IST students visit 'Googleplex'

University Park, Pa. -- The College of Information Sciences and Technology's winning  team from the Google Online Marketing Challenge claimed its prize last week when it visited the company’s headquarters — also known as the “Googleplex” — in Mountain View, Calif.

The challenge required each student team to create and implement a Google Adwords advertising campaign for a local business of their choice. Each team was given $200 and three weeks to track and refine their campaigns. Winners were announced in July and prizes also included new MacBook laptops for the winning students.

"The visit to the Googleplex was unreal. The main campus was above and beyond my expectations, while the culture and environment at Google was just as I had read about on blogs all these years," said junior Daehee Park, one of the students on the trip. "Google has truly built an incredible company that cannot be replicated at its current scale."

Also making the trip to the Googleplex were Caroline Furey, Joe Lewis, Matt Maisel and Tonya Podkuiko. Together, they comprise the team that won first place in the Americas region of the challenge. The team created a Google Adwords campaign for the State College Web site HappyValley.com.

While at the Google’s headquarters, students and IST Assistant Professor Jim Jansen, the group's adviser, had the opportunity to meet the team that created AdWords and observe a day in the life with the company’s employees.

Jansen, one of the professors on the challenge's academic panel, offered few tips for future participants in the article “The Google Online Marketing Challenge: Classroom Learning with Real Clients, Real Money, and Real Advertising Campaigns,” which appeared in the fall 2008 issue of the Journal of Interactive Advertising.

Jansen said students must understand the principles behind keyword advertising and creating successful ad campaigns before beginning the challenge. The students must also be able to form relationships with their chosen clients and clearly present their suggestions to improve the businesses' Web sites.

"The 2008 Google Online Marketing Challenge helped address a key area of marketing and advertising and continues to serve as a vehicle for teaching these critical topics in the classroom," Jansen said. "As a result, Google is gearing up for an even bigger challenge in 2009."

Registration for the 2009 challenge opens in October. Jansen's e-marketing class, IST 402 "Emerging Issues in Technology," will be offered again this spring and will again participate in the challenge.

Last Updated March 19, 2009