kaus files dot com logo

It's Back ...

The 'hit poem' contest returns.


Posted Monday, January 1, 2001

        Just when you were least expecting it ... the Hit-Grabbing Haiku Contest is back!

        It had seemed like a good idea when it was announced, almost a year ago. Let's discover which words best attract Web surfers by staging a cheesy contest! Add a veneer of redeeming cultural merit by requiring that the words be put into classic haiku form -- three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. And the contest initially seemed a success. Some 100 aspiring haiku came zipping in to kausfiles' laptop.

        Then ... nothing. Months passed. The human genome was decoded. The votes were counted. And recounted. But still, silence. The editor of kausfiles was suspected of indolence, but in fact he was reeling under a barrage of technical questions. The plan had been to just post poems on separate pages on the kausfiles.com site, and see which pages got more visits. But Web experts raised suspicions about what such a contest would prove. Would the pages ever be listed on any search engines? Is kausfiles even crawled by search engine spiders? Even if it is, how many hits can you attract by being the 55 millionth link listed for "Britney Spears"? How could such a contest be staged, anyway, without allowing participants to rig the game by repeatedly hitting their own haiku? What if the number of hits is affected by something as simple as which poem appears first on the site?

        The kausfiles board of directors retreated. They began to doubt themselves. And then they decided to ignore the naysayers! Two factors helped change their minds: 1) The large volume of entries submitted in good faith, some of which have something approaching actual literary merit; and 2) the results of an initial test, in which two competing poems were secretly posted on the kausfiles.com site. The poems did, it turned out, attract a number of hits greater than zero. More important, they attracted different numbers of hits. One poem won.

        True, neither haiku attracted many hits, but did that matter? So this is a low-scoring contest, like a baseball game! The other technical problems, too, seem to melt away with further thought.

        Is the kausfiles.com site crawled? Yes!

        What does it mean if one poem attracts more hits? Who knows? It means the poem wins the contest.

        How does a poem attract hits? Figuring that out is your problem, not mine.

        What good does it do to be the 55 millionth Web page listed for "Britney"? It may not do much good at all. Maybe it would better to be the 25th link that pops up for "Turkish origami." This is one of the many subtle strategic choices entrants must make.

        So the contest is back on. That means each week two poems will be posted somewhere on my site. After a week, the order of the poems will be reversed, and then they'll be left up for another week. At that point I'll look at my stats program and see which haiku has been hit on more often. The winning poem will remain on the site; the losing poem will be replaced by a new challenger -- and so on, in single-elimination, death-match fashion until eventually it's time to declare an overall winner.

        The action so far? Kausfiles' own, proprietary entry

'N Sync sex! Linux
Operating System! Kate
Winslet nude stock tips!
was defeated, 22-19, by the forceful, if somewhat traditional, challenger submitted by kausfiles reader "S" of Alaska:
Britney Spears naked
Pamela Anderson Lee
Free money sex teen
Next week, our new champion haiku will be matched against an evocative entry from "P" of New York:
Restaurant War: Sex
Sirens Gwyneth, Madonna
eat, drink, scream, sob, kiss.
Color commentary: The challenger's last line is actually good, but "good" may not count for beans in this league! And neither entry pursues the revolutionary "Turkish origami" strategy. But the contest isn't over till it's over!

        Start your engines!

        New E-mail service: Sign up, using the ListBot gizmo below, and you will be notified by e-mail whenever there's a new item on kausfiles.com. [Note: this service is free. You'll be asked a couple of demographic questions; if you find them annoying just leave them unanswered.]

Join the kausfiles.com mailing list!
Enter your email address below,
then click the 'Join List' button:
Powered by ListBot

Is Robert Wright a Marxist?

posted 03.20.00

        Recently archived:

        Gore vs. the Mysterious Forces The trouble with the Democrats' Shrumarama in L.A..

        Cheney: Cheerleader for OPEC Let those Yankees in key Midwest battleground states freeze in the dark!

        Bush and Cheney: The Secret Transcripts

        Crock of Goldstein WaPo welfare reporter falls for Brookings spin, and worse.

