch addict 4,624,031
60 i’m so hungree 4,957,510
61 melbourne food snob 5,144,077
62 peach-water 5,222,848
63 boy meets girl meets food 5,460,632
64 melbourne patron 5,509,187
65 confessions of a little piggy 5,521,630
66 gluten shmooten 5,525,078
67 melludee 5,642,242
68 foods crazy 5,894,040
69 i spy plum pie 5,915,318
70 food for thought 6,662,466
71 judging your breakfast 7,349,434
72 almost always ravenous 7,488,127
73 the food society 7,560,492
74 gastrology 7,707,505
75 the melbourne foodie 7,797,572
76 bunnybloggers 8,164,107
77 hungry cookie 8,166,785
78 the indolent cook 8,188,132
79 the smiling foodie 8,580,456
80 happee monkey 8,665,637
81 the quest for noms 8,714,388
82 tammie jonas 9,207,360
83 melissa ting: life and i 9,404,590
84 pigging out around the world 10,303,026
85 eat and be merry, for tommorow we die(t) 10,536,030
86 dessert correspondents 10,821,269
87 new international students 10,884,887
88 should you eat that? 11,292,322
89 fika and kuidaore 11,394,998
90 mff 11,514,504
91 michalogy 11,677,844
92 the glutton’s diet 11,711,960
93 la roue de hamster 11,815,220
94 let me feed you;melbourne 12,039,902
95 gourmet husbands 12,471,717
96 imasticate 12,542,180
97 the good hearted 13,243,170
98 spaghetti blogenese 13,263,645
99 the modern con 13,499,434
100 eat melbourne 13,697,922
101 couture foodie 13,954,340
102 cook (almost) anything at least once 14,180,496
103 melbourne din(n)ing blog 14,213,776
104 my town,melbourne 14,303,513
105 melbourne food blogger 14,742,076
106 doublecooked 14,781,309
107 food in focus 15,308,107
108 a sheepish food blog 15,395,653
109 the blue macaron 15,458,576
110 ohdenny 15,541,275
111 in the mood for noodles 15,735,677
112 sweet and sour fork 15,777,693
113 malt mileage 16,157,725
114 i just ate it 16,670,288
115 food with thought 16,698,089
116 amys town 16,704,486
117 lunchosaurus 17,456,655
118 secondhelping 17,772,215
119 keller and spon 17,832,989
120 missy ness’ food train of thought 17,839,180
121 hold the peas 18,039,560
122 unwakeable 18,051,007
123 the dodgy end 18,055,387
124 jp and melbs 18,079,545
125 champaign for the pain 18,139,959
126 edible posts 18,150,296
127 melbourne seasonal eating 18,163,484
128 3 hungry tummies 18,262,191
129 grazing panda 18,264,795
130 the pink leopard 18,297,742
131 it’s an expensive but delicious habit 18,304,453
132 nouveau potato 18,377,277
133 glutony, glutony 18,387,169
134 gluttony gluttony 18,387,169
135 the hungry traveller 18,390,380
136 chasing a plate 18,406,361
137 lady lunchalot 18,581,918
138 gatronomical ramblings 18,674,472
139 eajguide 18,868,623
140 barley blog 18,933,321
141 sweet cherrie pie 19,696,860
142 string of events 19,763,476
143 forsake 19,840,480
144 curious charlie 19,993,310
145 geelong (good) food hunter’s blog 20,183,441
146 the domestic traveller 20,497,787
147 stephen downes 20,818,434
148 what i cooked last night 21,130,385
149 fresh bread 21,677,422
150 mairead doyle 21,877,542
151 expat gourmand 22,629,412
152 52 melbourne weekends
6lumens
a beautiful mishmash
a chronicle of gastronomy
a food fable
alex in wanderland
an airy fairy’s adventures
an australian kitchen
blk’s food blog
cassiekay
conversation with jenny
couch foodies
dammit janet i love food
daylesford organics
doughnut forget me!
eat (almost) anything at least once
eat.play.shop.
essjayeats
everything goes with cream
fill up on bread
flagrant food fawning
food candid
food of the soul
foodie about town
go to bread, not bed!
gourmet reveller
grub town
half-eaten
hookturns
howie’s melbourne food blog
i talk too much my mouth hurts
imelda eats
incrednibbles
jordan’s food baby
kek’s good food blog
kit and kafoodle
kran and nina
lipstick and brunch
little wanderings
lizzie eats
makanmakan melbourne
mango macarons
melbourne delicatesses
melbourne girl at heart
miso for the soul
miss muesli
mon’s adventures
msg: the melbourne social guide
msg:the melbourne scial guide
munching (in) melbourne
my diet starts tomorrow
my edible life
my melbourne food blog
never trust a duck
off the spork
olive sundays
on tip-toes
ordinary girl, extraordinary dreamer
out of my kitchen
peanut butter jelly
pho real
please sir, can i have some more? by oliver
popcorn & toast
ravenous
ravenous melbourne
seasoned plate
seeking victory
steak me out
stuck in transit
super(ficial)man
sweet enough
table to paper
the librarian and the kitchen
the melbourne local
the new epicurean
the owl’s nest
the sheona experiment
the spoon directory
think mebourne
thoughts of a moni
tldr food
tuesdayswiththao
two bears and a fork
vanhell’s corner
veg food diaries melbourne
wandering mint
what’s my next meal?
wilunga wino
yellow eggs

