•   over 1 year ago

Certification deadline and increasing review times

Just a heads-up, I guess some skills such as mine need a bit of back and forth with the Alexa certification team. It seems that the expected response time from the certification team has now gone up to 2 weeks, e.g. my final corrections submitted yesterday now have an estimated response date of 10 Dec, which is beyond the deadline.

I am wondering if Devpost in cooperation with Amazon can somehow prioritise the ISP challenge entries. These can be particularly tricky as ISPs are fairly new and there are some comments or skill behaviour required by the certification team that are specific to ISPs, sometimes not very clear from documentation (e.g. handling purchase cancellation in some particular cases) which may potentially depend on the reviewer to some extent and may tend to cause more iterations than usual.

  • 14 comments

  • Manager   •   over 1 year ago

    Hi Pawel!

    We definitely understand your position and I'm sorry that the return estimates are extending. We have sent all of the skill IDs that were submitted to Devpost to the Alexa team for prioritization. I will bring up your concerns to the team and see if there are any status updates for the contest submissions.

    Thanks for reaching out!
    Stefanie

  • Private user

    Private user   •   over 1 year ago

    I would like to second this as well -- we submitted our updates on Nov 20 and it's still in review. Is there anything we can do on our end? Best

    T

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    This is a concern for us as well, having implemented ISP and account linking. We submitted our revised version on the 22nd of November and waiting for feedback. Would be a shame if many skills can't participate because of the review process. I assume that the certification team has a lot of work from 200+ skills in one batch, a simple solution in my eyes would be to extend the certification deadline. I would be very glad if this topic could be addressed with the Alexa team. Thanks a lot! Edwin

  • Private user

    Private user   •   over 1 year ago

    Just an update -- our skill just pass certification. Hope yours will too soon Edwin / Pawel.

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    My skill has also passed certification now. I think a combination of Devpost contacting Amazon Alexa certification team (thanks Stefanie!) and me doing it independently as well helped to expedite it. Edwin I hope you can get your through quickly too!

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    We submitted originally on November 12th on time, and then (re)submitted yesterday. I just saw this troubling note on the certification page:

    "Results should be available by 12/13/2019, 3:13 AM"

    That's well after the contest deadline of December 6th. Can someone help?

    Also, can we change our submission text so that it shows the new app name? It was originally "AndroidChat" but Amazon's certification team rejected that name even though "Android" is in our company name "Android Technologies, Inc", a legal "C" corporation that pre-dates "Android" and even pre-dates the creation of Google itself.

    Not wanting to risk missing the deadline, we simply renamed it from "AndroidChat" to "QuizLink" to make certification happy. Unfortunately the old submission text still says "AndroidChat" of course and we'd like to update it to "QuizLink" to avoid confusing the judges.

  • Manager   •   over 1 year ago

    Hi All!

    We can't help with individual skills, but the Alexa certification team told us they are prioritizing the skills submitted to this contest. We shared all of the submitted skill IDs. I'll ask for another status update today.

    Thanks!
    Stefanie

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    Hi Stefanie,

    EDIT: Check Twitter. Another dev just reported problems with certification. You should do an E-mail poll of the devs to see how many people are having issues. I suggest an extension of the certification deadline at this point.

    They are now asking us to change our company name, a formal "C" corporation registered in 1995 in the state of Idaho in good standing. I think any reasonable person would agree at this point that if we miss the certification deadline because of these truly odd issues, it is the fault of the certification department, not us.

    I just sent off this message in reply:

    ---

    Dear Amazon Alexa Certification department,

    Here are targeted replies to your recent certification rejection points:

    > 1. The skill fails for the usage of a third-party trademark/brand "Android"
    > Usage of third-party trademark/brand occurs within the following piece(s) of metadata: DEVELOPER NAME

    ANSWER: Our company name is a legal "C" corporation entity in the State of Idaho in good standing. Please go to the link below, and type in "Android Technologies, Inc.":

    https://sosbiz.idaho.gov/search/business

    You will see that we were incorporated in 1995 and have full rights to our name. Also:

    - Our incorporation filing predates "Android" by 13 years. Google Android first appeared in 2008
    - Our incorporation filing predates Google Inc. by 3 years, which first appeared in 1998

    We have full legal rights to use our company name as per United States corporate law. We do not need permission to use it from another business entity because the state of Idaho has already granted us that right, and they granted it to us over 24 years ago.

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    I just received this reply regarding my case:

    "Thank you for writing in. I understand you have a question about the US Alexa developer promotion. I would be happy to clarify."

    Bad. Really bad. Nowhere in my request for help to solve my certification problems did I ask that question.

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    Here is my latest communication with certification. This is truly a bizarre experience at this point:

    ---

    Dear Tia at Alexa Certification,

    Your last response is still not helpful at all. I will answer it point by point:

    "Please excuse the multiple emails. I realized you were referring to the Alexa Skills Challenge: In-Skill Purchasing, sorry about the confusion. To be eligible for the challenge the skill must go live before December 6th. I see that you submitted you skill for certification today, December 2nd. Depending on the volume of skills submitted for certification, you skill may be published live by December 6th. However, if it does not, we encourage you to participate in the new US Alexa developer promotion here: (link removed)"

    We submitted originally on November 12th. Even though we had no legal obligation to do so as we have explained multiple times in previous E-mails, we did change the product name from "Android to QuizLink" at your request. That forced us to go back into coding unnecessarily to do the name change. We then resubmitted again on November 28th and received *no answer* from you until 3:30 AM this morning.

