According to data from website traffic monitoring platform SimilarWeb, Naspers-owned developer knowledge-sharing platform Stack Overflow has seen its traffic plummet since the launch of OpenAI’s conversation AI tool ChatGPT.
SimilarWeb’s data shows that StackOverflow has dropped almost 30 positions in the “Programming and Developer Software” websites category, falling from the 202nd position in October 2022 to 229th by the end of December 2022. This is StackOverflow’s lowest ranking in that category since October 2019.
In terms of absolute website visits, StackOverflow has seen its numbers drop from almost 279 million in November 2022 to 247 million by the end of December 2022, an almost 12% decrease in just a month.
In December, a few weeks after the launch of ChatGPT, StackOverflow announced that it had banned the use of the AI tool’s generated as answers on the platform, citing concerns about the accuracy of such answers.
“…because the average rate of getting correct answers from ChatGPT is too low, the posting of answers created by ChatGPT is substantially harmful to the site and to users who are asking or looking for correct answers,” Stack Overflow said in a statement.
Stack Overflow went on to state that because of the popularity of the ChatGPT tool, a lot of users are posting these code snippets which then puts a lot of pressure on its volunteer-based quality curation infrastructure. To reduce the influx of these ChatGPT responses, it took the decision to temporarily ban the use of ChatGPT to create posts with bans being imposed on users who did not adhere to the rule.
With OpenAI yesterday announcing that it had updated ChatGPT with “improved factuality and mathematical capabilities”, things are not looking up for StackOverflow, which makes the majority of its revenue from ads running on the website.
Naspers-owned Prosus acquired Stack Overflow in June 2021 for $1.8 billion, a deal both companies described as mutually beneficial. According to Naspers’ most recent financial results, the platform grew revenue by 33% in the first half of 2022, to $45 million.