Started about two and half years ago, Bestho is a Bangladeshi social interaction driven crowd sourced content platform. It is hard to explain Bestho in few words because it is combination of a host of interesting features. Let’s run through all of its features. Beshto is a social content platform: you can write short and long posts, share jokes, ideas, and everything. It is a knowledge hub like Quora: you can ask and answer questions. It is a credibility journal as well: you can rate, up and down vote any content on Bestho. In what order content shows on home page depends on this credibility rating. Top of that, this also serves as an incentive mechanism for content creators for creating high quality content. Over the time it defines the power and credibility of a user.
Once asked about why Bestho is critical as a venture, Fahim Mashoor, one of the founders of Beshto and also founder of BDjobs, comes up with a rather obvious answer: “there is a serious dearth of Bengali content on internet. Almost every space is open and there is almost no serious initiative to solve this problem. Bestho aims to fix this problem.”
There is a large Bengali language user base online. By population, Bangla is the 4th largest language in the world. Compare to that, available content for this population is not even close to demand in market. There are opportunities to generate and feed and monetize Bengali content. But most of the efforts are meager. Bestho is better positioned here. Few reasons: generating content is difficult and media and one way platforms can’t do much here. Bestho, since it is a social platform, can generate varieties of content at a good pace with strong distribution system in place.
There is a serious dearth of Bengali content on internet. Almost every space is open and there are not that many initiatives to solve this problem. Bestho aims to fix this problem.
“Bestho is evolving fast. So far, it is a crowd sourced platform with built-in social advantage,” says Fahim Mashoor, and “we want to make it a home for people who want to share ideas, thoughts, and almost anything in Bangla. We have serious features like Q&A and also light features like jokes, ideas, and thoughts. You can share almost anything.”
Past, Present and the Future
Bestho originally started as a game development company. “We developed few games for iOS platform, says Fahim Mashroor, “but later on we morphed it into social interaction driven content platform. Now it is one of the leading platforms for Bangla content”.
Bestho has been seeing an extraordinary growth so far. The company has a team of 12 people who work round the clock to make the platform better and more engaging. “We wanted to create a content platform driven by social interaction, says Fahim Mashoor, it is not social network but it is social interaction driven. Bestho is a very open and public platform.”
Over the time Bestho aims to become a hub for Bengali content, all generated by users, and in a more social way. Content format might change, there could be multimedia content and new content genre but ultimately it aims to stay with content.
“There is no one size fit example for us,” says Fahim Mashroor, “we are partly like Wikipedia but Wikipedia does not have social interaction thing, we are partly like twitter but we allow short and long both form of contents, we are partly like Quora but we also allow other contents along with Q&A.”
The common money machine for almost all online content platforms is advertisement. “At Bestho, we aim for similar model,” says Fahim Mashroor, “but we would go for more of contextual advertisements. Top of that, there are few other features that we want to test over the time as a means for earning revenue like instant Q&A, and feedback. You need answer or public feedback or opinion on a particular idea or topic, you could put it on Bestho and we could try to give it extra visibility to get fast response. We may charge a small fee for this and share the revenue with content creators for that particular Q&A or feedback.”
There is no one size fit example for Beshto. We are partly like Wikipedia but Wikipedia does not have social interaction thing, we are partly like twitter but we allow short and long both form of contents, we are partly like Quora but we also allow other contents along with Q&A.
These are all very common money making ideas for a content platform like Bestho but there is more to it. As we all know by now, content is king. Once you have built a platform that has a continuous stream of content and users, you can easily monetize it and there should not be lack of options to do so. For that Bestho just need a little more time.
Rain and water
Beshto is still getting started. Like all other early stage tech startups it has its own problems. Few of the problems are common: adaptation and technological problem. It is still difficult to write Bengali online. There is no Bengali mobile keyboard; it also applies for laptop and all other devices. For writing anything in Bengali you either need to install a keyboard or application that makes the Bengali writing experience difficult for many people.
On the other hand, writing in Bengali and contributing to a discussion somewhere other than a social network like facebook is yet to become popular. This space will take time to mature. We will also need time to have more serious internet users in this part of the world. However, Bestho team believes these are short term problems and things will start moving faster soon. And future is better when you believe in it.
Note: Interview by Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Ibrahim Mahbub, Edited by Ruhul Kader