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CNET pushed reporters to be more favorable to advertisers, staffers say

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CNET pushed reporters to be more favorable to advertisers, staffers say

Last October, CNET’s parent company, Red Ventures, held a cross-department meeting to discuss the AI writing software it had been building for months. The tool had been in testing internally ahead of public use on CNET, and Red Ventures’ early results revealed several potential issues.

The AI system was always faster than human writers at generating stories, the company found, but editing its work took much longer than editing a real staffer’s copy. The tool also had a tendency to write sentences that sounded plausible but were incorrect, and it was known to plagiarize language from the sources it was trained on. 

Red Ventures executives laid out all of these issues at the meeting and then made a fateful decision: CNET began publishing AI-generated stories anyway. 

“They were well aware of the fact that the AI plagiarized and hallucinated,” a person who attended the meeting recalls. (Artificial intelligence tools have a tendency to insert false information into responses, which are sometimes called “hallucinations.”) “One of the things they were focused on when they developed the program was reducing plagiarism. I suppose that didn’t work out so well.”

Of the 77 articles published on CNET using the AI tool since it launched, more than half have had corrections appended to them, some lengthy and substantial, after use of the tool was revealed by Futurism. CNET editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo, EVP of content and audience Lindsey Turrentine, and Red Ventures vice president of content Lance Davis defended the tool in an internal meeting with staff in January but said the company would pause the use of the tool “for now.” In a follow-up blog post, Guglielmo said publishing using the AI software was on hold until CNET was confident it could “prevent both human and AI errors,” but she was clear that this wasn’t the end of AI tools in the newsroom.

“Expect CNET to continue exploring and testing how AI can be used to help our teams as they go about their work testing, researching and crafting the unbiased advice and fact-based reporting we’re known for,” Guglielmo wrote.

“Everyone at CNET is more afraid of Red Ventures than they are of AI.”

But the controversial use of an AI system to generate stories even in the face of known issues with plagiarism and accuracy is merely the most visible outcome of Red Ventures’ ownership of CNET. Under the ownership of Red Ventures, a private equity-backed marketing firm that’s bought up more than a dozen digital publishers since the mid-2010s, staff at the storied tech news outlet say they have been fighting to protect CNET’s editorial independence and rigor amid a push toward sponsored content and affiliate marketing by its new corporate owners. As one staffer told The Verge for a previous piece, “Everyone at CNET is more afraid of Red Ventures than they are of AI.”

Multiple former employees told The Verge of instances where CNET staff felt pressured to change stories and reviews due to Red Ventures’ business dealings with advertisers. The forceful pivot toward Red Ventures’ affiliate marketing-driven business model — which generates revenue when readers click links to sign up for credit cards or buy products — began clearly influencing editorial strategy, with former employees saying that revenue objectives have begun creeping into editorial conversations. 

Reporters, including on-camera video hosts, have been asked to create sponsored content, making staff uncomfortable with the increasingly blurry lines between editorial and sales. One person told The Verge that they were made aware of Red Ventures’ business relationship with a company whose product they were covering and that they felt pressured to change a review to be more favorable.

“I understood a supervisor to imply in conversation that how I proceeded with my review could impact my chances of promotion in the future,” they say. 

Red Ventures ignored an emailed list of questions from The Verge about its AI tool as well as CNET’s editorial independence and ethics, advertising, and staffing. The company instead offered to send a short statement about CNET’s editorial integrity but refused to provide it on the record attributable to anyone.

This apparent breakdown of the traditional barriers between editorial and advertising content is worlds away from CNET’s history, according to former staffers. Now more than 25 years old, the site has long been known for its thorough news coverage and comprehensive reviews program, which examines everything from laptops and phones to bookshelf speakers and home projectors. 

“[The reason I came to CNET] was the opportunity to be able to tell the truth no matter what,” a former staffer says. To them, working at CNET was different from other journalism jobs, where journalists can be honest but may need to self-edit. “You get to tell the truth [at other jobs], but a lot of times, you’re not allowed to say things that you really feel.” 

But the CNET operated by Red Ventures is a very different place than the CNET it acquired in 2020. CNET, along with other Red Ventures-owned publications, is loading up on cheap SEO-driven articles to game Google’s search algorithm and fill search results with content designed to deliver affiliate links to readers. As a result, CNET’s independent journalism and the people who produce it — the thing that once made CNET valuable and rank highly in search to begin with — feel that they are being pushed out in favor of whatever and whomever else makes Red Ventures the most money, according to multiple former employees. 

“When you’re [covering] products and not people, it’s really easy to be like, ‘This new Apple thing sucks.’ I just thought that was a refreshing change of pace to be able to say things as they are,” the former staffer says. “And that continued all the way until Red Ventures took over.”

After Red Ventures scooped up CNET for $500 million in 2020, CEO Ric Elias promised the outlet would be able to continue to be an independent publication known for its robust offering of reviews and in-the-weeds tech news coverage. CNET staff had nothing to worry about, Elias told The New York Times. There was a “nonnegotiable line” separating the journalism from the money, and CNET’s staff of tech journalists could call him on his personal cellphone if there were ever a problem.

