Alexa Introduces New Skill, ‘Kids,’ That Devs Can Monetize

Over the past year, Amazon expanded the categories of Alexa skills that developers can monetize, eventually reaching seven:

  • Education & Reference
  • Food & Drink
  • Games, Trivia & Accessories
  • Health & Fitness
  • Lifestyle
  • Music & Audio
  • Productivity

Now the e-commerce giant has announced an eighth Alexa skills category: “Kids.” There’s wide latitude for development here; Amazon’s dedicated webpage suggests that tech pros consider building voice-driven quiz and trivia games, “interactive adventure games,” and “kid skills” that foster curiosity and exploration (there’s even an example on GitHub for your perusal).

Amazon has put some restrictions on the development of kid-centric skills. For starters, these new skills are only publishable in the United States; developers must also clearly identify that the skill is aimed at children under the age of 13. On top of that, a skill “must not include any advertising, make any products, content or services available for purchase, collect any personal information from end users, or include content not suitable for all ages,” according to Amazon’s FAQ.

The first time a kid-centric skill is activated, Alexa will ask a parent to give permission via SMS code. That’s a one-time action, required because Amazon follows COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), which mandates parental consent before collecting personal permission online from a child under 13 years of age.

Payment for all Alexa skills is based on user engagement; the more an audience interacts with your skill, the more you’ll earn. Developers can monitor their skills’ performance, but there’s no leaderboard that officially ranks their performance, nor any way of determining the baseline level of interaction necessary to start drawing payments.

Amazon is relatively tight-lipped about how much third-party developers have earned building skills for Alexa. “To date, we’ve paid millions of dollars to developers in 22 countries who have published skills in the U.S, UK, and Germany,” read a Feb. 28 posting to the official Alexa blog. “Many developers have earned tens of thousands of dollars, and a few have earned more than $100,000.”

By focusing on kid skills, tech pros now have a new route for making cash from Alexa development.