How AI Chatbots Change the Competitive Landscape for Developers


TL;DR Breakdown

  • Stack Overflow and Chegg experience significant traffic drops due to the popularity of ChatGPT.
  • ChatGPT offers quick and efficient solutions for programmers, reducing the need for traditional online forums.
  • Chegg introduces its AI companion, CheggMate, to compete with ChatGPT and other emerging AI tools.

Stack Overflow, the well-known question-and-answer forum for programmers, has witnessed a significant decrease in traffic in recent months, potentially due to the growing popularity of the AI chatbot ChatGPT. According to SimilarWeb, Stack Overflow’s traffic has been declining every month since the beginning of 2022, with an average drop of 6%. 

More efficient coding assistance with ChatGPT

In March, there was a 13.9% decrease in traffic compared to February, followed by a further 17.7% drop in April compared to March. This trend suggests that developers are turning to ChatGPT for coding assistance instead of relying on traditional forums like Stack Overflow.

SimilarWeb’s senior insights manager, David Carr, highlights that ChatGPT offers a quicker and more efficient way for programmers to get answers without engaging in the traditional community-driven debate on platforms like Stack Overflow. While ChatGPT’s responses may not always be precisely what developers need, they often provide a close enough solution that can be modified to fit their requirements. The ease and speed of getting answers from ChatGPT might be contributing to the decline in Stack Overflow’s traffic.

Stack Overflow’s director of communications, Matt Trocchio, confirmed that ChatGPT has had an impact on their website’s traffic, along with many other sites. However, Stack Overflow sees this as an opportunity to leverage AI and enhance their community engagement. They are actively working on features and applications that utilize AI, aiming to increase engagement within their public community and add value to their SaaS product, Stack Overflow for Teams.

The decline in traffic is not limited to Stack Overflow alone. Online learning platform Chegg, which connects students with academic assistance, has also experienced a decrease in new signups. Students are increasingly turning to ChatGPT for immediate answers to their homework questions instead of waiting for human responses on Chegg. Chegg’s CEO, Dan Rosensweig, attributes the drop in new customer growth rate to the rising interest in ChatGPT since March.

ChatGPT’s high occurrence of incorrect answers

The impact of ChatGPT on traditional forums and educational platforms is a clear indication of the growing reliance on AI-powered chatbots for coding and academic help. However, there are concerns surrounding the accuracy of ChatGPT’s coding advice. Stack Overflow temporarily banned the posting of ChatGPT-generated content on their site due to the high occurrence of incorrect answers. Similar concerns exist regarding code generation by GitHub’s CoPilot, which also relies on OpenAI’s language model.

While ChatGPT’s popularity continues to rise, its role in assisting programmers with code development and debugging is still under scrutiny. Companies like Amazon have cautioned their employees against inputting internal code into ChatGPT after instances of code output mimicking proprietary code were observed. Nevertheless, some companies, such as web3 avatar startup Genies, have reported increased productivity among employees using ChatGPT for code debugging.

GitHub’s growth and the changing developer landscape

The comparison between Stack Overflow, GitHub, and ChatGPT shows that while Stack Overflow’s traffic is declining, GitHub is experiencing growth. GitHub’s traffic increased by 26.4% year-over-year in March. This growth can be attributed to GitHub’s incorporation of OpenAI’s technologies, including CoPilot. CoPilot allows developers to have code snippets and functions written automatically, reducing the need for searching and copying from Stack Overflow.

The shift from relying on traditional forums like Stack Overflow to utilizing AI chatbots like ChatGPT signifies a change in the way developers seek information and assistance. Instead of engaging in debates and adapting community-driven answers, programmers are increasingly opting for the convenience and efficiency of prompt-based code generation. While concerns surrounding code quality and intellectual property persist, the transition away from traditional forums seems to have already occurred.

As AI models like ChatGPT continue to evolve and improve, their impact on traditional online forums and educational platforms is likely to grow.

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John Palmer

John Palmer is an enthusiastic crypto writer with an interest in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and technical analysis. With a focus on daily market analysis, his research helps traders and investors alike. His particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids his audience.

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