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Amazon cracks down on Alexa-like ads for Echo


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Amazon has made tentative moves recently to help developers start to make money from their Alexa skills, developed for the company’s Echo devices.

However, Amazon is also cracking down on one of the early attempts by a third-party company to provide a similar service. Startup VoiceLabs had launched a feature called ‘sponsored messages’ for Alexa skills in January this year, delivering millions of voice ads since then for its clients.

Now it’s had to shut the service down, after Amazon tweaked its policies. For Amazon’s part, it says it is adapting its policies to protect users.

“Our advertising policy is designed to maintain the delightful experience customers expect on Alexa and our top priority is to maintain that experience,” said the company in a statement.

“It’s early days for voice and we will continue to explore ways for developers to monetise in the future while maintaining the best possible experience for our customers.”

Amazon wants control here, unsurprisingly. But figuring out decent business models from Alexa skills will be important if the company wants to keep its lead in the voice-controlled smart-speakers market.

Stuart Dredge

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