The great food blogger witch hunt

Burger-witchhunt

I’ve updated this post as more information came in from Sharky. If anyone else wishes me to update anything, please let me know. I am attempting to be as accurate as possible here.You’ll see the updates appear underlined like this.

There’s this group of people who are so passionate about food that they spend a fortune and invest hundreds of hours of time engaging with the culture surrounding it.

Not only are they eating out, buying ingredients, gadgets, renovating kitchens and travelling to food destinations, buying tickets to food festivals and producer dinners but also buying up cookbooks, food magazines and devouring the weekly food sections in newspapers.

They are the hard core supporters of the restaurant business, fancy cooking stores, food magazines and newspapers.

And they blog. They Tweet, Instagram, Pin, Vine their exploits. Free of charge mostly. Even if they aren’t spending much money on something, there’s a good chance they are giving it free publicity.

As a marketing person I’d want to reward these people as my best loyal customers and promoters.

Instead it’s become fashionable for nearly a decade now to give these people a good kicking. Food writers, journalists, food festivals and chefs have joined to put the boot in whenever they can.

A few weeks ago John Lethlean in The Weekend Australian hit on the undisclosed conflicts of interest of an award winning food blog. Within 24 hours Larissa Dubecki had joined the attack while the debate raged on personal Facebook feeds and Twitter.

It neatly tied in with a clarification by the ACCC on false reviews that blogger-lawyer Claire Davie posted on her blog Melbourne Gastronome.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 10.29.49 am

So what’s happening?

There’s been a symbiotic relationship between PR, marketing and journalism since the year dot. The marketers with their advertising support the media. PRs facilitate stories, manage messages and throw fantastic parties and dinners. They also occasionally pay for business class flights, $2,500 a night hotel rooms, free meals and send us bottles of vintage Krug or on a slow day Dom Perignon at least.

And let’s not forget the conflicts of interest among travel writers subsisting on travel famils (free trips) – and the many conflicts of interest among Australia’s most influential wine and food writers.

As a former journalist I have received all of the above. As a social media influencer too (apart from the Krug though I prefer smaller name grower champagnes nowadays).

Social media is a great leveller. It’s fragmented traditional media and made it easier for the small publisher to find a significant voice. It’s brought people into publishing and broadcasting who weren’t trained by professionals who showed them the ropes, navigated them through ethics and taught them to fiddle expenses.

