Pay Amazon Echo Skills developers

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Pay Amazon Echo Skills developers

This petition had 5 supporters

ActualCalorie started this petition to Amazon

Skills for the Amazon Echo are often showcased in Amazon Echo's "What's New with Alexa", and even showcased for advertisements of the Echo, claiming the thousands of skills for Echo "are free".  It's understandable why big companies such as Expedia or Uber would want to create a skill for the Echo, but where is the incentive for small-time developers? In fact, developers for the Amazon Echo skills are charged fees for Amazon Services to keep Echo Skills running and given nothing in return. Well not nothing. Developers of Amazon Echo Skills are given 1 T-Shirt per month (if they publish a skill for that month)! Now unless developers want to get into the T-Shirt selling business, why has a multi-billion dollar company like Amazon decided not to pay fair usage price to developers? When I started making skills for the Echo, I indeed did it for the T-Shirt and for fame. However, when my skill grew into popularity, I was appalled by the fact that I was in fact being charged for "data transfer" (however small the charge), because my skill was taking on so many users. How does this make sense? I'm creating free content for Amazon's Echo that is so popular with users that I'm paying out of pocket to keep their content running. Content that is seemingly essential to the Echo given that the Echo is advertised to come with thousands of free skills. 

At one point, my own skill was sitting next to Expedia! Needless to say, I was getting high volumes of user traffic into my skill. The only way for Amazon Echo Skills developers to make up for the overhead of fees (lambda data-transfer, our own hosting fees, the load it takes on our own end-points, RDS, DynamoDB, and EC2) is to monetize outside of Amazon through a process known as "Account Linking".  In this model, the user creates an account through an external website that links back to the Echo. In my case I chose the "Freemium to Premium" model, charging users for the full-version of the skill. It was predictable what happened.  Within a few days, my skill was no longer in the Customer's Favorites section.  It was nuked from orbit by reviewers complaining of the charge for the full-version and having to sign-up for an account. Apparently, not many people want to pay for something that is advertised as "free". I don't blame them.

To me, this seems like something that should have already been worked out. When I first started making skills, I did it "just for fun" and for the T-Shirt. But when real money is coming out my pocket (even if it's just a small amount), I feel I should be compensated in some way. Even free AWS services would be better than nothing. Why should developers waste their time with the Echo without monetization? It's bad enough putting up with the horrible reviews with no way to directly respond to them, and then to pay out of pocket to provide content for Amazon's showcase device is almost too much to handle.  

Amazon, make Alexa Skills just like Amazon Underground apps.  Pay us per minute of usage ( $0.0020).  Until you work out a monetization method, stop charging Echo SKills developers for AWS services! 

Not only would this be fair to developers who are already getting high volumes of traffic, but it would drive better content to the Echo. 

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This petition had 5 supporters