    As you have pointed out, we received numerous unhelpful responses about your developer promotion in response to our urgent please for help with the Alexa ISP contest, all of which had nothing to do with the issues we have reported. This caused us to again resubmit today and the only reason we resubmitted today was to get the skill back into the priority queue for contest entries. Your perception that we began the submission process on the 2nd is completely wrong.

    This reply from you is better than the last, but it still shows no desire on your part to be accurate about the greater context of the situation and most important of all, that due to errors in your department, we are about to have 1 1/2 years of effort on our Alexa skill that seamlessly bridges Twitch and Alexa go up in smoke.

    You have the power to rectify this gross mistake. But so far you are refusing to do so. We are in this situation because your reviewers have been applying the brand confusion restrictions that are part of your review process in a completely inappropriate manner. Our company name is Android Technologies, Inc. We have been a registered "C" corporation with the State of Idaho for 25 years and our business use of that name as a state registered legal entity predates both Android and even Google itself. Please end this painful experience now and get someone to do a proper review before the December 6th deadline. Also, please read this thread on DevPost that documents the whole troubling experience from November 12th on.

    (link back to this thread)

    Sincerely, Robert Oschler

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    Dear Certification Department,

    1) Despite repeated requests for you to identify exactly what customer usage data you think we are storing you have refused to do so. In your last response you simply included a transcript of a successful onboarding session with no other details about the data you believe we are retaining. The only thing the transcript shows is that you successfully gave it the necessary temporary PIN codes given to you and that you successfully linked your Twitch account to your Alexa account. As far as the storing of the Twitch user ID is concerned, you had to grant us that permission using Twitch's "Grant" facility, which is in complete accordance with Twitch's policies. Given that Twitch is an Amazon property that is *your* policy too. Since you have not told me what the "offending" data is, I have to guess as to what data is causing you to reject our app so I don't even know if that is what you are objecting to.

    PLEASE SPECIFY WHAT USAGE DATA YOU THINK WE ARE STORING. WE ARE NOT STORING ANY DATA THAT CAN IDENTIFY A USER.
    (cont'd).

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    (cont'd).

    2) As far as the timed-out session is concerned I have no idea why that happened. You have accessed the system several times successfully over this painful multi-week process. I just tested it personally myself and it has worked for others without error. I appreciate that last night at 4 AM in the morning (my time not yours) you finally did try to contact me through the Twitch chat room. However, I begged you more than once in previous messages to let me know when you would be there so I could personally help you out. Instead you jump in at 4 AM without warning when I am not there and you summarily reject the app. Due to the previous sleepless nights this was the one night I was not sitting near our monitor stations in case you did check in, despite waiting for you without success the 2 nights before. Had you given me some advance notice I would have been there. Given your geographic location I would be stunned if you did not know about the likely time difference between you and devs in the USA and what the expected result of a unannounced visit at 4 AM in the morning would be.

    3) I tested personally several times the In-Skill purchase, both accepting and rejecting the offer, and then saying "Alexa, open quiz link" afterwards each time. It worked fine every time. I do not know why it didn't work for you. Perhaps it is related to the spurious time-out issue you had. We have had no reports of problems from other users now that we fixed the bugs you reported previously that we promptly fixed.

    This is a truly painful outcome. Please let me know what time one of your staff will be there tonight or as I have been saying for the last few weeks, you will have eliminated our app from the contest.

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU WILL BE RETESTING THE APP. WE ARE OUT OF TIME.

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    Summary TL;DR

    - First we were asked to change the name of our app from "AndroidChat" to "QuizLink", despite out company name as a registered "C" corporation of over 25 years being "Android Technologies, Inc." We did that anyways to move things along.
    - Then we were asked to change our business name for the same reason, a truly bizarre request. Fortunately that request was dropped and obviously we could not do that anyways.
    - Then several delays happened due to receiving responses to our urgent requests that were completely unrelated to the CASE file matters.
    - But now we are being told that we are storing Alexa user data in an unacceptable manner when we are not. Worse, despite multiple requests, the details of the supposed offending data are not being communicated to us.

  •   •   over 1 year ago

    I could have replied to many other posts on the same topic but to echo what Robert is saying, the certification team is entirely alienating the platform.

    + The "explanation" emails regularly get dropped
    + If they do not get dropped, the reasons expressed do not match what the automated logs are saying
    + No human testing
    As drastic as Apple is with their reviews at least they provide clear action items on the site itself and also a good way to escalate.

    We've been in review, going back and forth, for close to a month now and I'm quasi certain we will not be certified by tomorrow even though we have people using the app in test mode with no problem.

    Contrasting with Bixbi or Google Home certs it's really disheartening.
    And to think of how it would be if we did not get Stephanie and others pushing to help us!

Comments are closed.