Well, the Amazon Echo had a good run as an ad-free platform – and all good things, as they say, must come to an end. The harbinger of the advertising apocalypse is a company called VoiceLabs and its plan is to tack on 6 to 15-second advertisements at the beginning and end of some Alexa skills.
Say it ain’t so: Amazon Echo will soon play ads
Yep, conversational advertisements are now a thing apparently.
So far, however, only two noteworthy companies have signed on to participate in VoiceLabs’ tests: Wendy’s (an American fast-food chain) and ESPN.
How’s this going to work?
Well, say you’re using one of the 327 sports skills on Amazon Echo or the Amazon Echo Dot. At the beginning of the skill, you might hear an ad that says “Welcome, thanks for listening and thanks to ESPN for sponsoring us.”
Use the app a few more times and ESPN might inform you of a big sports event coming up before asking if you’d like to be reminded to watch it. (Though, from the sounds of it you’re welcome to politely turn down the invitation to tune in.)
What that means is the vast majority of the Echo’s 13,000 available skills won’t be a target for new ads … well, for now, at least. While you wait for that to happen, there’s always the Echo’s rival, Google Home, to consider.