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Amazon Underground Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Introduction

Introduction

This document contains technical FAQs related to Amazon Underground.

Is Amazon Underground Right for Me?

If you are new to the Amazon Underground program, the following FAQs provide a quick, at-a-glance introduction to the program and can help you determine if it might be appropriate for your app(s).

Q: Can I use In-App Purchasing (IAP) in an app that is enrolled in Amazon Underground? How do they work together?
You can use your existing IAP implementation in your Amazon Underground app; however, previously paid consumable and entitlement IAP items will now be free to your customers. Subscription items are not allowed in Amazon Underground. Because you must create a new version of your app for Amazon Underground, you must also re-create your IAP items when you submit your app to the Amazon Appstore. See Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground for details.

Amazon Appstore Eligibility, Enrollment, and Other Requirements

Do you have questions as to whether your app will be eligible for Amazon Underground or on enrolling in the program? Read the following FAQs to get a quick introduction to these topics.

Q: My app is part of Amazon Underground, but I’ve changed my mind and want to remove my app. How do I leave Amazon Underground?
See the Amazon Underground Schedule for information about leaving Amazon Underground.
Q: I have an existing app that is free, but that runs advertising to help with monetization, and I also have an ad-free premium version of the same app. Which app is eligible for Amazon Underground?
The premium app might be eligible, as long as it has premium features other than simply being “ad free”. You must re-submit the premium version to the Amazon Appstore as a new app to enroll in the program.
Q: How can I make my app available in additional marketplaces?
In your developer account, you can change your app’s availability on the Availability & Pricing tab for your app. See [Updating Your App Submission][getting-started-with-amazon-underground#Updating].
Q: Which mobile devices does Amazon Underground support?
Amazon Underground is currently supported on the following devices:
  • Amazon Fire tablets (2012 generation and later)
  • Non-Amazon Android devices with the installed Amazon Underground app
  • Blackberry 10 devices with the installed Amazon Underground app

    See Device and Feature Specifications for more details on how Fire tablets are categorized by generation.

Q: Do I need to make any branding-related changes to my app for Amazon Underground?
You will need to overlay the Amazon Underground sash graphic onto your app’s launcher icon. See Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground for instructions.

Code Changes

The following FAQs cover questions related to code changes and development for Amazon Underground apps.

Q: Do I need to do anything special to build and package my app for Amazon Underground?
You must re-build your app with an Android package name that is unique across all platforms where your app is sold. Submit this new version of your app as a new app when you enroll in Amazon Underground. See Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground.
Q: Do I need to change the name of my app for Amazon Underground?
No. You must use the same name for the Amazon Underground version of your app as the non-Underground version when you submit the new version of your app to the Amazon Appstore.
Q: Do I need to change the description of my app for Amazon Underground?
Yes, the short description for your app submission should call out the new value that your customers will receive with the Amazon Underground version. Additionally, in both your app’s short and long descriptions, remove any references to upgrading to a premium version or paid-for IAP items. Do not copy-and-paste a description from a free app that references paid for IAP items or upgrades.
Q: My app uses IAP. What code changes do I need to make for Amazon Underground?
Because you are creating a new app for Amazon Underground, you will need to re-create and re-submit any IAP items to the Amazon Appstore using new SKUs. Assign the original cost to the item. Amazon applies the appropriate logic so that the items are free to Amazon Underground users. You must then update your code base to use the new SKUs. See Submitting Your App and In-App Items and Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground.
Q: My app uses several APIs from the Amazon Mobile SDK. Do I need to make any code changes in my app for these APIs to work with Amazon Underground?
If your app uses Amazon APIs from the Amazon Mobile SDK, see Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground to identify the changes that you must make to your app.
Q: Since my IAP items are now free, can I have users unlock IAP, game levels, or other rewards items by watching ads?
No. You may not require users to watch ads to unlock IAP items, game levels, or other rewards. Design a game experience for Amazon Underground users that is equivalent or better than your game experience for their non-Underground counterparts. See App Design and Modification Requirements and Guidelines for Amazon Underground for more game design requirements.
Q: Can I have my users unlock IAP items or game levels by promoting my game or using other forms of social sharing on Facebook or Twitter?
No. Do not tie advancement within your app to social sharing. Your app is not permitted to require that a user share or post on a social media site in order to unlock a feature or IAP item. See App Design and Modification Requirements and Guidelines for Amazon Underground for more game design requirements.
Q: Can I cross-promote my other titles in the Amazon Underground version of my app?
You may cross-promote your other titles within the Amazon Underground version of your app. However, if the app that you are cross-promoting has an Amazon Underground version, you must link to that version and not the non-Underground version.
Q: What Android permissions should my app request for Amazon Underground?
You will not need any special Android permissions. The Amazon Appstore will handle all of the required logic for Amazon Underground.
Q: I have a custom Android permission in my app. How can I make that permission compatible with Amazon Underground?
Yes. To address security changes in Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop), any app that declares a custom permission for app-level resources must be signed with the same SSL certificate as all other apps declaring that same permission. If your app declares a custom permission, see https://forums.developer.amazon.com/articles/2706/android-security-changes-requires-uniquely-defined.html. If you do not make this change, your app’s users could experience a version collision if they have both the Amazon Underground and non-Underground versions of your app installed at the same time.
Q: When testing my app, do I need to target Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop), in addition to other OS versions?
Yes. Amazon strongly recommends testing your app against Lollipop before submitting your app to the Amazon Appstore.
Q: If my users originally downloaded my app from Google Play, can they install my Amazon Underground app without having to uninstall the Google Play version? Can both versions of my app live side-by-side on the same mobile device?
Yes. Both versions can both be installed on the same mobile device because each has unique Android package name.

