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OpenAI To Show Content & Links In Response To Queries

OpenAI content deal puts ChatGPT on path to showing website content & links in response to user queries. Could be good news for publishers

ChatGPT takes step toward becoming a search engine

OpenAI content deal will enhance ChatGPT with the ability to show real-time content with links in response to queries. OpenAI quietly took steps to gaining more search engine type functionality as part of a content licensing deal that may have positive implications for publishers and SEO.

Content Licensing Deal

OpenAI agreed to content licensing with the Financial Times, a global news organization with offices in London, New York, across continental Europe and Asia.

Content licensing deals between AI organizations and publishers are generally about getting access to high quality training data. The training data is then used by language models to learn connections between words and concepts. This deal goes far beyond that use.

ChatGPT Will Show Direct Quotes With Attribution

What makes this content licensing deal between The Financial Times and OpenAI is that there is a reference to giving attribution to content within ChatGPT.

The announced licensing deal explicitly mentions the use of the licensed content so that ChatGPT could directly quote it and provide links to the licensed content.

Further, the licensing deal is intended to help improve ChatGPT’s “usefulness”, which is vague and can mean many things, but it takes on a slightly different meaning when used in the context of attributed answers.

The Financial Times agreement states that the licensing deal is for use in ChatGPT when it provides “attributed content” which is content with an attribution, commonly a link to where the content appeared.

This is the part of the announcement that references attributed content:

“The Financial Times today announced a strategic partnership and licensing agreement with OpenAI, a leader in artificial intelligence research and deployment, to enhance ChatGPT with attributed content, help improve its models’ usefulness by incorporating FT journalism, and collaborate on developing new AI products and features for FT readers. “

And this is the part of the announcement that mentions ChatGPT offering users attributed quotes and links:

“Through the partnership, ChatGPT users will be able to see select attributed summaries, quotes and links to FT journalism in response to relevant queries.”

The Financial Times Group CEO was even more explicit about OpenAI’s intention to show content and links in ChatGPT:

“This is an important agreement in a number of respects,” said FT Group CEO John Ridding. “It recognises the value of our award-winning journalism and will give us early insights into how content is surfaced through AI. …this partnership will help keep us at the forefront of developments in how people access and use information.

OpenAI understands the importance of transparency, attribution, and compensation…”

Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI directly referenced showing real-time news content in ChatGPT but more important he referenced OpenAI exploring new ways to show content to its user base.

Lastly, the COO stated that they embraced disruption, which means innovation that creates a new industry or paradigm, usually at the expense of an older one, like search engines.

Lightcap is quoted:

“We have always embraced new technologies and disruption, and we’ll continue to operate with both curiosity and vigilance as we navigate this next wave of change.”

Showing direct quotes of Financial Times content with links to that content is very similar to how search engines work. This is a big change to how ChatGPT works and could be a sign of where ChatGPT is going in the future, a functionality that incorporates online content with links to that content.

Something Else That Is Possibly Related

Someone on Twitter recently noticed a change that is related to “search” in relation to ChatGPT.

This change involves an SSL security certificate that was added for a subdomain of is a domain name that was snapped up by someone to capitalize on the 2022 announcement of ChatGPT by OpenAI. OpenAI eventually acquired the domain and it’s been redirecting to ChatGPT.

The change that was noticed is to the subdomain:

This is a screenshot of the tweet:

Screenshot of SSL logs for

Big News For SEO and Publishers

This is significant news for publishers and search marketers ChatGPT will become a source of valuable traffic if OpenAI takes ChatGPT in the direction of providing attributed summaries and direct quotes.

How Can Publishers Get Traffic From ChatGPT?

Questions remain about attributed quotes with links in response to relevant queries. Here are X unknowns about ChatGPT attributed links.

  • Does this mean that only licensed content will be shown and linked to in ChatGPT?
  • Will ChatGPT incorporate and use most web data without licensing deals in the same way that search engines do?
  • OpenAI may incorporate an Opt-In model where publishers can use a notation in Robots.txt or in meta data to opt-in to receiving traffic from ChatGPT.
  • Would you opt into receiving traffic from ChatGPT in exchange for allowing your content to be used for training?
  • How would SEOs and publisher’s equation on ChatGPT change if their competitors are all receiving traffic from ChatGPT?

Read the original announcement:

Financial Times announces strategic partnership with OpenAI

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Photo For Everything

SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

OpenAI To Show Content & Links In Response To Queries

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