Alexa Skill Certification – “CEO” Must Be “C.E.O.”

Amazon’s Alexa Skill Certification – CEO Abbreviation

We are generally very impressed with the Amazon Alexa system and set of developer tools that we’ve been given to service our clients. However, there are exceptions.

One big Amazon bug exception that we just ran into was in the required invocation name for a client’s skill. The skill name had “CEO” in the title. The word “CEO” is, well, an actual word as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The skill invoked flawlessly with the word as Alexa naturally understood it.

During certification, Amazon rejected the skill because they said that “CEO” was an abbreviation and needed to be spelled as “c. e. o.” instead of “ceo”. Well, while Alexa perfectly understands the *word* “CEO”, it does NOT understand “c. e. o.” Alexa always defaults to hearing “CEO” and rarely matches “c. e. o.”.

The ramification of this ill-required errant change is that the skill is no longer invokable because of this Amazon bug and process. Only the invocation word “open” now works with the skill. “ask”, “talk to”, and all the rest of the trigger words do NOT work! This includes compound invocation sentences where the sentence contains the skill name as well as a skill command. So, we’re dead in the water because of this.

We got the Amazon email saying the skill was rejected and if we had any comment, “just talk to the hand”. Amazon’s first line of Alexa dev feedback leaves a lot to be desired. We’ve never had a ticket resolved. The result is always “we’ll forward the issue onto the engineering team”. Of course, we never hear back. Regardless, we opened a ticket describing the bug and asking to use the word CEO in the invocation name (i.e., override the automated certification check and failure).

We’ll update this blog post if we ever hear back from them. Come on Amazon, we’re rooting for you!

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