OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, is no longer poised to grow into the world’s most frequented website. Its traffic has notably declined for the first time.
According to preliminary data, worldwide desktop and mobile web traffic to ChatGPT’s website decreased by 9.7% from May to June. Consequently, Google remains unchallenged as the top trafficked website globally.
ChatGPT Hype Stabilizes
Unique visitor numbers to ChatGPT fell 5.7% worldwide, while user engagement, measured by time spent on the site, was also down by 8.5%.
A recent report revelas that despite the downswing in traffic, ChatGPT still attracts more global visitors than both Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, and Character.AI, a leading stand-alone artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot site.
Intriguingly, Character.AI saw a more severe decline in visitor numbers. Its global visits plummeted by 32% month-over-month, even though its traffic remains significantly higher than in June 2022.
Despite these reductions, it is evident that AI chatbots continue to command significant attention.
June marked a turning point for ChatGPT, with both traffic and engagement beginning to fall after months of surging growth. While ChatGPT’s expansion within the United States was never as striking on a global scale, it too began to dwindle in June.
Simultaneously, visitor engagement with ChatGPT, as measured by minutes per visit, also decreased. In May alone, it dropped by 8.5%.
Although this decline could seem troubling, OpenAI’s management perspective is worth considering. Initially, ChatGPT was launched as a technology demonstration and serves mainly as a sales lead generator for OpenAI, making its technology available for embedding in other companies’ applications.
Eye-Watering AI Costs
The operating cost of the predominantly free service has been described as “eye-watering” by OpenAI’s CEO. Indeed, external estimates place it at around $700,000 per day.
“Most of this cost is based around the expensive servers they require,” said Dylan Patel, Chief Analyst at SemiAnalysis.
The core revenue from ChatGPT derives from subscriptions sold to users seeking access to the newest versions, like GPT-4, while free users receive older versions. However, the sustainability of this model remains a matter of debate, especially since Bing offers GPT-4 as a free component.
OpenAI’s more customizable software versions also cater to other technology companies and corporate enterprises via API access. Despite the general traffic drop, visits to the platform.openai.com developer’s website rose by 3.1% from May to June.
The concurrent decrease in interest in both ChatGPT and its primary competitor, Character.AI, signals a potential stabilization in the AI chatbot novelty. Hence, AI chatbots must now prove their inherent value, rather than riding the wave of their initial novelty.
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