“I told them, ‘There’s a red line,’ and they’re like, ‘OK, we’ll see,’” Elias said.

That skepticism now appears prescient. Former CNET staff say the guardrails that keep editorial content independent, like a divide between revenue teams and journalists, or a clear chain of command among leadership, were repeatedly breached after the Red Ventures acquisition. “Most of the time, [Guglielmo] seemed to just be relaying orders” from Red Ventures, a former staffer says. In turn, journalists were placed in difficult positions as they tried to fend off the encroaching influence of the business side. 

Former CNET staffers describe being asked to work on ads for companies that the outlet covers, including Volvo and home security company Arlo and having to push back against such requests from executives at the company. Three people told The Verge that they believe resistance to Red Ventures initiatives caused various CNET staffers to lose their jobs, with one saying that the pressure to be a “yes man” was a “collective experience” for some teams.

Multiple former CNET staffers point to the demise of the CNET Smart Home as an example of Red Ventures’ overreach. The Smart Home — a four-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Louisville, Kentucky, that the outlet had purchased in 2015 to test and produce videos on home products like robot vacuums and thermostats — had become something of a brand in and of itself. Since Red Ventures’ takeover, Smart Home staff repeatedly refused to work on sponsored content, saying it went against the integrity of their work. Readers look to tech reviewers for honest, unbiased assessments of companies’ products and services, and working on content that is paid for by these same companies can cast doubt on a reviewer’s ability to be independent.

“It’s a culture that if you disagree with them, they’re going to get rid of you and replace you with a zealot.”

In 2022, a Red Ventures executive named Marc McCollum stopped by the Smart Home for a short walk-through. McCollum, according to his LinkedIn profile, led the acquisition of CNET Media Group. A former staffer says he played a key role in the transition, with a focus on increasing profits.

Shortly after McCollum’s visit, teams working out of the Smart Home learned that the company was planning on selling the house, and people working at the house believed their jobs would be at risk if the space were sold. But McCollum indicated that the company may be able to keep the house if it secured a lucrative advertising deal with GE, which had expressed interest in using the Smart Home for a commercial, multiple former employees say.

Hoping to avoid layoffs, some CNET staff pitched in on the GE deal in early talks and planning, and Red Ventures inked a deal. But CNET editorial staffers refused to shoot the ad itself, and contractors were ultimately used to work on the commercial, a former staffer says.

The GE shoot was ultimately moved from the Smart Home to an off-site location due to space limitations at the house, a GE Appliances spokesperson who would only identify themselves as “Whitney” told The Verge via email. GE was not aware of Red Ventures’ plans to sell the house, “Whitney” added.

But by the time the GE ad was released in September, many staff on the Smart Home team had already left the company. Seeing the “writing on the wall” — that the house would soon be put up for sale — some people were able to land new roles, a former staffer says; others were laid off that summer. The house was put up for sale shortly after the GE ad anyway, eventually selling in December for $1.275 million, according to Zillow. 

“It’s a culture that if you disagree with them, they’re going to get rid of you and replace you with a zealot,” a former employee, who was laid off, says of Red Ventures. “Somebody that’s absolutely a true believer, [that] drinks the Kool-Aid.”

Former CNET staffers say their colleagues have also been pressured into appearing in ads for companies the outlet covers despite the murky ethics of using reporters in sponsored content. On-camera video hosts were uncomfortable with the idea of being in ads and pushed back against it, according to several former staffers. Using recognizable journalists for video content that’s paid for by advertisers can blur the lines and make it hard for viewers to tell what is and isn’t an ad. 

In one recent video, titled “Moen Unveils Innovative Smart Sprinkler Product at CES,” a CNET host takes viewers through the company’s booth at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, interviewing company representatives and testing products. The video is an ad, but the host doesn’t say that, and neither the video description nor title included a disclosure until recently. The only disclaimer was a small pop-up that YouTube inserts when an uploader has indicated there’s a paid promotion in a video, though CNET doesn’t actually specify what in the video is promoted. Moen did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the nature of the sponsorship or its labeling. After The Verge asked Red Ventures about the ad, a disclosure was silently added to the video’s description.

One of the key priorities for Red Ventures seems to be the company’s focus on affiliate links, which pepper its portfolio of sites like The Points Guy, Bankrate, and CreditCards.com. Over time, a focus on affiliate revenue has crept into CNET’s editorial decisions, causing frustration among staff.

In one meeting after the Red Ventures acquisition, a former employee says editorial staff were shown how much the company earned through affiliate categories like home furnishings with the suggestion they keep it in mind when producing future content. CNET staffers were also told that a separate commerce team would begin writing video descriptions that included affiliate links, which many people worried would suggest on-camera hosts were endorsing specific products.

“Red Ventures’ big mantra is that they help people make life’s most important decisions,” a former staffer says. “And yet all of their influence has been to get people to make decisions that are going to be the most profitable to Red Ventures.”

CNET staff say that the proximity to revenue made it harder to maintain the editorial standards

“It’s very demoralizing. It’s actually soul-crushing. All you want to do is your job and you’re being told, ‘Don’t cover this,’ because the revenue potential is not there,” another former staff member says.

Advertising is what keeps most digital media companies afloat, and affiliate marketing is common across the industry. (The Verge earns a commission from affiliate links, as do other Vox Media-owned outlets, like The Strategist.) But in many newsrooms, there is a strict separation between the people dealing with advertisers and the people producing the news. At The Verge, for example, editorial staff never work on ads, and reviews writers don’t know how much parent company Vox Media earns through specific affiliate marketing links.

But under Red Ventures, former CNET staff say that the proximity to revenue made it harder and harder to maintain the editorial standards promised to audiences. 

“I do believe that the journalists who are doing the work at CNET are extremely ethical. I think that they have a lot of integrity, I think they work really hard,” they say. “But I think that they are under a great deal of pressure to make money for Red Ventures. And that’s just never a good situation for journalists.”

Though the AI tool generating stories for CNET, Bankrate, and CreditCards.com was formally announced just weeks ago, Red Ventures’ “experiment” with enlisting artificial intelligence has been underway much longer. Like other publishers who’ve incorporated automated tools into their work, the Red Ventures proprietary AI software was sold to the newsroom as a way to more efficiently produce “the boring stuff” so writers could use their time instead and work on bigger projects. In actuality, enlisting artificial intelligence to write SEO bait accelerates the speed at which Red Ventures-owned websites can churn out search-optimized content loaded with affiliate links, cutting down the need for human writers — and the reporting they produce.

For Sarah Szczypinski, a former journalist on the CNET Money team who left the outlet in early 2022, the association with CNET in light of the AI-writing saga has been frustrating. Though Szczypinski quit many months before the AI-generated articles began appearing, people have started contacting her after the news broke, wondering if she, too, had used AI tools for her stories. Szczypinski maintains she wrote her stories on her own, without automation tools.

“The leadership team gave no thought to what these unilateral decisions would do to the people working there, especially the people who are journalists and need their readers to trust them,” Szczypinski told The Verge. “We still have lives to live and careers to forge. And we can’t do that with something as damaging as this hanging over our heads.”

In late January, Szczypinski contacted Red Ventures and CNET, asking to have her author page and bylines pulled. Her name has been scrubbed from dozens of articles, now replaced simply by “CNET Staff.”

Throughout the time Red Ventures has owned CNET, the outlet’s leadership has promised readers time and again that its journalism is as strong as ever. Even as Guglielmo, Turrentine, and Red Ventures executives dodged questions from readers, staff, and reporters about the AI system, they pointed to CNET’s track record built over decades as evidence of trustworthiness. Audiences trust CNET for tech news, reviews, and recommendations, they reasoned, so they can trust CNET for how to move forward with artificial intelligence.

But even the more public ways CNET has tried to elicit trust from its audience have been hollowed out by a relentless drive toward optimization and gaming the search algorithm at the expense of the very work that had made CNET valuable.

CNET’s public ethics policy has not been meaningfully updated in years —  it still lists CBS as its parent company — but last year, the publication added nearly a dozen links detailing exactly how it tests and vets products to a hyper-specific degree, with separate posts for how CNET reviews everything from credit cards and TVs to vacuums and more. One way of looking at these posts is to provide readers — and potential customers — with as much detail as possible about CNET’s methodology. 

But for Red Ventures, these articles are just more fodder to boost its bottom line: Google likes when publishers demonstrate “experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness,” and the search algorithm factors in articles like these when it ranks search results. Articles packed with words like “unbiased,” “credible,” and “thoroughly vetted” are great for Red Ventures’ SEO-heavy strategy.

After all, Google can’t tell if it’s true.

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16 Passive Income Side Gigs To Make More Money in 2024

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16 Passive Income Side Gigs To Make More Money in 2024

nortonrsx / iStock.com

In a recent article, Ramit Sethi shared his top 16 passive income ideas if you want to earn more money in 2024. These ideas range from investing in the stock market or real estate to starting a podcast.

Read More: How I Make $5,000 a Month in Passive Income Doing Just 10 Hours of Work a Year
Check Out: 6 Unusual Ways To Make Extra Money (That Actually Work)

If you’re looking for ways to boost your income this year, here’s what Sethi suggested — in no particular order — and how to make them work for you.

Ridofranz / Getty Images/iStockphotoRidofranz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ridofranz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Write and Publish eBooks

Writing a successful eBook requires knowing and understanding your audience and what they need.

Some audiences might look for how-to guides or self-help books, while others simply want a good story. Whatever the case may be, knowing is the first step to making this a lucrative side gig for you.

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about the topic or niche you’re writing about. That way, you can become an expert and build your own brand, thus increasing your reach and sales.

You can publish eBooks on platforms like Amazon.

