Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Amazon isn’t allowing ads on Alexa just yet

January 29, 2018

But the e-commerce giant is wrestling with how to let third-party firms make money off of software designed for its virtual assistant.

Background: Earlier this year, CNBC reported that Amazon was working out how it could run ads on its Alexa voice assistant.

Now: The Information ($) reports that the firm denied Sony’s request to run ads on its Jeopardy app (sorry, “skill”) for Alexa. The e-tailer told Sony that ads would put people off playing.

The case for ads: Developers don’t make any money from Alexa skills currently, because they’re free to install. Ads could change that.

The case against: The user experience of a voice assistant with ads would, to put it bluntly, be dreadful. And Amazon says it wants using Alexa to be "a delightful experience."

What next: The Information says Amazon will experiment with premium skills, where users pay a few dollars for specific features. That may appease developers—for a while, at least.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.