Website Created by Huntsman Student is in the Top Three of 294 Million Results
By Connor Child
A Google search for “best banks” will yield 294 million results. One of the first three options listed is usually banktruth.org, a website created by a Huntsman student.
Raine Christensen, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in management information systems (MIS) at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, started the website in the summer of 2010. The website ranks banks by various criteria and provides detailed information about banking institutions. It has become one of the top bank-ranking websites on the internet. It now boasts up to 40,000 page views per month, and revenue from advertising on the site has quadrupled since the beginning of 2011.
Mr. Christensen said a major key to his website’s success is its focus on search engine optimization. Search engines like Google look for websites that contain quality, up-to-date content and rewards them by posting them at the top of the list when certain words or phrases are searched. Banktruth.org is at or near the top of lists of results for several keyword searches, such as “best banks” or “bank reviews.”
Mr. Christensen said it has taken some hard work and dedication, but the business has been rewarding. He said the website would not be where it is without his brother, Skyler. Together they created their first successful website, ratecatcher.com, which compares rates for money market and savings accounts.
“My brother has programming and networking skills that were essential in getting the website off the ground,” he said.
Creating the website was a considerable risk, he said. He spent the first year of his master’s program running it without getting paid, he said.
“I really had to stretch myself,” he said. “At the beginning of each day, I had to commit to spend at least eight hours working on the website, and I couldn’t waste a single second.”
As the website has grown, Mr. Christensen has had to hire additional employees to help with the work. He said he has enjoyed learning leadership skills while managing the website. He said he took a course about MIS systems strategy from Eric Hawley at USU that “lit a fire” in him and helped him understand the concept of building people, not just systems.
“I took those principles to heart," Mr. Christensen said. "I realized that I can’t just pay people – I need to build them up and give them a vision. I need to inspire my employees so that we’re producing something above the norm. We’re making a stellar product that businesses like Google won’t be able to deny is worthwhile and reputable.”