Proposing a Freemium Model: Empowering Developers to Explore ChatGPT API

Dear OpenAI Team,

I am a developer and have been experimenting with the ChatGPT API for a project I’m working on. I appreciate the hard work and resources it has taken to develop, maintain, and deliver such a sophisticated service. However, I’d like to propose a suggestion regarding the current pricing model.

From a developer’s perspective, the initial stages of a project often involve a lot of experimentation, testing, and iteration. We explore different ideas and tools, looking for the best fit for our needs. And during this stage, it can be hard to justify the cost of API usage, especially when it’s still uncertain whether the tool will meet the needs of the project.

In light of this, I propose the adoption of a freemium model for the ChatGPT API. This could involve offering a certain number of free API calls per month, before the standard pricing kicks in. This would give developers like me an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the tool and see its potential, before committing to API usage costs.

I believe that this model could also benefit OpenAI in the long run. By lowering the barrier to entry, you might attract more developers to try out the ChatGPT API. Once they see its capabilities and realize its value, they are likely to be more willing to pay for usage.

Of course, I understand that implementing such a model would involve careful consideration of various factors, such as business objectives, operational costs, and the competitive landscape. However, I hope you will consider this suggestion, as I believe it could be mutually beneficial.

I look forward to any thoughts or feedback on this proposal. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,
Sassan Haradji

P.S. Yes I explained my issue to ChatGPT 4 and asked it to write this for me :slight_smile:

As a moderator I changed the title, it was just too long.


My response to this is that you can get roughly 1M gpt-4 tokens or 30M gpt-3.5-turbo tokens for $50, that’s a pretty low barrier to entry for developers.

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You’re right, $50 for 1M GPT-4 tokens or 30M GPT-3.5-turbo tokens is indeed a low barrier for many developers. But the irony here is that it’s an even smaller amount for OpenAI. So, why not consider absorbing this cost to encourage innovation, much like other tech giants have done with free tier and freemium plans?

I mean, if $50 is considered “cheap” for developers, it must be even “cheaper” for OpenAI. A gesture like this could foster creativity, encourage people to build new products, and perhaps lead to more profitable collaborations down the line.

After all, Cloudflare, AWS and Google Cloud didn’t just settle on the reasoning that “$50 is low.” They went a step further, breaking down barriers, democratizing access, and building thriving communities. OpenAI has an opportunity to do the same, and it’s as easy as recognizing that what’s ‘low’ for us might be even ‘lower’ for them.

In my opinion, a similar approach from OpenAI would not only align with the innovative spirit of the tech community but would also potentially lead to a more diverse and vibrant ecosystem built on top of OpenAI’s platforms. After all, sometimes the best ideas come from the most unexpected places, and reducing barriers to entry can only help in discovering them.

First of all, I would love it if this were free to develop with as I came up with a product but understand that a small shop / single developer isn’t the target for OpenAI. Microsoft and Adobe and the like are the targets for them. Now on to the costs.

Cloudflare, AWS and Google are multi-billion dollar revenue companies with their primary income not coming from AI or even their cloud services. OpenAI has GPT and a LOT of competitors. They need to make some money just to keep the doors open. I can’t remember off the top of my head but it’s in the negative millions of dollars a year not positive billions per year.

Right now there are a lot of us ‘developers’ out there trying their had at making some money or just learning about AI technologies. So let use your $50 / month. Say 10,000 developers using the API (not ChatGPT) with a $50 monthly credit. That’s $500,000. Not such a little sum for OpenAI who are currently losing money. Now think, 10,000 developers is probably a pretty small number. I’m guessing it is a little bit higher than that.
I came into this knowing how to write code but I knew nothing about AI, prompt writing and I had never really used JSON for anything other than a config file here and there. I’ve been spending roughly $15 a month learning how to get this tool and the different endpoints to do what I want. Now I’ve just got to scale up my design to where I want it to be.
If I can do that for $15 a month I imagine a team of developers that know what they are doing and have a plan could manage a lot better and take the cost of the API usage as the cost of development.
Just my 2 cents…

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They used to grant $5-20 of free credit which I’d consider a great “free tier” to learn with.
3.5 turbo is so ridiculously cheap that I doubt it covers the compute cost.

Whilst a free tier would be generous, I doubt they need to do it right now. There is still a large waitlist for GPT4 and they probably struggle to deploy enough hardware quick enough.

is a few $ that much of an ask?