Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Amazon Echo may soon have Alexa playing ads to customers.
The move to add ads to Amazon Echo comes from VoiceLabs, a company that specializes in Voice Experience Analytics. The company is introducing sponsored messages for app developers to use. These messages will range from six seconds to 15 seconds.
VoiceLabs says that its new service will allow app developers to add advertisements that will be spoken by Alexa to users during conversations. The ads can prompt users to purchase goods mentioned in the ads with confirmation.
“We are fortunate to have advertising partners who ‘get it.’ For example, we collaborated with Progressive and Wendy’s to create Sponsored Messages that are both short, and also tell a brand story over the course of multiple user sessions,” Alex Linares, Chief Product Officer at VoiceLabs, said in a statement.
There’s some concern that sponsored messages from VoiceLabs will breach Amazon.com, Inc.’s developer agreement for Amazon Echo. This agreements states that apps can’t use advertising for “third-party products or services.” The only exceptions are for “streaming music, radio, and flash briefings.”
Adam Marchick, the CEO of VoiceLabs, argues that sponsored messages fall into the streaming category and won’t conflict with the Amazon Echo developer agreement. Some developers also point out that AMZN doesn’t strongly enforce its developer agreement. These developers claim they have always been running advertisements through Echo without repercussions, reports Ars Technica.
Amazon.com, Inc. also just recently announced its next Alexa device, the Amazon Echo Show. This device features a touchscreen and that may be the next target for developers that want to insert ads into Echo.