AlexaDev Tuesday: Alexa Skill Monetization With Pay To Subscribe

Right from the start, independent developers have wanted a path to Alexa skill monetization. After all, it takes considerable time and effort to create a quality Alexa skill and shepherd it through certification. With its introduction of Pay To Subscribe, Amazon may have quietly dropped the last piece of the puzzle into place for Alexa skill developers.


Monetization Is Coming


Today I’m sharing a cross-post from TsaTsaTzu that lays out the details.

We did a live cast recently covering various options for monetizing Audio Apps. We also speculated about three possible new features that Amazon and Google might bring out for easier monetization. Amazon requires you to enable a skill to use it, and that’s a logical place to add in pay-to-enable. A simple extension of that would be pay-to-subscribe. Google is likely to take a different direction and might add an ad driven revenue sharing feature, much like YouTube.

This week Amazon announced a new “Subscribe With Amazon” feature that seems ideally suited to creating pay-to-subscribe skills that seems to have slipped under everyone’s radar. Much like Pay-With-Amazon, this feature integrates with Login-With-Amazon and lets you define recurring payements for arbitrary services. They give APIs ideally suited for adding to web pages, but that can be inserted anywhere. One selection of these is guiding the user to Amazon driven UI for identifying themselves and agreeing to pay. The other selection is to check if a particular ID is currently paid up for a current subscription.

Just like Pay-With-Amazon, there is no implicit connection to the Alexa ecosystem. However, there are detailed articles on how to set up the account linking feature of Alexa to Login-With-Amazon. This allows you to tie an Amazon ID to a user. Once you have that, you can coordinate with a support web site and use the other features there.

We’ve recommended using account linking to Login-With-Amazon and a companion web site using Login-With-Amazon and Pay-With-Amazon to manage in-app purchases for Alexa skills. This new Subscribe-With-Amazon feature meshes perfectly with that approach. It gives you an elegant and seamless way to implement a pay-to-subscribe subscription model with your Alexa skills.

A lot of people are interested in monetizing their Alexa skills. Most complain about a lack of features and are “waiting” for Amazon to do something about it. With their introduction of landing pages for your skills, and account linking to Login-With-Amazon, I think most of the necessary features are there. For those with a will, it is now possible to credibly add monetization features to Alexa skills. The real challenge now is creating a skill worth paying for!

Thanks, TsaTsaTzu!


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