Amazon Technology

Amazon Pays Top Alexa Skill Developers Directly

This month, Amazon launched a new program that directly pays top-performing Alexa skills. While the specifics of the program are scarce as of now, here’s what we know.

The move comes as part of an exploration by Amazon into ways to reward its developers, wrote the online retail giant in a Q&A on its developer website. The company will identify top game skills each month and pay out based on the particular skill’s customer usage.

Amazon noted that customer usage is measured in a number of ways, including as minutes of usage, new customers and “other measures of engagement.”

“I am not sure how many people are getting [the email], but I know a few are,” Kevin Marshall, CTO of ad tech company Veritonic, who developed the Math Mania Skill in his down time, told TechCrunch. “No one shared their amounts yet, so it’s not clear where on the scale my [payment of] $133.84 falls.”

Developers whose game skills are supported in multiple countries — the options are the U.S., U.K. and Germany — and are top ranking in more than one market will receive separate payments for each, Amazon wrote.

For now, Amazon is only compensating developers in the “Games, Trivia & Accessories” category, though it seems unlikely this incentivization will remain unique to this skill segment. However, starting here makes sense, since games and entertainment are high-use categories across smart speakers.

A survey of Echo and Google Home users indicated that games and entertainment skills took 29.1 percent of the use share. Still, given all the skills out there, it’s unlikely very many will see any payment.

Aside from a few outlier skills in a sea of over 12,000, it turns out that only 3 percent see users remain active in the second week.

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