Voice assistants – such as Alexa – have one of the highest adoption rates in history: more than 30 million devices have been sold. This large and growing number of devices creates a massive demand for a new type of app: the voice app or Skill. And an Alexa Skill is realized as an API. Just as in the early days of mobile, when fortunes were made with mobile apps on the app store, it is now the perfect time to catch the opportunities offered by voice apps and make money on Alexa.

Amazon Alexa, the voice platform with the broadest adoption, helps developers like you and me, to develop, distribute, market, and monetize their Alexa Skills on the Amazon Alexa Store.

However, we cannot sell the Alexa Skill itself to the customer. The freemium model is enforced by Amazon, which means that we need to provide the basic Skill for free.

How to make money on Alexa.

There are at least four ways of making money with Alexa Skills:

(1) Selling premium content. We can use the Alexa feature called In-Skill Purchasing (ISP). ISP can be used for one-time fees for unlocking features or recurring fees, where the user has to pay as long as she wants to use the premium service. To learn more, see chapter 9 of the Alexa Book.

(2) Selling goods and physical products. Here we can use the Alexa feature called Amazon Pay. To learn more, see chapter 10 of the Alexa Book.

(3) Create a popular Skill. Amazon has developer contests that give prices to the most popular Skills. To learn more, see chapter 11 of the Alexa Book.

(4) SaaS Business: The SaaS business may already offer a web-based or mobile-based service and can be extended into the Alexa space. To learn more, see chapter 12 of the Alexa Book.

In my new book “Making Money with Alexa Skills – A Developer’s Guide” I describe not only how to develop, but also how to monetize Alexa Skills.

In this book, you learn step-by-step how to create your first Alexa Skill with the Alexa Developer Console, AWS Lambda, the Alexa CLI, and node.js with the Alexa SDK.

You get a deep-dive into the various ways of making money with Alexa. You learn about the business models for Alexa Skills, marketing and monetizing your Alexa Skill on and off the Alexa Store, opportunities for offering in-skill purchases, and about programming, the various purchase and payment flows.

The Alexa Book covers many advanced features of Alexa in plain English, such as account linking, audio streaming, session management and much more. You learn how to personalize your Skill with the user’s data and linking the Skill to popular cloud apps, such as Spotify, Google and many more. This will help you create unique apps that stand out on the market and improve the lives of many Alexa users.

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How can we as API Developers Make Money on Alexa?
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Matthias Biehl

As API strategist, Matthias helps clients discover their opportunities for innovation with APIs & ecosystems and turn them into actionable digital strategies. Based on his experience in leading large-scale API initiatives in both business and technology roles, he shares best practices and provides both strategic and practical guidance. He has stayed a techie at heart and at some point, got a Ph.D. Matthias publishes a blog at api-university.com, is the author of several books on APIs, and regularly speaks at technology conferences.