We are excited to announce optional account linking, which allows customers to enable and use your Alexa skill without first linking their accounts. For skills that use account linking, you can now take advantage of optional account linking, so that customers can simply enable your skill and start engaging with the parts of your skill that do not need authentication. And when a customer makes a request that does need authentication, you can then prompt them to link their account by adding the account linking card to their Alexa app.
Allowing customers to enable and use your skill without asking for account linking first reduces customer friction from engaging with the parts of your skill that don’t rely on linked account information. Until today, when customers enabled skills that support account linking, using either their voice or by using the Alexa app, they were prompted to enter their third-party credentials or create a new third-party account. This prevented customers from engaging with the skill if they didn’t wish to link their account at the time of skill enablement.
Now, customers can simply enable your skill and start engaging with it without any interruption. When the customer invokes your skill, the request sent to your skill will not include the access token. If the customer request does not need you to authenticate them, you can fulfill their request without asking them to link their account. Later, when they make a request that needs authentication, you can deliver a voice prompt requesting that they complete account linking in their Alexa app, and also add a LinkAccount card to their Alexa app.
NBCUniversal Media has already integrated this functionality into their Keeping Up With The Kardashians Quote Game skill, enabling customers to guess who from the family said each quote without requiring account linking. Only when customers want to enter a chance to win KUWTK-themed swag and Amazon gift cards, are they prompted to link their Twitter account and tweet about the skill. This keeps account linking contextual and avoids friction when customers interact with their skill.
If you use the Custom Skill API, you can configure optional account linking in your skill by selecting the “Allow users to enable skill without account linking” option in the Account Linking section of the Developer Console. If you are using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Command-Line Interface (CLI) or Skill Management API (SMAPI), you can set “skipOnEnablement” to “true”.
You can find complete information on how to let customers enable your skill without account linking in our technical documentation. We recommend you use this feature if your skill includes meaningful functionality that does not require the linked account. You can use your skill description to explain which features require account linking and which do not. For more information about account linking, check out the following resources: