ChatGPT store that lets you make money from custom chatbots to open next week

ChatGPT now has more than 100 million users, according to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (AP)
ChatGPT now has more than 100 million users, according to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (AP)

ChatGPT creator OpenAI has opened an app store for software that uses its GPT artificial intelligence.

The GPT Store is a handy way to browse through ways this tech is being employed. And now’s a good time for a browse, before it gets jam-packed with more questionable takes make by the AI evangelist crowd.

There’s just one piece of bad news. You need a ChatGPT Plus subscription to access the GPT Store’s wares. This costs $20 a month, equivalent to just under £16 by today’s exchange rate.

Some notable examples of GPTs, which is what OpenAI calls these “custom versions of ChatGPT”, include AllTrails, Consensus and Ai PDF.

You may have already come across AllTrails, as its app has been around since 2010 and it won Apple’s 2023 iPhone app of the year. Its GPT helps you work out hike, bike and run routes

Consensus looks through millions of scientific research papers for questions you might ask. Its maker calls this instance of ChatGPT “your AI research assistant.” You should probably check it hasn’t made stuff up before handing in an essay made with Consensus’s help, but it does claim to provide “accurate citations.”

Four of the top six “trending” slots on the GPT Store are these kind of research assistants, which may be used by students to cut down on work.

Similarly, Ai PDF can be used to search through piles of PDFs for specific words or terms, and could be a huge time-saver for some folks.

The launch comes more than a year after the public got their hands on the company’s conversational bot, ChatGPT. The AI helper is used by more than 100 million users a week, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman revealed at the event.

For its next act, the company is embracing the hottest new trend in artificial intelligence: custom chatbots. Rival AI firms like Character.AI already allow users to create and share AI personas, including bots based on real and fictional people, in just a few simple steps. Facebook owner Meta is also promising to offer a similar feature after recently announcing chatbots based on celebs.

OpenAI was originally supposed to launch its chatbot marketplace in November. The delay may have been caused by the leadership turmoil at the firm in December when Mr Altman was briefly ousted only to return at the demand of staff.

Banning dodgy chatbots

Compared with some of the outlandish bots available on Character.AI, OpenAI appears to be playing it safe. Users won’t be able to create bots with adult themes, and OpenAI says it will actively block those who try to scam people or spew hateful content.

In essence, the company will let paying customers build tailor-made ChatGPTs that can offer help with specific tasks, either in the office or at home. For instance, OpenAI says you could make a bot that can teach you how to play a boardgame, help your kids with maths or design stickers.

The neutered approach is hardly a surprise when you consider the strict content moderation safeguards built into the firm’s main AI tools. ChatGPT, for example, has been accused of bias for refusing to respond to certain prompts relating to religious or divisive political figures, such as Donald Trump and the Prophet Muhammad.

How to build a custom GPT

Those paying for the premium version of ChatGPT can access the new GPT Builder as part of their subscription.

The tool lets you develop and modify chatbots by typing in a set of instructions, after which it will generate your custom GPT. You can then play around with the saved bot in a preview pane by asking it questions and checking its responses.

When you’re satisfied with how it works, you can publish and share the bot publicly.

How will the GPT store work?

OpenAI's GPT Store will feature bots by verified builders. Much like the App Store, users will be able to discover custom GPTs on the marketplace by searching for them or browsing specific categories or a chart.

In the coming months, builders will also be able to earn money based on how many people use their GPT. There’s currently no word on how much OpenAI will pay out to developers, or what the revenue split will look like.

More advanced tinkerers can even use OpenAI’s software toolkit, known as an API, to connect their GPTs to external sources, such as an email account or a database. Businesses will be able to start using the custom GPT builder on Wednesday November 8. Meanwhile, OpenAI’s partners Canva and Zapier have already created their own bots for others to use.

In terms of privacy, public chats with GPTs aren’t shared with their creators – although developers can choose to share data with OpenAI to help improve and train the firm’s AI models.

“We believe the most incredible GPTs will come from builders in the community,” the company said in a blog post.