Amazon has made moves to ban advertisements within Alexa’s skills by quietly adjusting its Alexa Skills Kit policies. The decision means ads can now only feature in music, radio and flash briefings.
The previous iteration of the advertising policy only stated that it would ban apps that used Alexa’s home cards, which appear in the Amazon Alexa companion app, and/or Alexa’s voice for advertising.
The updated policy still contains the above but Amazon has moved to include “any advertising for third-party products or services, except in streaming music, streaming radio or flash briefing skills where ads are not the core functionality of the skill.”
It is unknown what is behind the change from Amazon but some have suggested it could be down to technology being produced by VoiceLabs that involves ‘sponsored messages’ being inserted within skills.
The change from Amazon could also be in reaction to the recent backlash that Google faced surrounding a Beauty and The Beast ad that played during people’s daily briefings on Google Home devices. Though this ad came from Google itself, and not from skills developers.
Furthermore, there was the Burger King ad that hijacked Google Home devices by triggering devices to read out the Wikipedia entry for its Whopper burger.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of advertising that Amazon may be looking to stave off with these policy changes. Whether it will enforce them remains to be seen, but it is unlikely to want to face the same levels of criticism as its rival.