As part of Amazon’s European expansion plans, the tech giant has launched the Alexa Developer Rewards program to pay app developers directly for high-quality Alexa voice apps. While the program was initially targeted at building Alexa’s game skills, now it has broadened its focus toward diversifying Alexa’s skill set for a wider range of global markets, such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, and India.
With the increased global scope, Amazon will pay developers for top skills in a variety of categories. This includes Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Education & Reference, Games, Kids, Trivia & Accessories, Lifestyle, Productivity, and Music & Audio. Also, Amazon has implemented various new monetization tools like in-skill purchases to increase revenue potential for developers.
As a result, Amazon’s investment its developer infrastructure has been implemented to incentivize sustainable voice app creation. Up to this point, the strategy has been successful.
Today, Amazon’s Alexa Skill store has the most third-party voice apps, reaching 80,000 skills as of February 2019. This is part of a larger upward trend for Alexa skills in the U.S. with their number more than doubling over the past year.
The increasing number of new Alexa skills reveals growing competition between traditional mobile apps and voice assistant-based apps that target the same audiences. This especially applies to audio-based apps like yoga apps and music apps.
Since the launch of the Alexa Rewards Program in 2017, Amazon says it has paid out “millions” to developers based in over 20 countries. If an app meets certain criteria, Amazon will email them about the program. Otherwise, there is no way to directly apply to the program.