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GTO 14th February 2017 00:00

On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
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It’s our birthday and today, I want to talk about something that we don’t mention that often – OUR INDEPENDENCE…independence from the very industry that we cover! Since day 1 of inception, Team-BHP has never accepted an advertisement for a car model and we never will. This is very important to who we are and what we do.

Team-BHP has taken the traditional model of reporting and turned the system on its head. The nature of the beast is, you are dependent on the industry you cover. That’s how it is for everyone else. Think about it, have you ever seen:

• A gadget magazine without smartphone ads?
• A fashion magazine without ads from Levi’s or Zara?
• An audio website without ads from HiFi companies?
• An automotive website or magazine without ads of the latest car models? The auto industry is a top 2 advertiser in India (the other being FMCG).

Heck, forget direct car ads, we even go as far as to block car ads served indirectly (e.g. via Google AdSense & other networks). We’ve treaded a different path and have proven that we can make it happen. The auto industry doesn't pay our bills; we are the only large resource of car information to adopt this model. It makes me immensely proud! It is our independence that has allowed us to excel :thumbs up. And we've done all of this, ending up with a readership (21 lakh monthly readers) exceeding all of the car magazines combined. So, thank you for placing your trust in us!

At the most fundamental level, you just can't objectively review products of the same company that is paying your bills. I always wonder how one can publish a neutral review of a car when, next to that very report, is a 20 lakh rupee ad contract by the same company? It's beyond me. If anyone wants to explain the same, I'm all ears. Imagine how the conversation goes “You pay my rent, you pay my staff salaries, you pay my car EMIs, you pay for my son’s education…but I’m going to criticise your latest product”. Hahahaha! On Team-BHP, it’s US who pay the car industry’s bills (as customers of their cars), and not the other way around.

From our advertising page:
Attachment 1607957

How can we function in the heart of the industry, yet remain financially independent of them? Was this independence easy? Obviously not. I funded Team-BHP out of pocket for the initial 7 years. In fact, we didn’t even have a single ad banner on the website until mid-2008! This, at a time when start-ups look for ‘funding’ within a week of their birth.

Was the idea original? Nope, credit where it’s due. This model was inspired by Consumer Reports (who I greatly respect), a publication by the Consumers Union in USA. Other than Team-BHP & Consumer Reports, I can’t think of any other large medium that has managed to pull this off. Must add that, although the model was inspired by Consumer Reports, our philosophy eventually self-evolved – link to Team-BHP's philosophy.

What has this enabled? Honest content, reviews & opinions. But it’s not just that. Think about it - who first spoke about the Swift’s poor brakes, Kawasaki’s dealership cheating customers of deposits, Skoda’s horrendous service levels, the poor reliability of European luxury marques or Jaguar’s horrific after-sales, defective parts like this one….the list goes on and on; this is just a tiny example of the thousands of exposÚs that are on this forum.

Truth is, there are only two things that can make automakers toe the line. One is tough legislation, the other is bad publicity / a strict press. Admittedly, India’s legal system is slow, while most of the press has sold out. That’s why Team-BHP does what it can to spread awareness (of the good & bad, both).

You have our word that we’ll continue keeping it honest, real & straight-forward here :thumbs up. It's in our DNA.

Big shoutout to .Anshuman, Aah78, Aditya, Ajmat, Akshay1234, Ampere, Bblost, Benbsb29, dZired, Eddy, FlyingSpur, Gannu_1, Jaggu, Karlosdeville, Khan_Sultan, Manson, Mobike008, Moralfibre, MPower, Navin, Noopster, Omkar, Rehaan, Rtech, Rudra Sen, Samurai, SDP, Suhaas307, Technocrat, TheMAG, TSK1979, Vid6639 and Zappo for being the pillars of support to this forum! Thank You.

GTO 14th February 2017 00:00

1 Attachment(s)
On a related note, I wanted to touch upon another topic that really gets my goat. The new buzz words in the ad world today are ‘advertorials’ & ‘sponsored articles’. These make me puke!! Leave aside local car websites & magazines, even the hallowed New York Times has started publishing sponsored content (link) :Frustrati.

