The hunt for the millions has officially begun. We had heard about Amazon paying game programmers whose Alexa skills are especially valuable for the platform.. Another reward for good work in this field is the placement of especiallz good skills within the top-ranking skills of the game category. In addition, the prospect of receiving payment is an incentive to further develop existing skills. This has caused a general gold-rush atmosphere amongst developers and has nudged many who so far have not considered Alexa as a platform into the right direction. How many acted from conviction remains an open question.

The figures on confirm the trend – since Mai 2007 the number of published skills have skyrocketed. Having a lump sum from which good developers receive a share was a clever move.

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Three months after the announcement comes a new highlight: Amazon now also rewards developers who program skills for other categories. From now on developers in the following categories can look forward to the one or other Dollar/Euro:

  • Educational & Reference
  • Food & Drink
  • Health & Fitness
  • Lifestyle
  • Music & Audio
  • Productivity


More cash! More skills! More new developers! We are excited to see how these news will affect the numbers. By now the latest, developers have dollar signs in their eyes. Which other platform offers swift financial rewards for good work on the simple condition that the applications are getting used?

This topic currently sparks heated discussions in the developer scene. Why? Because no one can really explain how the allocation key is calculated. Does it depend on the intensity of use or on how many times a skill is used in a certain period? The ranking? The reviews? Opinions tend to differ. It is agreed the divided payments stop at $5.000 (for the US developers). In addition, it is likely there is a budget pool for each category from which rewards for skills from this category get funded. This leads to the curious case of skills from the same developer competing against each other. With the reward limit of $5.000, this stands in contradiction to Amazon’s indirect wish of further improving and developing skills: As a programmer, I would simply have to make sure my skill stays as good as it currently is. But how good is good enough for $5.000 per month (?) for a single skill? Which factors influence the calculation?

Unfortunately, this news has inspired copy cats to make an exact copy of an existing skill and in the worst case be more successful than the original.

We want to shed light on the dark and decided to disclose our figures. Amazon factored us in with the news this week and rewarded us for our animal sounds skill.

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Amazon promises 573,59€ for the performance of our skill during the last 30 days. We were very surprised because we did not expect our skill top ranking in the top 10to create this much value in the category “Educational & Reference” long after receiving the top ranking in the top 10. The email reached us on the same evening the announcement about the financial reward for other categories. We had almost forgotten that our animal sounds skill
animal sounds skill belonged there as well.

Just like every other programmer we can only guess how this amount is calculated. In order give our fellow programmers some insight into possible valuation parameters we will illustrate the usage figures from July 15th to August 15th.

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As far as we know we were not included in a “top activated skills” list at this time. Neither in the corresponding category nor in the “all skills” category.

Dividing the payment by user numbers yields the following figures:


As you can see in the diagram, in comparison to the previous time period our numbers have significantly declined. Sadly. 😉

To be honest our intention behind developing applications for digital voice assistants such as Alexa was not to earn money with skills like “Animal Sounds” (who would have thought that was even possible?). We work in this field because we believe our voice will be tomorrow’s keyboard and we can develop quality of life improving and productivity increasing skills which will improve the lifes of many people. To listen to the sound a cow makes sure can be fun – but this mark will not be the only one we will want to leave in the voice assistant software market. To us, Animal Sounds was a playground to research the required technology and gain data. Starting today, you can benefit from our work.

Maybe one day we will be lucky as to learn how exactly the Amazon Alexa skill compensation is calculated. Will the financial incentives endure or are they a short-term measure to promote the platform?

If you have questions, suggestions or in case you would like to share your results with the world – contact us via E-Mail ( or in the Alexa Slack group (tkahle, dmeissner). Register here:

We are curious to see whether there will be more animal sounds skills in the future. 🙂 Moooooo.



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