Consumer Brands Should Consider ChatGPT Plugins

Geoff Livingston
4 min readAug 25, 2023
Image generated on Midjourney.

Brands alarmed about Open AI scraping their content and using it without attribution may want to consider ChatGPT plugins. Companies can brand their content more effectively in ChatGPT via the plugin store.

Plugins use APIs to provide callbacks to containerized content and applications. This ensures proprietary content gets served within a branded environment and provides the opportunity for account-based prosumer apps to generate new customers.

This should be of interest to a variety of organizations, including:

  • Content provider services (OpenAI, Expedia, etc., are already on)
  • Associations and nonprofits engaged in advocacy and information dissemination (Wikipedia and the National Abortion Federation)
  • Government organizations like the CDC (for example, there is a NASA photo explorer)

Is Building a PlugIn Worth It?

We discussed ChatGPT plugins at 34:00 during the most recent No Brainer Podcast.

Like any media opportunity, the question is how valuable is a ChatGPT Plugin. Plugins are only available to Plus users.

We know there are 170 million ChatGPT users a month as of last Spring, but how many of them are Plus subscribers? The truth is no one knows. Open AI is not a public company and does not have to disclose its subscriber numbers. But we can make an educated guess.

The freemium model is a bit of a funnel. Average conversion rates within the industry are between 1–10% in the industry. Certainly, there are millions of users, and given how much better GPT 4.0 is and the need for private communications, one can guess the conversion rate is higher for GPT Plus.

Plugin modelsare branded, and that certainly benefits the bold, and first movers who generate adoption. Right now, there are still only 1,000+ apps in the plugin store currently. Many of them are small apps, graph makers, and design feeds. In fact, content provider pools are relatively small and limited in number.

If you have free content, you want to provide it to the world, AND you are an early adopter of tech, then this is probably an ideal venue to establish leadership.

Or have your content scraped for free and most likely without credit. And what happens when ChatGPT opens up the freemium version to plugins? If OpenAI ever does that, the plugin market becomes imminently more valuable. And you will be playing catchup.

Risks

Image created on Midjourney.

Creating a plugin does have a significant wait list. Building a plugin does take development dollars and resources, so this is not a project to take with air of naivety.

The risks are several, one already mentioned. Does Open AI continue to limit access, or is there another way people can get access to the plugins? Currently, OpenAI uses the funding from Plus to help pay for the extra API calls. Can a company pay for calls made on its app and open up its plugin at some point?

Of course, OpenAI’s longevity with ChatGPT has to be considered. As we discussed, stopping someone with such an early-moving advantage is tough. I think ChatGPT is a safe bet for the foreseeable future.

But if they are displaced, is this a wasted investment? I don’t think so. Whoever is the long-term winner in the LLM marketplace will likely offer some branded promotion, like a plugin or application.

What about usage?

Build it, and they will come? No, you have to market your plugin. You have to make it a success. This is no different than a mobile app or any other kind of new media. You have to make your users and potential customers aware of the media.

Conclusion

Image created on Midjourney.

Moving forward, ChatGPT plugins are a natural move for someone who wants to do more with AI for their consumer audiences, is willing to market their plugin, and wants to skip the pain of being later in the adoption cycle.

Since this is the only current way to brand content on the platform, companies and organizations that have a tech-savvy audience may as well take advantage of the ChatGPT plugin platform.

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