Amazon flirted briefly with commercial advertising as a way to monetize the skills of its Alexa platform. At the beginning of 2018 there were rumours of a new attempt, then denied?

A month ago, however, Alexa ruled out plans to resume advertising in the future. The reason? That throughout 2018 they had been introducing a new monetization channel.

What is the Alexa skill kit?

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a set of tools, documentation, code samples and APIs with which you can add skills to Alexa quickly and easily. ASK allows designers, Alexa skill developer and brands to create attractive skills and reach consumers. With this kit, you can take advantage of Amazon's knowledge and innovation in the voice design sector.

Consumables' and 'in-skill purchases

The past month of September Amazon released ulos ' consumables ' that added to another series of functionalities that had been enabling to allow skill developers to sell them through them . Among those payment functions we can find:

•             Virtual products for video games, such as expansion packs, special powers or personalized characters.

•             Unlocked functionalities, such as, for example, the use of multiple accounts).

•             Subscriptions to premium content.

Cut singer cited success stories cite success stories like those of skill escape the Room and the Airplane: both are based on puzzles, which allow in-skill purchase packages contextual suggestions to help the user to solve games.

According to its developer, 1 in 3 users who were offered to purchase such Alexa Skill Development packages (because they were stuck) accepted the purchase suggestion.

So it seeks to encourage developers to get down to work

Amazon seeks to encourage developers to opt for this route of monetization, and not only rely on the incentive that represents 70% of the revenue of each purchase, but also offer gifts for developers who work best with their purchases in-skill:

•             Those who add these purchases to new skills or who previously lacked them, and generate at least $ 100 in sales in the first month, can win copies of the new Echo Sub.

•             The developers whose skill generates during the first month " a greater engagement by the user" -that is, that is used for more time and in a greater number of sessions- will be able to attend the AWS re: Invent conference at the end of the year. .

What protection measures for the user does Amazon offer in this kind of purchases?

Accidental in-app purchases and / or made by minors without their parents' knowledge have already caused problems for Amazon in the past, so the Amazon skill store offers several options to protect the user:

•             Skills aimed at a child audience are the only ones that can not include "in-skill" purchases.

•             Parents can restrict purchases by voice command in Alexa, either by using a custom PIN code, or by using the voice recognition function.

•             It is offered to users who have made accidental "in-skill" purchases to request a refund by contacting Amazon Customer Service.

Alexa skills you will use every day

  • You can find your phone: It is easy to lose your phone or forget it in the depths of the sofa. If someone else is at home, it is likely that your first idea will be to ask that person to call you. With the "Where's My Phone" ability, Alexa can do that for you, so you will not have to wait for your partner to get home.
  • You can call an Uber or Lyft: If you are a public transport user, it is likely that you will fall behind when you are trying to call a taxi with one hand while dress with the other. Once you set this skill in Alexa, the application just needs to know the location, and you can already scream desperately while you shower and think about what excuse you will put this time to your boss. This is just the kind of things for which voice activation systems were made.
  • Can you read a short story to sleep: This is ideal for any parent who gets tired of reading their children the same stories before sleeping? You may not like the idea of a robot reading your son or daughter, but we are sure that they will love it. The application also allows you to customize the story, to include the name of your offspring. Each of the stories lasts less than a minute, but it's worthwhile to enable it, if you ever need to rest for a night.
  • You can dictate text messages without your phone: By default, Alexa does not have access to your devices or contacts. But the ability 'SMS with Molly' will allow you to dictate text messages when your phone is not within your reach. It requires a bit of configuration, the creation of a profile (which is not necessarily terrible), although you will have to add the contacts manually. Even so, if you are a frequent texter, you will get much benefit from this skill.

Published by Rosie Harman