For You: 30 Best Games That Pay Real Money in 2024
Trending Now: 26 Ways To Make $1,000 Fast — In a Week or Less

Sponsored: Owe the IRS $10K or more? Schedule a FREE consultation to see if you qualify for tax relief.

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blackCAT / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Creating Online Courses

If you’re skilled in a specific niche, you could create and sell courses related to it online. You’ll need to understand your audience and what they want. It also helps to be skilled at marketing and social media.

Sethi suggested creating a “learning journey,” which starts your audience on the path from complete novice to becoming experts themselves. Over time, yours could become the go-to course for people all over the world.

Try This: 10 Proven Ways To Get Paid for Amazon Reviews in 2023

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mixetto / Getty Images

Create Exclusive Membership Sites or Content Communities

For this one, you’ll need to create a platform or online presence where you can reach and connect with your ideal audience. From there, you can start building members-only sites that individuals must pay a small fee to access.

They get exclusive content, while you earn extra cash. Resources or information on those exclusive sites could include videos, forums, eBooks, and more.

FabrikaCr / Getty Images/iStockphotoFabrikaCr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

FabrikaCr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Start a Podcast

Do you have a great voice and something worth talking about? If so, you might want to start a podcast.

With a podcast, you can generate income through speaking and sharing what you know with your audience. To become successful takes time and a lot of commitment. You’ll need to regularly come up with episode ideas, record them, edit them and promote them.

But once you’re off the ground, you can build a loyal fanbase and make reliable income. You can increase your earnings potential by adding exclusive content to sell to your premium followers, as well as via advertisements and sponsorships.

AleksandarNakic / Getty ImagesAleksandarNakic / Getty Images

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing entails recommending products you believe in to your audience. You can do this in many different ways, such as through blogs, videos or social media platforms. Every time someone in your audience uses your referral link to buy a product, you’ll receive a commission.

Be authentic when using affiliate marketing, though. Make sure your audience knows about your partnerships and only recommend products you personally stand behind.

By doing this, you can build even more trust with your audience, while establishing a lucrative system for affiliate marketing.

Explore More: Get Paid To Listen to Music: 10 Proven Ways

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andresr / Getty Images

Sell Stock Videos and Photos

If you enjoy taking photos or making videos, then consider selling your creations on platforms like Adobe Stock and Shutterstock.

The competition can be tough, especially at first, so be persistent and only put out the highest quality of goods. Try to make everything a little bit your own, a little unique, so that it stands out.

Nattakorn Maneerat / Getty ImagesNattakorn Maneerat / Getty Images

Nattakorn Maneerat / Getty Images

Low-Yield Savings Accounts

A traditional savings account, or low-yield savings account, is a low-risk way of growing your money. It’s slow, yes, but steady. And if you contribute regularly to your account, you can boost your savings more quickly over time.

pressureUA / Getty ImagespressureUA / Getty Images

pressureUA / Getty Images

Make a YouTube Channel

Creating a YouTube channel is another way to general passive income. It takes a lot of time and persistence to get started, but it can be worth it in the end.

Start by deciding which niche, field, or topics you want to film or stream and stick with them. You can earn money from advertisements, affiliate marketing and sponsorships.

Discover More: 7 Creative Sources of Passive Income To Consider in 2024

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enigma_images / Getty Images

Dropshipping

Dropshipping involves selling goods you don’t currently have. You can do it through an online platform or store, like Etsy.

Every time a customer buys something you’re selling, their order goes to a third-party supplier that makes that item and ships it to them. All you need to do is maintain your online shop and market the products.

mtlapcevic / Getty Images/iStockphotomtlapcevic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

mtlapcevic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rent Out Your Things

If you have a lot of useful items that you don’t often use, such as power tools or bicycles, you can rent them out to others for a price. You can do this on platforms like PeerRenters or Fat Llama.

To get started, you’ll need to determine the price and list your item so others can find it.

sommart / iStock.comsommart / iStock.com

sommart / iStock.com

Use High-Yield Savings Accounts or CDs

High-yield savings accounts (HYSAs) are savings accounts with a higher than usual yield, or rate of return. As with traditional savings accounts, you can access your money at any time. The more you contribute to the account and the longer it remains there, the more money it can generate.

Certificates of deposits (CDs) are similar to HYSAs, but they often have an even higher yield. The trade-off is that your cash is wrapped up in the account until the CD matures, or the term is up.

Both options are low-risk and can help you build small amounts of passive side income.

Read Next: 10 Ways To Double Your Income With ChatGPT

natrot / Getty Images/iStockphotonatrot / Getty Images/iStockphoto

natrot / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Invest in Dividend Stocks

Investing in dividend stocks is riskier than HYSAs or CDs, but it can also have greater returns. With these, you buy shares of a specific company and receive a portion of that company’s earnings at regular intervals.

Choose companies with a good track record of dividend payouts and growth potential. Diversify your investments to minimize risk, too.

gopixa / Getty Images/iStockphotogopixa / Getty Images/iStockphoto

gopixa / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Get Into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

If you don’t want to purchase property yourself, you can still invest in REITs and generate passive income that way.

