An undergraduate team that included two Haas students took first place at the Google-Accenture Domains Case Competition April 1 with a creative approach to marketing "foo."
Winning team members were (pictured left to right): Adnan Rajkotwala, BS 13; Tristan Tao, BA 14 (Computer Science and Statistics); Sandy Diao, BS 13; and exchange student Lara Grosso, BA 13.
The competition called for teams to choose from 12 domain names provided by Google and then use analytical skills, strategic thinking, and creative problem-solving to craft a plan to market their chosen domains to the public.
The winning Berkeley team chose .foo as its domain, which is easy to pronounce and has an Asian meaning, giving it an international appeal, Rajkotwala says. Fu means “good fortune” in Chinese. Other teams from Stanford and UCLA pitched .meme and .soy.
“It was definitely an awesome experience,” Rajkotwala says. He noted that competition judge Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist and often called the "father of the Internet," joined the finals remotely from Virginia. “He had a lot of questions and insight as to how (our case) might play out,” Rajkotwala says.
The team also wanted to appeal to Google’s developers. “Our core idea was building a social network around the domain,” Rajkotwala said. “The main challenge we kept coming back to is: what convinces people to move over to .foo from a .com (domain)?”
Eight MBA and eight undergraduate teams were chosen to advance before the finalists were whittled down to three teams on each side in the finals. UCLA won the competition among MBA students.
Winning team members received Nexus 7 tablets and the possibility of their team’s ideas being featured in Google’s future marketing plan.