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Amazon extents its cash reward program for Alexa skill developers

Amazon extents its cash reward program for Alexa skill developers
After a test drive for a few months, Amazon has decided to expand the Alexa monetization model – direct payments to Alexa developers based on the ranking and engagement level of their voice apps.

This May, Amazon quietly released a reward program for Alexa developers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. When a skill has good performance and is recognized as high quality, Amazon will send direct payments to the developer.

The testing was only limited to game related skills. The company now officially expands the monetization model to six additional categories: Education & Reference, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Music & Audio and Productivity.

According to Amazon’s announcement, the more engaging a skill is, the more money the developer will earn. However, what does it mean here as “engaging?” The company has provided some characteristics of good Alexa skills.

They have to be unique, voice-first, help users make life easier, and provide dynamic content. These traits will likely push users to increase their engagement with the skill.

Developers can check the app metrics in the Alexa Skills Kit section of the Amazon Developer Console, and view data about customers, dialogs, utterances and intents.

Amazon didn’t provide details on how much money it will offer as rewards. An Alexa gaming skill developer told TechCrunch that rewards from Amazon is related closely to the skill ranking. The top six skills get payout between US$5,000 and US$2,000. And skills ranked between the 7th and the 300th are rewarded from US$1,000 to US$300. The company settles the payment on a monthly basis.

In addition to cash payouts, developers can also apply for Amazon’s AWS promotional credits so that they can build and host Alexa skills on the company’s cloud service at lower costs.

Instead of the mobile app business model, Amazon chooses direct cash rewards to retain developers on the Alexa platform and allows for no advertisement. It’s hard to know yet whether this new money-making way will work with developers. Now is still a very early stage of voice app and smart speaker development, and Amazon intends to attract more customers to buy the devices and use apps for free, before asking them to pay.

Currently there are more than 15,000 skills on the Alexa platform, while there are only about 378 apps in the Google Assistant platform. Apple’s HomePod will enter the market by the end of the year. The market is very curious about how the iPhone maker will present its business model for voice apps.

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