Is Alexa In-Skill Purchasing Not Yet Ready For Prime Time?
We’re having a heck of a time getting a client’s Alexa skill beta tested and certified. The skill uses Amazon’s In-Skill Purchasing, or ISP.
Fun time #1 – Double Charges
We found a verified Amazon ISP bug during testing where you could randomly be allowed to purchase the same product multiple times. Yes, double charged! Once a customer purchased an ISP product and they again tried to purchase it, Amazon would “randomly” allow the second purchase. Amazon normally is supposed to say something like “”Congratulations, you already own product xxx”. But, randomly it would forget the product was already owned and allow a subsequent purchase. Almost seemed like a race condition as the ISP databases were updated and accessed.
Fun time #2 – Getting Started with ISP Tax Information
Our client entered the required ISP tax information on February 17 (2019) and as of March 10 Amazon still has NOT properly processed the information and the skill remains unable to enter beta and/or certification. An Alexa support ticket was opened by the client on March 1 and multiple followups and Amazon replies amount to “we know of the larger bug (affecting more than just your skill) and have escalated it to the proper team. We’ll let you know…”. 3 weeks and counting since the tax information was entered and no resolution in sight! Seriously, Amazon?
Fun time #3 – A Work Around ‘Hack’ To Beta Test While Stuck In Limbo
A beta for the skill with ISP can’t even be initiated until the tax stuff has been entered and verified. See issue #2 above. Well, how the heck do you beta test a skill with ISP if Amazon hasn’t acknowledged your required tax information? Turns out there appears to be another Amazon bug where you can remove the ISP products from the skill, start the beta, and then add back in the ISP products. This allows existing beta users to test the ISP flows. However, if you want to add more beta testers, you again have to take the ISP products offline, add the new beta users, and re-enable the products. Note: yes, you can test ISP without tax information if you’re the skill owner, just not with beta users through the “approved process”.
So we beg to ask…is Amazon In-Skill purchasing honestly ready for Prime Time? We’ll help answer this question once we hear back from the appropriate team at Amazon.