Amazon’s Alexa Won’t Be Great Until It Gets This Feature – Forbes
If Amazonâ€™s Alexa was the finished product, Iâ€™d write it off.
I couldnâ€™t honestly recommend a virtual assistant that canâ€™t even tell me how much protein is in two eggs. Or a device that canâ€™t separate out items on a shopping list that Iâ€™ve just dictated.
But itâ€™s not the finished product and Amazon is building more functionality for it. The recent ability to ask follow up questions is a good example of Amazon catching up to its rivals like Google Home.
But if Amazon wants to make Alexa genuinely, objectively, â€˜greatâ€™ then it needs to let third party developers monetise the Skills they build for it.
As it stands, thereâ€™s no incentive for skilled developers to build top-quality Skills for Alexa because they canâ€™t really make money from it. Yes, they could strike an advertising deal on their own and have Alexa read out the sponsor’s name when a user opens the skill, but that requires knowing the right people and having a significant user-base already in place. An ad platform makes that process a lot easier. Or, even easier than that, a non-freemium model (shocking, I know) where developers can charge upfront for Skills.
There are, of course, challenges to implementing ads in a voice-only service. There is a lot less real-estate available for ads (in comparison to a display) and voice ads can significantly detract from the experience, which all means less ad-money for Amazon and the developer. With that said, it’s not impossible. Plenty of podcasts play a brief sponsor jingle before the content starts, which would work just as well when users open up a Skill.Â
The lack of incentive – outside of creative curiosity – should be a concern for Amazon because the current state of the Skill store is frankly dire. There is a good core group of Skills, the majority of which are featured when you open the store. Most, however, are gimmicky, mildly amusing one-use throwaways. And considering how long Alexa has been out, thatâ€™s not really acceptable.
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