Google AdWords: Sublime Poetry?

A frustrated poet uses Google's AdWords program to not only lose money with his art, but as a clever way to test the effectiveness of keywords for search engine optimization efforts.

Google seems to inspire the goofballs of the world to use it in ways we more ordinary searchers wouldn't imagine. We've seen Googlewhacking, Googlebombing, and all manner of creative uses of its new API program.

But AdWord poetry? Yup.

Christophe Bruno, the inspired visionary behind this project, writes: "At the beginning of April, a debate took place on mailing list, about how to earn money with net art. It suggested to me an answer to an easier problem: how to spend money with my art (if you understand everything on how to spend money, you should in principle understand also how to earn money, because of conservation laws...)

"I decided to launch a happening on the web, consisting in a poetry advertisement campaign on Google AdWords. I opened an account for $5 and began to buy some keywords. For each keyword you can write a little ad and, instead of the usual ad, I decided to write little "poems", non-sensical or funny or a bit provocative."

Christophe is no mere slacker poet, however. Taking a very scientific approach, he measured the effectiveness of his poetry by counting clickthroughs and analyzing traffic in a manner that rivals even the best SEO wonks.

His story, including his run-in with "The Google AdWords Automated Performance Monitor," makes for both a hilarious and instructive read.

The Google AdWords Happening

Warning: Contains occasional use of poetic licence with offcolor language that might be offensive to some.

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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was's Web Search Guide.