Amazon has announced a new app designed to help developers monetize apps: Amazon Underground. The app offers all the functionality included in the standard Amazon mobile shopping app. However, Amazon Underground also includes over $10,000 in apps, games and in-app items. These additional items become free to the user, but the developer gets paid by the minute as a user engages with the service or item.
Amazon touts the new app as a new business model for app developers. Cognizant of the fact that monetization in an app economy where much is expected for free, and loads of new apps hit the market each day; the strain of producing economic gain through an app offering can be severe. In an attempt to enable developers to offer apps without the need for in-app purchases, Amazon will pay developers $0.002 for every minute that customers use the developer's Amazon Underground app. Amazon will pick up the fee for in-app purchases that is usually paid for by the customer.
The items included within Amazon Underground include many popular titles: OfficeSuite Professional 8, Goat Simulator, PhotoSuite 4, Frozen Free Fall, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Angry Birds Slingshot Stella, Looney Tunes Dash! and much much more. Because of rules restrictions within Google Play, those interested in downloading the Amazon Underground app must do so directly from Amazon. Underground apps are automatically available through Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets.
Poking fun at apps that advertise as "free" apps but lack significant functionality without in-app purchases, Amazon labels Underground apps as "Actually Free." Amazon has announced the program with the long term in mind. The company was clear that the Underground app isn't a promotion, and it plans on dedicating significant resources to further invention and development. Check out Amazon Underground to see if it makes sense for your monetization strategy and look for further developments soon.