Pop Salad may sound like something you would (or wouldn't) want to consume for lunch, but it's actually a new social gaming site that pits celebs against one another in a kind of Internet popularity contest. Titled "The Addictive Game of Celebrity Gossip," the site is a sort of fantasy football league for avid readers of TMZ, People, and yes, HuffPost Celebrity. To wit: Users "bet" on a celebrity (say, Jessica Simpson) at a certain time for a certain price, and then watch their stock rise or fall according to a tricky algorithm that assesses the celebrity's worth (Simpson giving birth on May 1 surely made her stock shoot up).
So what is the criteria that determines a person's value in the celebrity market? As Salad Labs vice president of marketing Sasha Pasulka told Time magazine, "The highest prices on Pop Salad are driven by death, pregnancy, divorce, marriage and bikini pictures."
Morbid, perhaps, but from our experience, the above criteria are in fact what make a celebrity buzzworthy (minus the icky sex tape and wardrobe malfunction, two surefire but misguided ways to get your name splashed across the interwebs.) When Beyonce announced her pregnancy at the 2011 VMAs, the news spurred 8,868 tweets per second, a Twitter record. Whitney Houston's shocking death on February 2011 made her the second most-googled person in our analysis of celebrity popularity, while news of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher's divorce meant photos of their grim visages spun into tabloid cover gold.
What do you think, readers? Who would you bet on today to get a return for your buck tomorrow? Vote in our poll below, and sound off in the comments below. And for more on Pop Salad, click through to Time.
Check out celebrity photos of the week: