Picture this: You’re writing the last paragraphs of a sexual fantasy story, and you want to craft a cliffhanger to hook your readers into awaiting the sequel. But you’re stuck with writer’s block, and you don’t know how to stick the landing.
What if you could drop keywords into a web-based app that can form sentences and make sense of your thoughts? This is exactly what Content Villain does through its “R-rated” service called TalkDirty.
Set to launch at the end of July, TalkDirty aims to help writers come up with ideas for erotica stories and fan fiction.
But talking dirty isn’t all that Content Villain does. It also offers content generation services for blogs, startups, and marketing campaigns. It provides marketers, copywriters, writers, and businesses with content that they can use as product descriptions on ecommerce and software-as-a-service platforms, among others.
Content Villain is basing its technology on generative pre-trained transformer-3 (GPT-3), a language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. GPT-3 was created by OpenAI, a research and development firm that specializes in artificial intelligence.
Think of GPT-3 as a Swiss Army knife that can solve a variety of problems in natural language processing. It can perform comprehension and writing tasks at a near-human level, as it has seen more text than most people have in a lifetime.
These models are designed for performing tasks such as answering questions, text summarization, and machine translation. As a result, GPT-3 could help people cut down their writing time.
“OpenAI is seen as the leader of the field with GPT-3 technology, but there are some restrictions that can be frustrating to the end user,” observes Stuart Lansdale, founder of Content Villain.
Case in point: Unlike humans, the model doesn’t learn anything from long-term interactions. It will also filter out “bad language,” which will definitely not work for an application like TalkDirty.
In addition, users have raised concerns against GPT-3 and other language models for their anti-Muslim bias.
To address the problem of “bad language,” Content Villain is integrating multiple tools including OpenAI’s natural language processing platform and other plug-ins. This will allow Content Villain to process relevant content in line with consumer needs.
Let’s talk money
According to Lansdale, Content Villain hit a low six-digit figure in total revenue just three months after it was established in March without raising any funds.
He attributes this rapid surge to offering lifetime subscriptions, which brought in 1,500 customers onto the platform. The one-time purchase costs US$70 and gives users lifetime access to Content Villain’s basic services.
Lansdale said that Content Villain is not actively fundraising even though it has been approached by a few investors, including some who are looking to acquire it.
The company is up against US-based competitors including CopyAI as well as Copysmith and Conversion.ai. These firms have secured millions of dollars and acquired smaller players.
For instance, Copysmith raised US$10 million in a seed round in April. Meanwhile, CopyAI banked US$2.9 million in a financing round in March that drew the attention of investors like Sequoia Capital.
To tackle the competition, Content Villain is creating customized models that work better for specific use cases.
A serial entrepreneur
Prior to launching Content Villain, Lansdale established Roomfilla, a startup that helps property owners and managers increase the revenue of their vacation rentals. However, the business took a beating from the Covid-19 pandemic as demand for travel and leisure activities diminished amid the global crisis.
Roomfilla is self-operating for now. Lansdale is making changes to the platform’s technology and will resume full-scale operations when border and movement restrictions ease up.
The spark for Content Villain came to him in January. A Twitter user had reached out to his social circle, asking about a tool that could help in coming up with descriptions for food products. In less than a month, Lansdale invested US$1,000 to create a content generation app that various businesses could use.
Apart from its 1,500 lifetime subscribers, Content Villain also engages about 500 users with regular subscriptions. With this growth, it plans to ramp up recruitment and increase its headcount from three to about seven.
“We’re at the growth-stage of the company, and we are planning to invest in hiring, advertising, and marketing, among others,” Lansdale says.
He points out that while Content Villain aims to make advancements in content generation, the platform is designed to be a “writing assistant” instead of a replacement for human writers.
“Technology works best when a human is guiding it,” Lansdale says.”