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Amazon will pay more developers who make popular Alexa skills

Payment is being expanded into more categories

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Amazon Echo

Amazon says it will now pay developers who make Alexa skills with the highest engagements in the US, UK, and Germany. Alexa skills are feature commands you can say to Amazon’s digital assistant such as, “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I’m doing today,” or “Alexa, I’m bored,” which in turn launches the corresponding voice-activated app.

Developers began getting paid for Alexa skills in the games, trivia, and accessories category in May. Amazon has now expanded payment to include those developing skills in education and reference, food and drink, health and fitness, lifestyle, music, audio, and productivity. Developers can’t charge for skills, and so far there’s no indication of how they’re paid. Amazon says payment depends on the amount of engagement a skill receives. One developer was paid $133, according to TechCrunch, but there was no breakdown of why that amount — which seems quite arbitrary — was chosen.

Amazon says the most engaging skills available for Alexa are designed voice-first, are unique, and make life easier. The company cites Dog Feeder as a unique skill; it helps customers find out if their dog has been fed recently. Those that involve exercise workouts, daily affirmations, or translations can also be popular, with many customers using them on a daily basis, which in turn lifts engagement. Guessing games like Higher or Lower and interactive stories like The Magic Door have also done well, the company notes.

“Skills that make customers’ lives easier, either by helping them keep track of things or do something easily, can become a daily habit that customers want to use regularly,” Amazon said in a statement. There’s no word yet on if there’s an Alexa skill for making brunch on a Sunday morning, but I definitely have my hopes up.