Myself, I gave up a 25 year journalistic career nearly 3 years ago to concentrate on my digital agency Tomato because of these changes. If you are a journalist or a photographer these are threatening times.

And it is frustrating after years practising the craft to have wannabes with a laptop or a top of the range camera kit describing themselves as journalists or photographers (I might add the bane of my life right now is amateur photographers being hired by restaurants to take food shots with poor results).

This is what happened.

PRs started inviting social media influencers to events – free trips or meals. Social media influencers such as myself started offering consultancy to food and drink companies.

What happened next was that companies started paying people to post on their behalf and some of us forget to say we were paid.

I never did this. But I had one disappointed manager at Hare & Grace chastise me for not supporting them enough by tweeting their praises on my own account as part of the campaign we ran for them. More recently an Asian restaurant approached us to help with a poor Urbanspoon rating thinking we could manufacture votes – something we refuse to become involved with.

Buying votes, likes or follows not only is fooling your punters but not good value for money and in some cases breaks the law. Just look at the number of the 3,500 Twitter followers of Mr Mason on Little Collins Street who are tweeting in Russian of Chinese script. What a waste of time having Twitter followers like that in an English speaking city. Tell me those followers are real and weren’t bought and I’ll eat my words.

I have blogged, tweeted and instagramed about free dinners and not declared them free at the top of the story. I have written about people as a journalist who gave me free hospitality – I can’t count the number of free dinners at Nobu, Or Bistro Guillaume at Crown. Or my friends at The Point at Albert Park. Or Hare & Grace.

My most recent conflict started innocently at my favourite St Kilda Bar, Bar di Stasio, that place that sucks you in and usually spits you out much later and poorer.

I’ve spent a lot there. And had the odd free negroni. I mean who’s going to turn that down? Then bits of food arrive. I Instagram it. You enter a confusing place where you are not quite sure what is paid for and free.

Then one evening the drink arrives. Followed by spaghetti and the (Eastern European) white truffle. Lots of it shaved over my – and my mate Geoff’s – unsolicited dinner.

I’m corrupted. Will tweet, Instagram and Facebook for white truffle. A poorly lit picture is broadcast.

So what was Lethlean on about? It was probably the lawyers that removed the name of the offending blog, Sharking for Fish and Chips.

For those of us in the core Melbourne social media food clique it’s been an open secret that he worked for restaurateur Paul Mathis and until early March 2014 the company Mathis sold Bangpop to Hopsone. While he blogged positive reviews of Mathis run restaurants prior to joining the group, it’s been difficult to get a straight answer from him on many of the allegations and questions raised in this post. What we do know id he still wrote about those restaurants in guides etc without disclosure – such as the one here featuring Bangpop among many other restaurants.

It’s also an open secret that a year or two back Sharky approached restaurants PRs for free meals and he’s not the first blogger to do this. (I’ve approached tourism bodies for free flights and kitchen companies for free kitchens).

A lot of us have tweeted both Sharky and Paul Mathis about the disclosure issue and Paul Mathis told me to fuck off. It was only yesterday Sharky provided incomplete answers on his blog (where my comments and questions were deleted) and on Twitter.

Also one hospitality connection noted as a result of this and Sharky’s posts:

“After reading Mr Shark’s reply I reread, this morning, an email chain provided by a friend that was instigated by Mr Shark (on Myer letterhead – i’ll post a pic separately). In it he directly asks for ‘freebies’ and implies an imprimatur from Epicure as well as Beer and Brewer magazine, Melbourne coffee review, Food and Travel magazine in London and Elite Traveller in New York.”

The name of the blog Sharking for Fish and Chips comes from a line in a song by the Streets “But I stop sharking for a minute to get chips and drink” though I also (apparently mistakenly) always assumed it was a mashup with the definition of sharking, a colloquialism meaning “a person who preys greedily on others”. Which was what Sharky appeared to be doing – looking for free stuff. And we were too stupid to notice. Or perhaps times changed and people started expecting better standards from bloggers (and as far as I know Sharky doesn’t ask for free meals anymore).

