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How roastmyphoto.com got 1500 payments in one month

Meet Lucas Vergeest.

Lucas is 35 years old and lives in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He has worked as a virtual assistant developer at companies like Apple and Google. For the last few years he has been working as a conversational AI / genAI specialist for the largest insurance company in The Netherlands - Achmea.

On the side Lucas has been building and growing roastmyphoto.com

Lucas Vergeest

The story told by Lucas

I started working on roastmyphoto.com as a side project in early December 2023. Within a week, I finished my 1.0 version and took it live.

Screenshot from roastmyphoto.com

I had just read about GPT-4 Vision and ElevenLabs had just released their multilingual v2 model that was significantly better at voice cloning. Also, I had seen a video of a guy who built a tool that looked at his webcam footage in real time and commented on it in the style of David Attenborough. I thought this was super funny and had a huge potential to go viral if you build it out well.

So then I built my website roastmyphoto.com where people can upload their photo and then get a roast by an AI version of a celebrity. The end result is a video that can be easily shared and downloaded.

Click the image to see an example of a roast by “Steve”

I observed that there is quite a negative sentiment around generative AI lately, which is quite understandable in some ways. My aim was to build something that emphasized the funny and creative side of it. So that’s what I did.

I shared it within some Dutch Telegram groups, such as the POKI group (Dutch podcast about AI). Then it was picked up by Alexander Klöpping, a Dutch tech entrepreneur that has a following on X of more than 500K. He’s also the guy behind the POKI podcast. Alexander wrote a post on X stating “This has got to be the best AI application up till now”. A great compliment of course 😃 

My project was also mentioned on Dutch national television and in a Dutch newspaper. Pretty soon after, my site went down. Server overload. It was just a regular office day for me, but I did my best to keep it up.

In the first month, in total more than 10,000 videos have been created. About 1,500 payments were made, and my reveue was about 1,000 Euros for that month. However, my total costs were a bit more than that even, so up till now I have not made any profit yet.

My biggest struggle is definitely retention. I had the luck that this guy with the huge following on X posted about it enthusiastically - but after a few weeks traffic started declining drastically.

However, currently I’m taking some serious steps to try and take the website to the next level. The Dutch blog GeenStijl will help me by running an ad campaign on their site. Also, a US marketing agency is helping me to get publications at some international tech media. I hope this will give some new traction to my site.

That is all. Any questions, feedback, or advice? You can contact Lucas at [email protected] or find him on X.