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Intellect

BYU students analyze Overstock.com in Web analytics competition

Two Brigham Young University master’s students in Information Systems Management think they’ve figured out how to make online retailer Overstock.com even more successful, and the judges agreed.

Reed Olsen from Salt Lake City and David Wilson from Highland, Utah, took first place at the fall 2008 Omniture Web Analytics Competition, winning $10,000 and HDTVs for their project. Olsen and Wilson, who called their team Group X, also won the crowd-favorite award.

More than 150 students gained hands-on experience using Omniture’s SiteCatalyst software to analyze online traffic and how consumers shop at Overstock.com during the two-week competition. They then prepared a presentation for Omniture executives on how Overstock.com could optimize the shopping experience and increase profits.

“The OWAC gives students the opportunity to participate in a competition that closely resembles a situation faced in the real world by marketing and strategic consultants,” said Thomas Gosney, student leader of the competition. “This opportunity prepares students for future situations and tests their ability to work in a difficult and stressful environment.”

With only two weeks between the competition kickoff and the submission deadline, Olsen and Wilson spent a total of 70 hours preparing their recommendations.

“We have complementary skills that allowed us to work really well together and made the presentation cohesive,” Olsen says.

Of the 85 teams that entered the competition, 22 teams presented in the preliminaries, and only four made it to the finals held in BYU’s N. Eldon Tanner Building where they presented in front of three judges from Omniture.

The team Lost Cousins placed second and received a $5,000 award. The third-place team, Analysts on Demand, received $2,500 for their project.

The Omniture Web Analytics Competition is held twice a year. The next competition will take place during winter semester 2009 and is open to all BYU students.

For this and other Marriott School of Management news releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschoool.byu.edu/news.

Writer: Rachel Finley

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