MIT Announces Finalists for E-Commerce Awards

MIT’s Sloan School of Management is calling it “a cross between the Oscars and the Internet,” which would make their first annual MIT Sloan E-Commerce Awards a true revenge of the nerds.

The prestigious Cambridge, Massachusetts-based business school announced the finalists for their awards Wednesday, and, not unexpectedly, the roster reads like a Who’s Who of the Internet world. From Yahoo! to Dell Computers, Egghead.com to Priceline.com, the marquee names are expected to shine on Tuesday, May 11, when the awards will be broadcast live at 6:30 p.m. on the Internet at www.mitawards.org.

The awards, which will be preceded by a panel discussion titled “Bricks & Mortar vs. Web-Based Businesses,” are being sponsored by Cambridge Technology Partners, Dell Computers, Lycos, Microsoft, Scient, Red Herring and ZD Net.

The Finalists

A committee of MIT faculty and industry leaders will select the winners in six separate categories. Among the selection committee are Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers, Patty Maes, founder of the Firefly Network, Bill Porter, founder of E*Trade and a host of others.

The finalists for the Re-Inventor Award — which recognizes a company that has used electronic commerce to change the way business is conducted in an industry — are MP3.com, Priceline.com, Buy.com, Wit Capital, and Double Click. In the Web Transformation category — which recognizes those who have transformed from an established company to a Web-based company — the finalists are Egghead.com, Ticketmaster, Altra Engery, Barnes and Noble and Whole Foods Market.

The Internationalist Award recognizes the company which has successfully pursued business on the global front. The company must have versions of its Web site in more than one language to qualify. The finalists are Yahoo!, FedEx, BBC, Dell Computers and SAP. The Rookie of the Year Award finalists are Akamai Technologies, Priceline.com, MP3.com, Net Zero and Planet RX. The Technology Innovator Award nominees are Akamai, Ariba, Be Free, Net Perceptions and Marimba.

And finally, the nominees for the Social Responsibility Award — which recognizes the organization which has best utilized e-commerce as a fulcrum for social change — are ThinkQuest, CompuMentor, iGive.com, Impact Online and TheBody.

Akamai Technologies Honored

One of three companies that was selected as a finalist in two separate categories, Akamai Technologies — a neighbor of MIT’s in Cambridge — said it was honored to be selected.

“Just to be associated with such a distinguished and stellar list of e-commerce leaders is a reward in itself,” Akamai’s vice president of marketing, David Goodtree, told the E-Commerce Times Wednesday.

Akamai, which is Hawaiian for intelligent, clever and cool, was founded last year by a group of MIT scientists. The company says it has deployed the world’s largest fault-tolerant network for distributing Internet content. Goodtree said that the service is now commercially available after a round of beta testing with five of the world’s most visited Web sites. A number of contracts were signed in April he said, and the company will make an announcement later this quarter about those deals.

School’s In on E-Commerce

MIT is one of the many higher education institutions that are jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon in recent months. Like Carnegie Mellon, Loyola and many others, MIT’s Sloan School is offering fully-accredited course curriculum on e-commerce. Word around campus is that the courses are the hottest thing since the invention of the keg.

Of all the heavyweight colleges and universities to unveil e-commerce curriculum, it was a couple of relatively unknown schools — Georgia State University and Marlboro College — that strapped on the harness and started pulling the bandwagon. Both of those schools were among the first in offering e-commerce courses.

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