But the thing is he was presenting sometimes bad reviews of restaurants where he paid for food and publishing good reviews of restaurants owned by his employer where the food was free. It’s misrepresentation without disclosure.

In the scheme of food writer conflicts it’s the kind of mistake that back in the last century got Stephen Downes exposed on Media Watch and sacked from The Sunday Age.

Journalism is fraught with conflicts. For a while companies that advertised on my blog thought it would lead to me writing about them in my column in the Herald Sun. It had the opposite effect to avoid conflicts.

Right now my big conflict is declaring a client when I post online. I meet with someone and eat their food. Or run a event. Have I disclosed on every Instagram, tweet or retweet that Chin Chin, MoVida, St Ali, Bomba!, Rickshaw, 400 Gradi, Lezzet, The Moors Head, Bellota, are (or have been) clients? No.

Am I trying to cheat my followers? No.

I just want to show them food and interesting stuff.

But as with the great Matt Moran paid tweeting for Kangaroo Island incident, there are those who are alleged to have taken money to tweet on their own account.

It was the talk of the last food bloggers conference Eat drink Blog 2013 – who was the Melbourne blogger who tweeted for money? Nobody was up for naming the person publicly but I received plenty of direct messages telling me who they thought it was.

For the record Melissa Brauer seems mortified by the allegations and denies them. She consults just as I do and emphasises that she does not tweet on her personal account for money.

What advice can one of the most conflicted men in the world (the same man who next week will invite you to a free meal) possibly offer on ethics?

1. If in doubt leave it out

If you are in a situation that you wouldn’t like people talking about either in public or behind your back then don’t do it.

If you go somewhere and don’t like something be prepared to say so. Some tourism authorities positively discriminate towards bloggers with large social media reaches over journalists. And they try and demand a guarantee of publicity. I say by all means guarantee it but write about what you feel even if you don’t like it. If you are not prepared to fight this fight then refuse to guarantee you will write about something or refuse to attend.

When I went to Wellington I had trouble writing anything as I thought the food was dated though I loved the bar scene (and the Gunpowder Rum).

One blogger Sofia Levin recently wrote an article about dumplings in The Age’s Good Food with the disclosure that David’s in Prahran was a client left off I’m told because of a production error. A safer option is perhaps not to write about clients (though I’m told the editor knew about the conflict and specifically requested she include David’s).

2. If in doubt shout it out

Tell people what you are doing. “I’m at yet another of Ed’s client’s free dinners and I’m a bit pissed and having an awesome time. Oops… We’re now trending on Twitter.”

Don’t be ridiculous though. It’s impossible to be vigilant enough to label every Instagram and tweet when several hundred go out a week.

I like @StickiFingers initiative of the #myclient hashtag which is also terrific marketing as it tells potential clients who you work for.

Don’t be afraid of labelling something a #freebie. And don’t be afraid of giving feedback. With the Rickshaw we did something very brave inviting a small group in to help us critique the food. Did we suffer because of it? No. We were able to make the food better for the media night.

3. Blatantly ask for free stuff

And disclose it. When I was running my kitchen project (which was postponed perhaps indefinitely because of the spin studio project) the idea was to source an entirely sponsored kitchen starting off with the design and packaging it across all social media culminating with a launch event.

4. Refuse free stuff

Let’s face it do we want all that free stuff? Often the stuff that is posted out is rubbish or joins the collection of dubious jars of preserves in the back of the pantry. We’re then left with the task of disposing of the packaging.

We’re also time poor. I still go to some events when I know the people well, have a free night, or really want to see what they are doing but I have a personal life too. So I reserve weekends for my partner and this post’s sponsor – SpinStar.

Yes, if you wonder where I have been instead of blogging for the past six months it’s been painting, decorating, designing and building furniture for SpinStar indoor cycling in Prahran.

They are the people who bring my tight buttocks and shrinking tummy to you.

Happy eating. And burning it off.