Amazon has announced an upcoming Alexa capability called “Customers Ask Alexa” which will allow brands to submit their own answers to questions asked by Alexa users. Instead of providing an answer sourced from the web or crowdsourced from other Alexa users, as is done today, Alexa may soon choose to use a branded answer instead.
Brands will have access to a dashboard of frequently asked customer questions where answers can be submitted. Answers will go through “Alexa’s content moderation and quality checks” before the most relevant answer can be shared with customers. Amazon says that all such Alexa responses will be attributed to the brand that submitted the answer, so it should be clear to customers when these ads disguised as answers are given. Thankfully, brands will not be able to pay for their answers to be chosen.
At best, this is a way for Amazon to get curated answers to common Alexa questions for free in exchange for a bit of brand exposure. At worst, this will open the door for brands to abuse the system with spammy answers if Amazon doesn’t do a good job vetting the brand submissions. Time will tell which way how this plays out. These branded answers will first begin appearing in Amazon search results in late 2022 before being read out by Alexa on Echo devices in mid-2023.