Amazon has been offering Alexa skill developers the chance to earn some bonus cash for their Skills being among the top in customer engagement for a few categories, and today the firm announced that Education & Reference, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Music & Audio, and Productivity are now joining the program. Previously, it was limited to Games, Trivia & Accessories. The program is still only available to developers who publish their Skills in the US, UK, and Germany, but developers don't actually have to live in those territories in order to cash in. On top of getting money from Amazon, developers can also receive Amazon Web Services credits to help them save on developing and hosting their Skills.
The program runs on customer engagement. If Skills get into the top brackets for engagement in their category and country, Amazon will email the developer around the middle of the month following the skill getting into the charts. From there, Amazon will pay a set amount to the developer on a per-Skill basis, with customer engagement being the main metric by which the company determines how much to pay. Developers with different Skills in different territories, or who have cross-published the same Skill or Skills across territories, will receive payment on a per-Skill and per-territory basis, as long as all of the Skills meet the requirements to qualify for the program. If the Skill meets the criteria in the US, but falls flat in the UK and Germany, for example, the developer will receive a single payment for the Skill's US engagement. If the Skill meets the criteria in all three territories, however, developers can expect three separate payments.
In the post announcing the qualification of new categories, Amazon went over a few tips to help developers increase customer engagement and get into the charts. Ideally, a good Skill will be designed from the ground up for a voice-based platform, will be unique, will bring a user fresh content, and will make a user's life easier. On the side, Amazon noted that games tend to boast good engagement by nature; they're commonly used, and require user input. Amazon also suggests checking out your Skill's analytics data for insight into how users are interacting with it and what parts may need work, and tweaking things like the timeout period, memory allocation, and concurrent executions limit to allow for more traffic.