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Hit Poems

A kausfiles contest.


Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2000

        What words, when used in a Web site, attract the most hits from Internet surfers and their search engines? Kausfiles' financial backers were intensely interested in this question, and they faced a decision. They could do a minimal amount of research and find the answers. Or they could stage a flimsy contest, ask readers to submit their suggested hit-attracting key words, offer some vague and insubstantial reward to the winner, and take the day off.

        The choice was obvious. Yet the contest would have to have a veneer of redeeming social, cultural, or literary value. Luckily, the solution to this problem was obvious as well.

        Kausfiles thus proudly announces its first annual "Hit-Grabbing Haiku" contest, in which a venerable Japanese literary tradition is updated to meet the needs of the new economy. Here are the rules:


1. Readers are asked to submit a list of words that they think will attract the most hits.
2. All entries must be in the form of a haiku poem of the classic three-line structure, with a first line of five (5) syllables, a second line of seven (7) syllables, and a final line of five (5) syllables.
3. Kausfiles will also come up with an initial entry.
4. The most promising reader entry will be matched against kausfiles' initial entry. Each of these competing haiku will then be given a separate page on the Web site. After a certain period of time, probably a week, the haiku receiving the most hits--as measured in the sole discretion of kausfiles and its stats program--will be allowed to remain on the site. The losing haiku will be removed and replaced by a new "challenger" haiku. After another period of time, hits will again be measured, and a winner determined, and so on in a Darwinian, single-elimination, death-match process that will gradually produce a haiku that asymptotically approaches the perfect hit-attracting group of 17 syllables.
5. Authors of the haiku selected for competition will be identified in kausfiles unless they request otherwise. After a certain period of time, probably a few weeks, a winner will be declared. The author of the winning entry will receive a suitably stupid prize, to be determined later.
6. Since entries may not be tested for a number of weeks, readers are encouraged to choose themes that will hold up over time. For example, right now there is a surge of hits on any Web site that contains the words "John McCain." That's John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate. Once again: John McCain. But John McCain may not be as hot three weeks from now.
7. Entries should be sent to
8. Decisions of kausfiles are final.
9. Void where prohibited.
Here is the kausfiles initial entry:


'N Sync sex! Linux
Operating System! Kate
Winslet nude stock tips!

You think you can beat that?

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Copyright 2000 Mickey Kaus.

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