[Big Boards] - Featured Forum


Tazmanian Veteran
Jan 1, 2004
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.


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 ( 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.

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 Coming up is an online shop (powered by shopsite) for Team-BHP merchandise.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!