‘Sponsored post’ or ‘advertorial’ on Team-BHP? Over my dead body. You’ll NEVER see that garbage here.

Before, agencies would write in requesting sponsored content perhaps once in two months. Now, it’s more like thrice a week! This is becoming a huge industry in itself and thereby, a major problem for consumers. The severity is such that the Federal Trade Commission USA has introduced regulations covering the same related link.

What a sample 'sponsored content' request looks like:
Attachment 1607966

Happy 13th, Team-BHP! Let's show them how it's done.

Rehaan 14th February 2017 00:05

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence

13 great years (a lucky number, in my opinion) of cars, people, friendships, learning and independence.

A look back at how far we've come. Our Birthday threads through the years:
12th: A dozen years of memories...Happy 12th Birthday, Team-BHP!

11th: Happy 11th Birthday Team-BHP!! (2015)

10th: A Decade with Team-BHP...

9th: Happy 9th Birthday Team-BHP! An All-New Look, Home Page, News, Sections & more

8th: EIGHT years as part of the Team-BHP Family

7th: Team-BHP turns 7 on Valentines Day!

6th: Team-BHP turns 6!

5th: Happy 5th Birthday, Team-BHP!

Here's to many more to come...

CrAzY dRiVeR 14th February 2017 00:19

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy Birthday Team-Bhp. clap:

Glad to have been associated with the forum for more than a decade now. In fact, the only networking site I've used consistently all these days - not even being an active user on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks to every single BHP'ian who've made this time worthwhile.

I do wish the best for the future -

1. That you grow even more and the forum starts covering the two wheeler market to the same extent as the fours.

2. That the companies mature and start taking more constructive criticism (than current PR puppets) so we start involving them better in the discussions.

3. That the forum continues to adhere to the highest quality standards even in the face of increasing content, the one feature that has remained the single biggest highlight till date.

4. But at the same time, being able to bring in the smaller players who can provide good technical knowledge at the ground level, ICE and tuner sections are two that I can instantly think of.


Originally Posted by GTO (Post 4145289)
Kawasaki’s dealerships cheating customers of deposits,

Dealership, I believe. Have heard of only one - SNK issue.


Originally Posted by GTO (Post 4145290)
The new buzz words in the ad world today are ‘advertorials’ & ‘sponsored articles’. [i]

No wonder we can count the honest reviewers and articles per month in single digits these days. Sad, but true.

condor 14th February 2017 00:21

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
TBHP Stands Tall - thanks to GTO and Rehaan .. the mod's, and all members who have supported in their own way. Taking up car ad's brings in a compromise. But trying to be independent by not doing so also has it's challenges and pressures. It needs a strong and determined stand to face them.

Happy Birthday, TBHP !

octane1002 14th February 2017 00:36

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Well done Team Bhp!

My car buying journey has evolved with this site.

Still remember my 1st car purchase, the Octavia vRS, which in those days was considered to be a complex piece of machinery (and still is), high on adrenaline. I never considered auto magazine reviews for that purchase, no comparos, etc. It was the ownership reports and first hand comments of people like ajmat/abhinav.gupta/ashish22/hafi/ardy that I relied on.

Same went for the Sonata Transform CRDi, great value and a car seriously underrated by mags and whatever little I came accross online. Team Bhp was again my go to resource with first hand inputs from owners on team bhp like rohitrk/carzcrazy/aboveallkaran/Bigron.Never regretted that decision either thanks to tbhp. Unlike the haloed RS, there simply wasn't enough coverage on the Sonata CRDi apart from t-bhp.

N then the monster happened, a pretty special RS5!Thanks to t-bhp again and first hand inputs from owners here(Sahil/zkalra), I knew what I wanted in my first supercar. I never ever picked up an auto magazine for reviews, given the premiumness of the product. Maybe some would think me crazy, but the honest unbiased reporting here never made me think about even tuning into auto shows aired on tv forget pick up magazines! That is what team bhp is to me.All the way from the RS to the RS5!

