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Bharatstudent: The Facebook of India Chip Magazine, December 2010
The many social networking sites have practically changed the way people communicate, and in this maze, we came across Bharatstudent, which is hailed as India's answers to Facebook.

BharatStudent was founded in March 2007 as a community for students who wish to study abroad. The overwhelming response from students fueled its growth as a social networking site. It currently has over 3 million registered users.

We spoke with Venkat S Meenavalli, the MD & CEO of BharatStudent to find out more about the indigenously Indian social networking site.

1). What was the inspiration behind Bharatstudent?
a). After our flagship service - study abroad got extensive response from the student community. We thought of focusing on all the key concern areas of the Indian youth, whether professional or personal, we added all other services. We started to develop a Facebook of India with educational content and we succeeded.

2). How popular is BharatStudent in India as compared to other social networking sites?
a). The services offered by us make us unique. BharatStudent is growing at a brisk space owing to its exclusive content, which attracts not only the youth in India, but it also attracts the Indian youth across the globe.

3). What does it offers its users apart from social networking?
a). provides a whole range of unique features and comprehensive solutions for young Indians, be it students, young graduates, and even young entrepreneurs and working professional. As a social networking portal, it enables users to network, share content and have open discussions. One can easily join millions of friend networks, gang, upload and share their photos and videos, and write blogs.

The study zone offers information about education and careers in India and abroad. It provides users with information about various courses, colleges, universities, scholarships, educational loans etc. Study Zone is broadly categorized into fields such as Study India, Study Abroad, Online Tests, Campus TV, Knowledge Base, Exam Results, Campus Search and Careers. This makes it easier for the students to easily access the information they require.

Another interesting aspect is Cafe Bharat, which has extensive movie content and is available in six languages. The GenX zone caters to the next generation and it has exclusive sections for both boys and girls. It also powers Game zone and Live Radio, which features nearly 130 stations in eight regional languages. Other services offered by BharatStudent include classifieds, greetings, shopping, astrology and cricket.

4). What sets it apart from other social networking sites?
a). BharatStudent is more than a mere social networking platform. We offer a wide spectrum of services and comprehensive solutions that a young Indians are looking for in this day and age. Our online platform brings efficiency and a close sense of community in the minds of Indian students, who are scattered all around the world.

With the rise in our popularity, we have constantly updated and improvised our services, gauging the requirement of the youth. We keep adding features that the youth is looking for, like the Live Radio, which was recently added and gained immense popularity.

5). What are the features of BharatStudent that makes it popular amongst the young Indians?
a). As mentioned earlier, BharatStudent is a complete social networking site with unified services like sharing files, friends updates, latest updates of the events & tweets of celebs, gossips, event videos, study zones, girls corner, games zone, career zone and much more. Plus it's a first-of-its-kind multi-lingual site. It is a rare combination of features and services, which is difficult to find in the other social networking sites that are popular today.

We also have Globe7 connect, which enables you to chat live and make free PC-PC or Pc-Phone calls to registered BharatStudent members. Every member earn credits, which are awarded for almost all the activities, and these credits can then be redeemed to make free national or international calls.

6). Currently, it ranks third in terms of popularity after Facebook and Orkut. What's your vision for future?
a). Yes, we are currently ranked at number three. While we agree that twitter and LinkedIn are getting popular in India, we strongly believe that BharatStudent is also doing well in some areas. We will get a clear picture with ComScore 2011 report.

But while Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and LinkedIn are all foreign companies, the fact that BharatStudent is an Indian company definitely adds to its charm.

Source: CHIP Magazine December 2010

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