REITs let you invest in real estate without having to manage your properties yourself. They still generate income in the form of regular dividend payments, but they’re more liquid than buying property.

ArisSu / Getty ImagesArisSu / Getty Images

ArisSu / Getty Images

Use Money Market Accounts

A money market account is similar to a savings account, but it generally has a higher interest rate. In exchange, you may have to maintain a higher minimum balance or face more withdrawal limits or restrictions.

The good news is that these accounts are very low risk, making them a good option for building small amounts of passive income.

Discover More: I’m a Financial Advisor: These 5 Index Funds Are All You Really Need

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jetcityimage / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Purchase Bonds and Bond Index Funds

You can also generate money in the form of bonds and bond index funds.

A bond is essentially a loan that you give to a corporation or the government. In return, you receive steady interest payments.

With a bond index fund, you essentially give investors a set amount of cash that they use to invest in different bonds. These funds offer you more portfolio diversification and can reduce the overall risk.

Since bonds are generally less volatile than, say, stocks, they’re a good option for more conservative investors looking to earn money passively.

monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphotomonkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Buy Real Estate

If you don’t mind the process of buying, maintaining, and selling or renting out property, you can always get into real estate investing. You can flip homes or rent out buildings for a profit.

Do your due diligence before getting into real estate, though. Research different areas, current market trends, interest rates (unless you’re buying in cash) and property types to ensure you’re getting the best return on your investment.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Ramit Sethi: 16 Passive Income Side Gigs To Make More Money in 2024

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The 11+ Best Generative AI Tools To Help Improve Your Workflow in 2024

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The 11+ Best Generative AI Tools To Help Improve Your Workflow in 2024

Looking for the best generative AI tools? 

You’re not alone. Professionals everywhere are eager to tap into the potential of generative AI, recognizing its ability to streamline workflows, spark creativity, and boost productivity.

In this post, we’ll look at the 10 best generative AI tools available, exploring their features, capabilities, and how they can change your workflow forever.

Let’s dive in:

Let’s start with the general-use AI tools!

1. ChatGPT

chatgpt-best-generative-ai-tools

ChatGPT is the most popular all-in-one generative AI tool on the market. Designed by OpenAI, the high-tech chatbot can understand and generate human-like responses on various topics.

From writing and coding to solving math problems and giving relationship advice, ChatGPT has you covered on all fronts. It’s trained on over 570 GB of data (still expanding); it only needs one prompt to give you an in-depth, thorough answer.

One of ChatGPT’s greatest abilities is that it can remember past interactions. This allows it to give more refined responses by learning from your previous queries. You can also train the chatbot to adapt its style or tone according to your preferences. 

With the launch of GPT-4, the chatbot gained new features like AI image generation, access to the internet, and third-party plugins. All of this is available in the paid ChatGPT Plus plan, which currently costs $20 USD per month.

Key Features

  • Condense lengthy text into digestible summaries 
  • Debug code and auto-fix complex errors 
  • Eliminate language barriers with accurate text translation
  • Swiftly solve math problems of varying complexities

Pricing

ChatGPT is free to use. You can upgrade to ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month to access the newer GPT-4 model and other cool features.


2. Gemini

gemini-google-chatbotgemini-google-chatbot

Gemini, formerly known as Bard, is a progressive generative AI tool built by Google. 

Perhaps the most notable highlight of the chatbot is its access to the Google search engine. This allows it to read websites in real-time and extract up-to-date information.

Gemini can also interpret YouTube videos, provide location-based suggestions, and understand voice commands.

Unlike ChatGPT, the free version of Gemini can generate AI images and browse the internet. It also has a bunch of new options like response modification and easy sharing for collaboration.

Gemini is already showing promising results amongst other generative AI models, and its capabilities will only increase in the near future.

Key Features

  • Choose from 40+ languages to interact with Gemini
  • Use both text + images for more comprehensive results
  • Conduct real-time web analysis via Google Search
  • Write and debug code across various programming languages

Pricing

Gemini is free to use. You can also purchase Gemini Advanced for $20 per month to access their 1.0 Ultra model, along with 2TB of storage and various extensions.


3. DALL-E

dalle-chatgpt-image-generative-toolsdalle-chatgpt-image-generative-tools

DALL-E is an advanced generative AI model capable of producing images from textual descriptions.

Developed by OpenAI, the tool can create stunning visuals in various styles. Some of its best use cases include generating logos, illustrations, thumbnails, or even posters for marketing.

DALL-E can also repaint over existing pictures or create variations of artwork in multiple styles within minutes.

Currently, DALL-E is exclusive to ChatGPT’s paid version. And despite some limitations, it remains a valuable tool for crafting illustrations and marketing artwork.

Key Features

  • Generating hyper-realistic images in various styles
  • Place text or titles on AI-generated images
  • Design infographics, comics, or logos
  • Fine-tune outputs with basic commands

Pricing

DALL-E is only available as a part of ChatGPT Plus, which costs $20 per month.


Best Generative AI Tools for Content & Coding

Creators have lots of options here.

4. Jasper 

jasper-ai-writing-assistantjasper-ai-writing-assistant

Jasper is a revolutionary AI co-pilot that automates and simplifies content generation. It has a library of 50+ templates for creative tasks like blogging, text summarizing, and copywriting.

One of the many strengths of Jasper is its refined outputs and personalization. Unlike traditional machine learning models, Jasper can produce extremely convincing captions and content—something that has proven to boost conversions and results for marketers.

Its intuitive interface allows users to tweak various parameters such as tone, style, and more. Additionally, businesses can preserve their unique brand voice to generate consistent ad copy with every command.

With recent updates, Jasper has shifted into an AI-powered project management and team collaboration tool—making it a must-have for content strategists and brand managers.

Key Features

  • Create visually appealing images with AI art generation
  • Engage in conversations with an integrated chat feature
  • Find templates for product descriptions, social captions, and more
  • Access Jasper’s features while writing emails via its Chrome extension

Pricing

Jasper is available in a variety of affordable plans:

  • Creator: $49 per month (single seat)
  • Pro: $69 per month (single seat)
  • Business: Requires a quotation

You can try out both the Creator and Pro plans with a 7-day free trial and save 20% on yearly billing.

Want to learn more about Jasper? Check out our full Jasper AI Review: Is It Still The Best AI Writing Assistant?


5. Koala

koala-writer-chatbot-seokoala-writer-chatbot-seo

Koala is one of the best generative AI tools in the market for SEO content creation. 

Powered by GPT-4, the tool lets you create ready-to-publish long-form content within minutes. It conducts real-time SERP analysis to evaluate competitors, find the right keywords, and use them to write fully optimized blogs and articles.

To publish this content, you can connect Koala to your WordPress site for one-click uploads. Website owners can choose from 7 writing styles and 4 POVs, and edit H2/H3 subheadings for more fine-tuned outputs.

If you want to dominate your niche with stellar articles, Koala is the perfect platform to generate informative and SEO-optimized long-form content on a budget.

Key Features

  • Performs real-time SERP analysis for keyword optimization
  • Choose from 7 writing styles and 4 POVs for human-like readability
  • Automatically adds AI images, YouTube videos, and internal links
  • Bundle comes with KoalaWriter + SEO-focused chatbot 

Pricing

Koala has a free version that uses GPT-3.5 and is capped at 5,000 words/day.

You can also purchase one of their paid plans:

  • Essentials: $9 per month (15,000 words + 250 messages)
  • Starter: $25 per month (45,000 words + 500 messages)
  • Professional: $49 per month (100,000 words + 1,000 messages)

More plans are available for agencies that require greater outputs. Koala also provide a free trial limited to 5,000 words and 25 chat messages.

To learn more about Koala and its content creation abilities, read our KoalaWriter Review: AI-Powered SEO Content At A Great Price?


6. Claude

claude-ai-writing-assistantclaude-ai-writing-assistant

Claude is a cutting-edge AI assistant tailored for businesses and professionals. 

Its capabilities extend to handling various text-processing tasks, including content creation, coding, and creative writing.

Claude can adapt to your tone/style to hold naturalistic conversations while safeguarding your data with strict privacy measures.

Whether you’re seeking to generate bulk content, boost productivity, or enhance customer support, Claude’s versatile features are at your disposal. 

Claude is available both as a chatbot and an API that can be integrated with your app or website.

Key Features

  • Produce in-depth responses of up to 75,000 words
  • Generate text, translate languages, and create diverse content 
  • Upload up to 10MB files for large data processing
  • Secure usage with advanced filtering systems

Pricing

Claude chatbot is currently free to use in certain countries.

You can also upgrade to Claude Pro chatbot for $20 per month to get improved GPT models, high priority, and more usage.

To find out the pricing model of Claude’s API, click here.


7. GitHub Copilot

github-copilot-coding-toolgithub-copilot-coding-tool

GitHub Copilot is the go-to generative AI tool for both new and seasoned coders. It’s powered by OpenAI Codex and offers on-the-spot suggestions to developers.

As a virtual coding assistant, Copilot can understand your codebase, fix bugs, create new features, and suggest improvements.

The recent upgrade to GPT-4 sharpens Copilot’s suggestions even further, making it better at handling specific tasks and ignoring off-topic queries.

Copilot can also help troubleshoot, providing solutions for errors directly from the terminal. One example is recommending a change in the Node version to avoid compatibility issues.

Github Copilot offers flexible pricing and free access for students, teachers, and open-source maintainers. 

Key Features

  • Analyzes existing code to offer relevant suggestions
  • Auto-complete repetitive sections of code
  • Utilize Python, JavaScript, Ruby, C++, and more
  • Collaborative coding features for large teams

Pricing

GitHub Copilot is available for individuals at $10 per month.

For organizations, GitHub has two plans priced for one user:

  • Copilot Business: $19 per month
  • Copilot Enterprise: $39 per month

8. AlphaCode 

alphacode-programming-aialphacode-programming-ai

AlphaCode is an advanced programming platform developed by Google DeepMind. 

The platform stands out for its ability to accelerate programming through features like auto-completion and error detection. 

AlphaCode can generate multiple solutions and not just auto-complete lines of code. This allows programmers to explore different approaches and solve problems creatively.

AlphaCode is powered by a state-of-the-art Large Language Model (LLM) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) that’s extremely capable of understanding human prompts and translating them into functional code. 

While the interface of AlphaCode is quite basic, its raw power and open-source nature make it particularly attractive for coding competitions and software development.

Key Features

  • Highly accurate code predicting algorithm saves time
  • Detects error in real-time and provides fixes
  • Cluster similar solutions to reduce complexity
  • Submit up to ten solutions per problem to increase success chances 

Pricing

AlphaCode is completely free to use.


9. Cohere Generate

cohere-generate-content-aicohere-generate-content-ai

Cohere’s Generate is a transformative text-generation AI tool for turning ideas into impactful words.

Powered by an advanced RAG (Retrieval Augmented Generation) model, Cohere Generate excels at producing engaging copy with factual accuracy.

Its extensive dataset and fine-tuned models make content generation tasks a breeze. Customers can effortlessly generate ad copy, landing pages, and product descriptions with Cohere Generate.

Moreover, its understanding of natural language and code structures simplifies coding tasks, saving tons of time.

Overall, Cohere’s Generate is a super-reliable tool for improving workflow efficiency, whether you’re a marketer, copywriter, or just an everyday user.

Key Features

  • RAG-powered chatbot ensures accuracy and safety
  • Augment research with intelligent paper conversations
  • Get instant responses tailored to your needs via an integrated chatbot
  • Communicate seamlessly in 100+ languages

Pricing

Cohere Generate is currently available as an API. You can test their model for free using their Playground.

Pricing for the Production API start at:

  • Command: $1/mil token (Input) | $2/mil token (Output)
  • Command Light: $0.30/mil token (Input) | $0.60/mil token (Output)

For greater capacities, you can contact Cohere’s sales team.


AI is increasingly getting better at all types of media!

10. Synthesia

synthesia-ai-generative-avatarssynthesia-ai-generative-avatars

Synthesia is an AI text-to-speech tool designed for creating digital videos using AI avatars. 

It can write a well-written script on nearly any topic in 120+ languages, convert it into human-like narration, and apply it to realistic AI avatars.

Synthesia has a user-friendly dashboard filled with various templates and 160+ AI avatars to ease the video creation process. 

Users can also build AI clones of their face and voice, select an accent of their choice, and display closed captions in multiple styles with the platform.

While Synthesia’s avatars struggle to imitate natural expressions and emotions, it remains one of the top platforms for AI voiceovers in the market.

Key Features

  • Design or choose from 160+ AI avatars for use in videos
  • Build engaging scripts for various video formats
  • Choose from 120+ languages, accents, and tones
  • Built-in tool to capture short screen recordings for demonstrations

Pricing

Synthesia is available with three priced plans:

  • Starter: $22 per month (120 min. per year)
  • Creator: $67 per month (360 min. per year)
  • Enterprise: Contact sales team

To test Synethsia, you can create a free basic video. Or, you can contact their sales team for a free demo.


11. ElevenLabs

elevenlab-ai-voiceoverelevenlab-ai-voiceover

ElevenLabs is another cutting-edge text-to-speech tool that specializes in AI voice generation.

It has a full suite of generative AI tools, including voice cloning, 29 languages+accents, a dubbing studio, and more.

Users can also customize various settings in ElevenLabs to fine-tune their voiceovers’ emotional range and clarity.

Production houses and YouTube channels can particularly benefit from ElevenLabs. Just upload a video file, and ElevenLabs will automatically translate it into 29 languages with extreme accuracy.

Their long-form voiceover tool called ‘Projects’ is another game-changer, making it simple to convert thousands of words into realistic voiceovers for audiobooks.

With flexible pricing plans and a free version, ElevenLabs is an indispensable tool for creators and publishers.

Key Features

  • Generate voiceovers in 29 languages and 120+ voices
  • Customize clarity and vocal styling with sliders
  • Clone your voice with incredible realism
  • Voiceover books and large documents with Dubbing Studio

Pricing

ElevenLabs has a free plan that lets you voiceover 10,000 characters per month.

For more capacity and features, you can purchase one of their plans:

  • Starter: $5 per month (30,000 characters)
  • Creator: $22 per month (100,000 characters)
  • Independent: $99 per month (500,000 characters)
  • Business: $330 per month (2,000,000 characters)

12. MidJourney

midjourney-generative-ai-toolsmidjourney-generative-ai-tools

MidJourney is a highly capable text-to-image AI tool for digital artists and designers.

Using a powerful diffusion model, MidJourney can create photorealistic images from simple descriptions. It’s significantly better at replicating textures and generating edges than DALL-E 3.

MidJourney is currently available on a Discord server with four paid plans starting from $10. While the tool is capped at 2048×2048 resolution, its realistic outputs and accurate structures compensate for the slight lack of resolution.

MidJourney’s version six represents a leap forward in AI-driven art creation. Its users will enjoy greater control and precision in bringing their imaginative visions to life. 

Key Features

  • Hyper-realistic image generation with accurate textures
  • Remove and replace image backgrounds with ease
  • Create visuals in multiple stylistic ranges
  • Extensive control over images (aspect ratio, size, etc.)

Pricing

MidJourney is available in a variety of paid plans:

  • Basic: $10 per month
  • Standard: $30 per month
  • Pro: $60 per month
  • Mega: $120 per month

That’s it for our list of the best generative AI tools. Each one of these platforms is the best in their category and offers plenty of value for the money. 

Whether you’re a content creator, graphic designer, or programmer, you will find them handy for reducing manual work and completing tasks and projects. 

Try one of them yourself and see the power of generative artificial intelligence first-hand. 

Want to find out if someone is secretly using AI tools? Check out our list of 7 Best AI Detectors To Try Online (Paid + Free)



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AFFILIATE MARKETING

Affiliate Network Programs for Travel Bloggers to Earn Money

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Affiliate marketing is a prominent avenue for bloggers to convert content into revenue streams. By partnering with affiliate networks, travel bloggers can seamlessly integrate product recommendations into their narratives, providing value to their audience while earning commissions for generated sales. Here’s a curated list of some of the best affiliate network programs tailored for travel bloggers.

[This article contains affiliate links to trusted partners]

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is a pioneer in affiliate marketing, offering many products suitable for travel niches. Amazon’s extensive inventory caters to diverse audience interests, from travel gear and accessories to books and electronics. The program’s simplicity, global presence, and reliable tracking system make it an attractive choice for beginners and seasoned bloggers.

TravelPayouts

Travelpayouts is a premier affiliate marketing platform tailored specifically for travel bloggers, offering a comprehensive array of affiliate opportunities within the travel industry. Through Travelpayouts, travel bloggers can promote flights, hotels, car rentals, travel insurance, and other travel-related services, tapping into a vast network of trusted brands and travel providers. One of the standout features of Travelpayouts is its wide range of affiliate tools, including customizable widgets, search forms, and API integration, enabling bloggers to seamlessly integrate travel offers into their content and enhance user engagement.

Partnerize

Partnerize offers a robust affiliate marketing platform that caters to the unique needs of travel bloggers, providing access to a range of affiliate opportunities within the travel industry. Through Partnerize, travel bloggers can forge partnerships with leading travel brands, airlines, hotel chains, online travel agencies, and tour operators, enabling them to promote a wide array of travel-related products and services to their audience.

Impact

For travel bloggers seeking affiliate opportunities, Impact offers access to a range of reputable travel brands, airlines, hotel chains, online travel agencies, and tour operators. Impact provides bloggers with advanced tracking and reporting tools to monitor their performance in real-time and optimize their affiliate campaigns for maximum conversions. With its user-friendly interface and transparent commission structure, Impact.com presents travel bloggers with lucrative opportunities to monetize their content.

CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)

CJ Affiliate boasts an extensive network of advertisers across various industries, including travel. With reputable travel brands like Expedia, Marriott, and TripAdvisor in its portfolio, CJ Affiliate provides bloggers access to high-converting offers and exclusive promotional opportunities. Its user-friendly interface and robust reporting tools streamline the affiliate marketing process, enabling bloggers to optimize their campaigns for maximum revenue generation.

ShareASale

ShareASale features an eclectic mix of merchants offering travel-related products and services, from luggage and travel accessories to tour packages and travel insurance. Bloggers can leverage ShareASale’s platform to discover niche-specific affiliate programs, access creative assets, and track real-time performance metrics. With its transparent commission structure and reliable payment system, ShareASale remains a preferred choice for travel bloggers seeking monetization opportunities.

Awin

Awin features an extensive network of travel advertisers, encompassing airlines, hotel chains, online travel agencies, and tour operators. By joining Awin’s affiliate program, bloggers can effectively access travel offers, promotional incentives, and performance insights to optimize their affiliate marketing efforts. With its global reach and reputable brand partners, Awin presents a compelling opportunity for travel bloggers to monetize their online presence.

Affiliate Networks for Travel Bloggers

Affiliate marketing is a viable avenue for travel bloggers to monetize their passion for exploration and storytelling. By strategically partnering with affiliate network programs like Amazon Associates, CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, or Awin, travel bloggers can unlock new revenue streams while enriching their audience’s travel experiences.

Photo Credit: [@Premium_shots/DepositPhotos]



Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. With 16 years of online marketing and SEO experience, a business management and information technology degree, and a profitable travel blog, she can help you start a travel blog or accelerate your existing blog with one-on-one coaching.

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