With news releasing the past couple weeks that a 3rd party is attempting to inject ads into Alexa skills for developer monetization, Amazon has taken steps to ensure customers that the Alexa customer experience is more important than the monetization of voice and music streams.
Amazon has updated its advertising policy with the following:
Your skill will be rejected if it includes or otherwise surfaces advertising or promotional messaging. There are specific exceptions we will allow:
- Streaming music, streaming radio, podcast, and flash briefing skills may include audio advertisements as long as the advertisements do not use Alexa’s voice or a similar voice, refer to Alexa, or imitate Alexa interactions, and the skill does not include more or materially different advertising than is included when the same or similar content is made available outside of Alexa.
- Skills that allow customers to order products or services (e.g. order a pizza) may include audio messaging promoting those products or services.
- Skills may include audio messaging informing customers of promotional offers or deals in response to specific requests from end users (e.g., “Alexa, ask [skill name] what deals are available today”).
- Skills that are specifically designed to promote a product or service (e.g., a car wash skill intended to promote that business) may include audio messaging promoting that product or service.
This seems to fly in the face of the recently announced VoiceLabs service, where it wanted to provide its service to developers to add 15-second ads into the data stream. And, this seems to be Amazon’s answer to whether or not the company would support the VoiceLabs offering.
Obviously, its still up to the Alexa customer to decide which skills to use. And, as has been experienced already when Google attempted to inject ads into its own Google Home devices, customers don’t take too kindly to ads. Amazon still offers its own developer incentives including:
- A program that makes it free for Alexa developers to build and host most Alexa skills using AWS.
- Developers of top-performing game skills can earn money for their games based on customer usage.
This is still a new area for voice command AI devices and Amazon still leads the pack by a wide enough margin that it can set the standard.
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