Team-BHP.com [Big Boards] - Featured Forum

Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
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Team-BHP's administrator, Rush (TAZ's Michael S), recently shared information about his big-board community which focuses on the Indian car scene. Read on to learn more about his unique community and his tasks as administrator.


FORUM BASICS:

1. What is the name of your website and a brief description of the theme/topic of the forums. What is the url?
A : Team-BHP (www.Team-BHP.com). A community focused on the Indian car scene.

2. List some of the most popular forums and describe its discussions.
A : Indian Car Scene - Discussion of new car launches, auto industry news, product comparisons, traffic policies, scoops of upcoming cars and more.

Shifting Gears - Surprisingly, the one with the most posts! Shifting Gears discusses everything OTHER than cars. Team-BHP meets, watches, Indian restaurants, Tattoos, air-travel, music and everything to do with life in India.

3. What prompted you to start your forum? What was your launch date?
A - To be honest, a bunch of us petrolheads only wanted a common platform to talk cars. During the initial days, there were barely 10 - 15 of us. And we couldn't be any happier! The domain was registered on my birthday while the site went live 4 days later on Valentines.

4. Do you have any special forum features or activities?
A - We regularly conduct car ownership surveys, the results of which are displayed publicly. Team-BHP meets are taking place, across the country, almost every other day. The racing-inclined members organize track days for safe high-speed driving a couple of times each year. We also have a full-fledged marketplace running. A detailed Team-BHP Advice section which contains tons of information on automotive ownership in India is particularly popular.

SOFTWARE:
1. Which software do you use for your forums?
A - Vbulletin. We started off with Ikonboard but (luckily) moved to vbulletin within the first year itself.

2. Do you use any add-ons scripts to enhance your site? Which ones?
A - Subdreamer CMS (for the portal), Photopost Classifieds (too many bugs), vB gallery software (For member garages) and VBseo are the substantial add-on softwares. Of course, we are running about 7 – 8 useful hacks from vbulletin.org. Coming up is an online shop (powered by shopsite) for Team-BHP merchandise.

HARDWARE:
1. What is your current server set-up? Do you have multiple servers for your big board forum? Who manages your servers?
A – Our current server is running a Core2 Duo 2.4, 4 GB of RAM and two 250 GB hard-disks (one for backup). Pair Hosting themselves manage the server. Exemplary service!

MEMBERS:
1. Membership stats? How many members?
A – 30,000 odd. Membership is subject to prior approval.

2. What are the demographics of your site? (Percentage of men, women, age groups, locality related)
A – 90% Male, half of whom are between the age group of 18 – 29. About 40% are between the age group of 30 – 45. About 80% of our members have an under-graduate degree or are currently studying toward one. About 35% have a Masters. 85% of our visits are from India, the States being a distant second.

STAFF:
1. Tell us a about your staff including how many admins (and their functions), moderators, mentors, web-developers, etc. Explain how your staff is organized.
A – Two Admins and 18 Moderators overlook the board. It’s a flat structure, but the Admin does have the final say.

REVENUE:
1. How do you generate revenue to cover your expenses? (Ecommerce, subscriptions, advertising, affiliate links, etc)
A – The first three years were funded out of pocket. Eventually, the hosting costs shot through the roof and hence, a single Adsense banner now sits tight just below the navbar. This is just about enough to cover the hosting, while design / enhancements are still out of pocket :)

2. Do you offer upgraded members groups for a fee? What benefits do they get for subscribing/upgrading?
A - Nope.

ADMIN:
1. What is your name?
A - Rush Parekh. Team-BHP handle is GTO (after the Ferrari 288 GTO).

2. Please share a few things about yourself. (Bio, family, education, background, hobbies, your favorite pizza topping, your favorite vacation spot, your choice of transportation, etc)
A - I am a Mumbai-based Jeeper (only 19 at heart!) and by qualification, an MBA in Marketing from Bentley College, Boston. As a born entrepreneur, I love to build and create value-adding organizations. My business interests lie in the field of education, interior supplies and real estate. Off-roading is close to my heart, though track racing is right up there too. Honestly, I couldn't care less about 1/4 mile competitions and am more into handling prowess, steering precision, late braking and sticking to the racing line. A decade old rusty Mahindra CJ 4x4 (on its third engine!!) is the favorite from my garage, but highway / high speed drives entail the Mercedes C220 or the Honda City Vtec instead. The cars that I absolutely lust for are the Ferrari Enzo, Porsche 911 Turbo, Mercedes S-Class series (from the W126 to the W221), BMW M series, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO series and of course - The 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO. Cars deeply touch my soul and I can have the time of my life even putting a Maruti 800 through her paces.

Outside of cars, I am fond of fine dining, watches and traveling (by road of course!).

3. How do you spend a typical day as admin on your site? What do you enjoy about your job as admin of your site/forums? Do you office in your home or in a separate office space away from your house?
A – As a budding entrepreneur, I pretty much have my hands full with my business. Thus, time on the forum is typically 2 hours a day. However, I do keep the entire of Saturday aside for Team-BHP related work. I work out of a dedicated office space.

4. What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in starting or running your forums? How did you/do you handle it?
A – Maintaining quality; for some reason, forums aren’t a popular concept in India and the member / post quality left a lot to be desired. Manually approving membership registrations & strict (but effective) moderation has done the trick.

5. What 3 things have helped your forums to be a success?
A – The people : Right from the Administrators to Moderators to Members….we have a great team onboard. Second would be our unbiased approach. We do NOT accept any funding from the automotive industry and hence, our content is indisputably straight-forward. Third, quality of content.

Thanks for sharing, Michael, and congratulations on your success!
 
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