Amazon unveils new ways for developers to earn money from Alexa Skills


Developers building “skills” for Amazon’s Alexa platform now have new ways to make money off their voice-enabled technologies.

Amazon today announced general availability for in-skill purchasing, which lets developers sell digital content — like one-time purchases or subscriptions — directly within a given skill, which is Amazon’s way of describing Alexa apps/capabilities.

This means customers can be playing with the Jeopardy skill on an Amazon Echo, for example, and purchase additional game content, all with their voice and the payment options associated with their Amazon account. Amazon provides developers with self-service tools that manages in-skill products and sales performance.

Similar to Apple’s App Store, developers will make 70 percent of the price paid for by customers, with Amazon keeping the rest. Amazon also requires that all in-skill purchases offer some type of discount for Amazon Prime members.

Amazon also announced general availability for Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills, another new feature that lets U.S. brands and merchants accept payment for physical goods or services via their skill and a customer’s payment info stored on Amazon. For example, 1800 Flowers is using the feature to sell flowers to customers without forcing them to leave the voice experience in order to complete a payment.

This is Amazon’s latest expansion of the Alexa platform, which it opened up to developers and third-party device manufacturers in 2015. There are now 40,000 Alexa skills, up from 25,000 in September. Last month Amazon unveiled a new feature that lets just about anyone build their own Alexa skills.

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