Payment

The following FAQs address questions and concerns about how developers participating in Amazon Underground will get paid.

Q: What does Amazon consider “usage”?
Amazon calculates usage as the total time a customer uses your app with your app’s Android Activity in the foreground. To determine the usage time, at the end of a 24-hour reporting period, Amazon calculates the total aggregated time (in milliseconds), multiplies it by the royalty rate, and rounds this number to the smallest unit of currency for your marketplace. For example, in the US, this number will be rounded to the nearest cent.
Q: Do users only need to launch the app or do they need to stay in the app a certain amount of time? For example, what about a flight tracking app, where a user might only open the app for a few seconds at a time, but might open the app several times over the course of an hour or two while he or she checks the status of a flight? Do each of these instances contribute towards my payment?
Your payment is calculated based on the cumulative number of seconds that a user spends with your app’s Activity in the foreground.
Q: How will you calculate usage when my customers are using my app without a data connection, for example, in airplane mode? Will the usage stats be sent later, or simply lost? Does the calculator have the ability to factor this sort of thing in?
Amazon will capture offline usage. Offline usage will be reported the next time the person logs onto WiFi, or otherwise regains a data connection. Amazon pays the developer at the time the data is received, not when the data was collected.
Q: What is the payment rate for Amazon Underground apps?
See Monetizing Your App with Amazon Underground for payment rates.
Q: How is usage time measured or captured?
Amazon captures app usage based on Resume, Pause and Stop events in the Android app lifecycle. Apps that close prematurely and do not trigger these events will have reduced accuracy in usage measurement. Amazon recommends that developers manage app crashes and activity lifecycle events appropriately to ensure accurate usage measurement.
Q: Is payment for usage based on seconds or minutes?
Amazon calculates your payments based on the number of minutes that a user is engaged with your app. To determine the usage time, at the end of a 24-hour reporting period, Amazon calculates the total time aggregated (in milliseconds), multiplies it by the royalty rate, and rounds this number to the smallest unit of currency for your marketplace. For example, in the US, this number will be rounded to the nearest cent.
Q: How can I determine how much money my apps might make with Amazon Underground?
Amazon provides a revenue forecasting calculator that you can use to test different usage and payment scenarios: Amazon Underground Revenue Forecasting Calculator
Q: I have both Amazon Underground and non-Underground apps in the Amazon Appstore. Do I receive a separate payment for my Amazon Underground revenue from my non-Underground apps?
You receive a single payment per marketplace for your Amazon Underground and non-Underground apps. When you view your earnings reports, however, your earnings are listed in separate Amazon Underground and non-Underground categories.

Reporting

The following FAQs address questions related to data reporting for Amazon Underground.

Q: Why does app usage data that I’ve collected look different than what’s shown on the Reporting tab in the Amazon Apps & Services Developer Portal?
App usage data displayed on the developer portal may differ from your own data for the following reasons:
  • The developer portal may not include all of the most recent data. Please allow up to one week for data to appear in the reports.
  • The choice of rounding method affects the aggregate data. For example, if your data is rounded to the nearest minute, your usage data may appear to be greater than the usage data reported on the developer portal, particularly if users have shorter sessions. Amazon calculates the total time by rounding to the nearest millisecond, and then rounding the aggregate to the nearest minute for reporting.
  • Amazon filters out fraudulent data, and the data is not included in reports on the developer portal.