        The Real Hillary Scandal Mr. and Mrs. Clinton forgot to get their stories straight.

        The Gift of Nader Gore could use a rival on his left.

        Rehnquist's Scandalous Shmatte Did he deduct that $30,000 robe?

        What's He Hiding? Notes toward a unified Bush theory.

        Special Re-Flogging Edition More on WaPo's hypocritical critic.

        CBS's Defective Defector 60 Minutes adopts Internet news standards.

        Looking for Mr. Good Death Mickey's Assignment Desk #8.

        Another Greenhouse Effect Resurgence of "labor resurgence" stories puzzles experts.

        Crosswired Politics Why the parties are trading places on some issues.

        The Toobin Crisis, Day 141 Ann Godoff vs. Charles Peters.

        The Purnick Platform The new NYT lets it all hang out.

        Run, Peggy, Run! The best anti-Hillary candidate.

        Kuttner's Poor Statistics Have child poverty rates 'scarcely moved'?

        Drew's Cluelessness Please don't let her anywhere near the First Amendment.

        Why Gore Won't Pick Richardson An impolite thought ....

        How Convenient! Now McCain tells us.

        Now She's Done It Maybe that nice centrist Mrs. Clinton really is against welfare reform.

        Pardon Our Reporting Clinton left the door wide open!

        Elian: An Overlooked Angle? Castro did Clinton a big favor last year.

        Boomers Against Death The shift against the death penalty isn't necessarily a shift to the left.

        The Perfect Campaign All e-mail, all the time!

        No Justice, No Paez The LAT and 'judicial activism.'

        Kausfiles Battles for the Vital Center! Why Bush has plenty of time to reposition himself.

        Clean Sheets The case for selling the Lincoln Bedroom.

        Don't Push It, Hillary Plus: kausfiles moves its cheese!

        Faster Politics Why 'momentum' ain't what it used to be.

        Jeffrey Toobin, Chicken! Fifth of a series.

        Hillary's Shocking Truth Plus: the Nissan Cojones Watch.

        Hit Poems A kausfiles contest.

        Gore's Press Problem Plus: How he blew his chance for a New Hampshire knockout.

        Bush Knows What "Regatta" Means Bradley's SATS; the media's moodswing; the neolibs' nightmare.

        Jeffrey Toobin, Hypocrite, Part III! How dare Isikoff write a book, says Toobin in his book.

        Not Gotcha Why Gore's gay flip was a genuine gaffe.

        Pay Up, Shrum! Litmus test flip-flop smoking gun.

        Jeffrey Toobin, Hypocrite 'Tawdry voyeurism,' anyone?

        Cuomo Family Values Did Mario raise his son to be Hillary's Boy?

        DeParle Gets Half the Story The NYT doesn't tell us what we need to know about Milwaukee's poor.

        Bill Clinton Wants You on Welfare! Is this the dole administration after all?

        The Pornographer Who Didn't Bark Why wouldn't Flynt bust Newt?

        Yes, There Are Easy Answers! The NYT and WaPo find a quick fix for affirmative action.

        Who Stole Nissan's Cojones? Jerry Hirshberg'a got a lot of ... chutzpah!

        Doesn't Anyone Want to Be Famous? The political opportunity of a lifetime.

        The Ending of the Black Underclass, Part XVIII African-American welfare receipt falls to new low.

        Just Buzz Me! Synergy City! Harvey Weinstein plans a TV show based on Talk.

        Is Daniel Patrick Moynihan the Devil? A review of the evidence to date.

        Harvey Scores Again! An exciting new Talk contest.

        Is It Over? Clinton's Pathetic Second Term Revealing the one Big Thing he still might accomplish.

        Maybe Bush Didn't Snort Coke -- Maybe He Dropped Acid! One solution to the Bush drug mystery.

        George Bush, Drug Pioneer? Bush's pharmacological time-line seems a little ... out of the mainstream.

        Will Tina Fire Lucinda? Talk and truth.

Copyright 2000 Mickey Kaus.

In Association with Amazon.com