Although I have been an erratic contributor here, I just wanted to take this special moment to say THANK YOU TEAM BHP! clap:

Here's to many more years of awesomeness ahead!

Hrishi_111 14th February 2017 00:52

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy Birthday Team-BHP!clap:

We all have been victim of ‘to like what you see’ than ‘to see what you like’ in these days of Big Data, and very few places like Team-BHP could still manage not to follow the tempting path.

While standing away from crowd is not that easy, I must say that Team-BHP has not just achieved it but have distinguished themselves from the crowd in terms of quality and unbiased content.

Keep revving,
Hrushikesh S

GranvilleDsouza 14th February 2017 01:24

Congrats on the accomplishments by you guys! Hats off to you the people who maintain and take time off their personal life/jobs to give us a platform like this! Cheers and Happy Birthday.

Shivanshu 14th February 2017 04:10

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy Birthday Team- BHP!

Thanks to GTO and all the Moderator Team to provide such an amazing platform for automobile enthusiast. God Bless all!

extreme_torque 14th February 2017 05:49

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy Birthday! Although I have my run-ins with the Mods and I sometimes do not agree with their actions/decisions, I keep coming back to the website because I know the fundamentals are right. I just wish it was a little more democratic for the want of a better word. All the best for the future Tbhp!

deetjohn 14th February 2017 05:50

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
What an incredible journey!!

Thank You for the stellar job that the support team does under the bonnet to keep it as it is. And kudos to the wonderful BHPians who contribute towards making brilliant and honest content. :thumbs up

One thing I really credit T-BHP for is the absolute significance given to safety of cars. Years back, it opened my eyes and I am quite sure its done/ doing the same for many others and the manufacturers. That's one big reason why we get optional safety pack even in base variants nowadays. Its taken time, and we have a long long way to go. But I am quite sure, we can keep the pressure on 'our industry' to grow further through T-BHP. To make better cars, one at a time!

Here is to the future of Indian car market!

Rajeevraj 14th February 2017 05:57

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy Birthday to Team-Bhp. At a time when paid media seems to be taking a stranglehold across industries, it is wonderful and refreshing to see Team-Bhp continue to uphold the flag of impartiality and not compromise on real facts.

Thanks to the thousands of members who help enable this and also to the wonderful moderator team that helps keep everyone honest and aligned to the Team-Bhp values.

Great job!Best wishes once again.

theMAG 14th February 2017 06:39

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy thirteenth, TBhp ! Wish you many more thirteens!

Samurai 14th February 2017 07:58

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
For the last few years, I remember this day not as Valentine's day, as but Team-BHP birthday.

Surprised that nobody mentioned... today Team-BHP became a teenager. clap:

It has been an absolute privilege to be a Team-BHP for 12+ years, and also a moderator for 11+ years. It has made life lot more richer in the sense of friendships and life experiences. Prior to Team-BHP, 90% of my friends and acquaintances were from software industry. Since Team-BHP, it has flipped upside down, now 90% are not from software industry. My work rarely involves travelling, so most of my travels are Team-BHP related.

Often, when strangers find out I am a Team-BHP moderator, I get to hear some heart burn about our registration process or strictness of moderation. Yet, there is a silver-lining. After the grievances are over, they usually admit they can't avoid visiting the site anyway. Recently at a car review event, a journalist from a mainstream news magazine complained to me about the registration process. Then he added that he has a first generation Tata Safari, which he is able to maintain only because of the threads on Team-BHP. :)

JoseVijay 14th February 2017 08:15

Re: On Team-BHP's 13th birthday, let's celebrate our independence
Happy Birthday to Team BHP. Wonderful write up by GTO. That is what Team BHP is: standing up for what is Right, Truthful and Just. I wish and pray that our Tribe may continue to GROW in the years to come.

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