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AI Chatbot ChatGPT Witnesses Unprecedented Traffic Decline in June

The incredibly popular AI application, ChatGPT, experiences its first traffic and unique visitor dip since its launch.

Image of OpenAI's website
Image of OpenAI's website

The Decline in User Traffic: An Unexpected Turn

Analytics firm, Similarweb, reported a unique trend in June concerning ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that took the tech world by storm since its launch in November. For the first time, both monthly traffic to its website and the number of unique visitors experienced a decline. In comparison to May, June saw a 9.7% decrease in worldwide desktop and mobile traffic to the ChatGPT website, while unique visitors experienced a drop of 5.7%. Visitor engagement on the website also reduced, with the average time spent on the site down by 8.5%.

ChatGPT's Lightning-fast Success and Challenges

ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI, kick-started a wave of AI utilization in day-to-day tasks ranging from writing to coding. By January, just two months after its launch, it had amassed 100 million monthly active users. With over 1.5 billion monthly visits, it ranks as one of the world's top 20 websites and has far outdone Bing, Microsoft's search engine that also uses OpenAI's technology.

However, rapid growth isn't without its problems. Sarah Hindlian-Bowler, the head of Technology Research Americas at Macquarie, noted, "The extraordinarily heavy infrastructure would result in less accuracy. It's a combination of having to change what the model is trained on and having to deal with the potential implications of regulation."

Rival Chatbots and Other Factors Impacting Traffic

The past few months have seen the rise of ChatGPT competitors, including Google's Bard chatbot. Bing, Microsoft's search engine, also offers a free chatbot powered by OpenAI. The launch of the ChatGPT app on the iOS system in May may have redirected some traffic from its website. Factors like the summer break for schools also likely impacted usage as fewer students sought homework assistance online.

A Beneficial Slowdown for ChatGPT?

Despite the slowdown, it could potentially help control the running costs of ChatGPT. OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, described the cost of running the services as "eye-watering". ChatGPT offers a premium subscription at $20 a month for access to OpenAI's more advanced model, GPT-4, which has seen 1.5 million sign-ups according to YipitData.

ChatGPT's Revenue Generation and OpenAI's Future Plans

OpenAI has projected a revenue of $200 million this year. Apart from ChatGPT, OpenAI generates income by selling API access to its AI models to developers and enterprises, directly and through a partnership with Microsoft which invested over $10 billion in the company.