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ChatGPT Traffic Drops as Interest for Artificial Intelligence Stabilizes

3 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • OpenAI's chatbot, ChatGPT, sees a 9.7% decline in web traffic from May to June, with Google retaining the top spot globally.
  • Despite the decline, ChatGPT still attracts more global visitors than Bing and Character.AI, even as user engagement drops 8.5%.
  • OpenAI's operating cost is around $700,000 per day, with revenue mainly from subscriptions and API access to tech companies.
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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.

AI Models Compared
AI Models Compared. Source: SimilarWeb

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%.

Time Spent on ChatGPT
Time Spent on ChatGPT. Source: SimilarWeb

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 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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Bary Rahma
Bary Rahman, a talented journalist, graduated from New York University with a degree in Journalism. Skilled in SEO, she has worked with CNN, showcasing her investigative skills and storytelling abilities. In addition to her journalistic accomplishments, Bary has contributed her expertise as a content writer for Binance, crafting insightful articles on the dynamic crypto industry. Her unique fusion of journalism and SEO makes her a versatile and highly respected figure in the industry.