OpenAI launched its much-anticipated GPT Store on Wednesday, offering its customizable AI chatbots to ChatGPT Plus, Enterprise, and Team users. The GPT Store is Sam Altman’s biggest consumer product launch since ChatGPT, and it aims to make AI more practical and accessible.
“Today, we’re starting to roll out the GPT Store,” said an OpenAI blog post. The company will launch a revenue sharing program before April 2024, and “US builders will be paid based on user engagement with their GPTs.”
The GPT Store was announced over two months ago at OpenAI’s DevDay, where Sam Altman stood on stage describing his vision of a future where AI agents help us navigate our lives. Building a GPT is simple and requires no knowledge of computer programming. They’re meant for regular people to interact with AI, and you can customize them to help you with just about anything. For example, DesignerGPT will build out a website just by talking to it. ChatGPT Plus subscribers have built millions of GPTs in the last couple of months, and the GPT Store will feature a leaderboard of the most popular chatbots. The GPT Store is not yet available to free-tier users.
Leading up to the GPT Store’s launch, Chris Frantz, the founder of an email-centric startup Loops, got an email that his personal GPT was about to go live. Frantz’s company is part of Y Combinator, an incubator for startups once led by Sam Altman. Frantz wants to see more commitment from OpenAI in making these neat chatbots into a truly useful product.
“If it’s just a catalog of GPTs, then it doesn’t actually increase the functionality. That doesn’t show the kind of commitment that I think they need to make,” said Frantz in a call with Gizmodo last week. “If they continue to iterate on features for GPTs such as buttons, making sharing easier, adding revenue, or any of the things folks have been asking for, then I’ll see it as a real commitment.”
The launch of the store was delayed into 2024 due to the November firing and rehiring of Sam Altman (a blowup that remains largely unexplained). As OpenAI creates a marketplace for AI products, there’s a looming question about how effective GPTs will really be. OpenAI first tried building custom applications of ChatGPT with plugins, but that venture failed and is being phased out. There’s also fear that OpenAI will become a gatekeeper, much like Google and Apple have done with their app stores, as Sam Altman has been known to take out AI startups in the past.
Researchers have expressed concern that OpenAI’s GPTs have security risks because they can easily be copied; GPTs will spit out the information about how they were built. Some GPTs have already been copied, according to The Register, and that raises a question about how these will be monetized.
OpenAI’s Head of Developer Relations, Logan Kilpatrick, told followers in a tweet, “Don’t include information you do not want the user to know,” noting that anything you put in a GPT can come back out. It doesn’t address the central question around intellectual property and GPTs.