Understanding Amazon Underground
Amazon Underground is a one-of-a-kind experience where apps, games, and in-app items are 100% free for customers, and Amazon pays developers based on the amount of time your Amazon Underground app is used. With Amazon Underground, you can turn all of your Android users into revenue-generating customers. Get paid starting from the very first minute your Amazon Underground app is used while your app is part of Amazon Underground. With Amazon Underground, you can focus less on how to monetize your apps and focus more on creating great user experiences. Most Android apps are Amazon Underground-eligible. Getting started is easy. Just create a developer account and submit your app today.
The Amazon Underground Schedule describes the program eligibility requirements in detail. As you consider submitting your app to the Amazon Underground program, make sure that it adheres to the following general requirements for the program:
Your mobile app must be available for download from the Google Play store or Apple App Store, and be monetized in at least one of the following ways:
The app is available for purchase for a fee in all other app stores where it is sold.
The app contains in-app items that are available for purchase for a fee.
Your mobile app must not contain any subscription in-app items.
The features and gameplay of the Amazon Underground version of your app must be substantially similar to or better than the non-Underground version.
When you submit your app to the Amazon Appstore, you must make your app available for distribution on at least one non-Amazon mobile device.
Is My App a Good Candidate for Amazon Underground?
Generally, apps that are good candidates for Amazon Underground are apps that provide an engaging experience for their users:
Premium apps with no IAP with their list price, which Amazon will mark to free, and have additional value included, such as adding 5 additional levels, from their free version.
Premium apps with all IAP entitlements available (either left as IAP items with their list price, which Amazon will mark to free, or have all entitlements granted within the game).
Premium apps with all consumable IAP available within the game with their list price that Amazon can mark to free.
Freemium apps with all IAP items available (including their list price, which Amazon will mark to free) and including some kind of additional value.
Freemium apps with all IAP entitlements granted at the beginning of the game. You can remove IAP entitlements if all entitlements are available to the customer in the game, for example, you unlock all levels or make all race cars available.
Freemium apps with all consumable IAP items included in the game with a list price marked to free. (In-game currency is an IAP item with a list price marked to free, stars/gems are IAP items with a list price marked to free.)
You can submit any app that meets the eligibility requirements to the program. However, Amazon will make the final call on whether or not your app is accepted.
The following types of apps are not good candidates for the Amazon Underground program:
Anti-virus or clock apps that run continuously in the background.
Apps that are freely available elsewhere and do not have paid IAP items.
Apps that are monetized through ads and whose only IAP item is an option to pay to remove the ads.
Apps that support passive streaming content, such as a radio station app or app to watch videos. An interactive game that leverages streaming technology would be eligible and would probably make a good candidate for Amazon Underground.
Apps containing subscription services.
Apps that have completely removed their IAP (both entitlements and consumables).
"Premium" apps whose only premium feature is being ad-free.
“Freemium” apps that have modified their game play with removal of in-game currency, time lapses, cool down periods that create the potential for a customer to not enjoy and continue to engage with your game.
Re-Balancing Your App for Amazon Underground
You might feel like you can make your app even more fun and engaging for users by re-balancing your app in some way for Amazon Underground. While the [Amazon Underground eligibility criteria and design guidelines][underground/amazon-underground-eligibility-and-submission-checklists] currently discourages app re-balancing, Amazon may make exceptions to this guideline in the future. See [App Rebalancing Requirements for Amazon Underground][underground/app-rebalancing-requirements-for-amazon-underground].
This section lists the mobile devices and locations where Amazon Underground is available.
Supported Mobile Devices
Amazon Underground is currently supported on the following mobile devices:
- Amazon Fire tablets (2012 generation and later)
- Non-Amazon Android devices with the Amazon Underground app installed. See http://www.amazon.com/getappstore.
- BlackBerry 10 devices with the Amazon Underground app installed
See Device and Feature Specifications for more details on how Fire tablets are categorized by generation.
Amazon Underground is currently available in the following marketplaces, in the following countries and territories:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Isle of Man
- Vatican City
- San Marino
Submitting Your App to Amazon Underground
To submit your app to Amazon Underground:
Review the eligibility requirements on this page and in the Amazon Underground Schedule to verify that your app meets the program qualifications.
Make the necessary code changes, branding changes, and re-build your app with a new package name as instructed in [Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground][underground/migrating-your-app-to-amazon-underground].
Prepare to migrate any user data, such as game levels achieved or user communities, as described in [Migrating Users' Progress Between App Versions][underground/migrating-users-progress-between-app-versions].
Verify that you have performed the preparation steps outlined in the [Amazon Underground Eligibility and Submission Checklist][underground/amazon-underground-eligibility-and-submission-checklists].
Submit your app to Amazon Underground, following the instructions in [Getting Started with Amazon Underground][underground/getting-started-with-amazon-underground].
Monetizing Your App with Amazon Underground
Amazon Underground is a unique form of app monetization where you will be paid for the usage time of your app rather than by individual downloads and purchases. This section provides an introduction to how payments work with Amazon Underground. For more details on payment with the program, see [Monetizing Your App with Amazon Underground][underground/monetizing-your-app-with-amazon-underground].
Calculating Usage Time
As part of Amazon Underground, you will be paid for the number of minutes that customers have used your app. To determine usage time, at the end of a reporting period (usually 24 hours), Amazon calculates the total time aggregated (in milliseconds) and rounds this number to the smallest unit of currency for your marketplace. For example, in the US, this number is rounded to the nearest cent. For more details on calculating usage time see [Monetizing Your App with Amazon Underground][underground/monetizing-your-app-with-amazon-underground].
Amazon Underground Payments
For your apps that are enrolled in Amazon Underground, you will be paid based on the amount of time that customers spend using your app. You can review your Amazon Underground payments on the Reporting tab of your account in the Amazon Apps & Games Developer Portal. Please review the Amazon Underground Schedule for complete program terms.
Amazon Underground offers the following payment rates, based on your marketplace:
|Amazon marketplace||Per minute rate|
These rates are subject to change, based on the terms described in the Amazon Underground Schedule.
When a user launches an Amazon Underground app for the first time, a welcome message in the form of an interstitial ad plays. In subsequent times that a user either launches or resumes the app, paid interstitial ads will also sometimes play. You do not need to do anything to enable these ads. Amazon configures the ads when your app is published to Amazon Underground.
Leaving the Amazon Underground Program
Review the Amazon Underground Schedule to learn the procedure for removing your app from the Amazon Underground program. If you do remove your app from Amazon Underground, keep the following things in mind:
If you remove your app from Amazon Underground but want to keep a non-Underground version of your app in the Amazon Appstore, you must submit the non-Underground version as a new, separate app if you did not already have a non-Underground version in the Amazon Appstore. See [Getting Started with Amazon Underground][underground/getting-started-with-amazon-underground].
Amazon recommends performing a reverse migration of users' progress for users moving from the Amazon Underground version to the non-Underground version once the Underground version is no longer supported. See [Migrating Users' Progress Between App Versions][underground/migrating-users-progress-between-app-versions] for recommendations on how to address this situation.