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Amazon Underground Eligibility and Submission Checklist

Introduction

This page provides a checklist of requirements and recommendations for your app's enrollment in the Amazon Underground program.

Eligibility Requirements

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.

Minimum Required Steps for App Submission

Use the following steps to ensure a smooth submission process to the Amazon Underground program for your app. For Amazon Underground, you will need to create and maintain a brand new version of your app. This new app requires a unique package name and must be submitted separately to the Amazon Appstore from any existing version of your app.

  1. Review the eligibility requirements on this page and in the Amazon Underground Schedule before making any changes to your app to verify that your app meets the program qualifications.

  2. Rebuild your app with any code changes that you made for Amazon Underground, and assign a new and unique package name to your app. For example, if the original package name of your app was "com.company.example", name the Amazon Underground version of the package "com.company.example.underground". This package name must be unique across all platforms where your app is available.

  3. Apply branding to your launch icon as described on the [Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground][underground/migrating-your-app-to-amazon-underground] page by overlaying the PNG file provided by Amazon to apply the Amazon Underground sash to your launcher icon.

  4. In the Amazon Apps & Games Developer Portal, begin the new app submission process for your app with its new and unique Android package name.

    1. As a new app, create a new submission package for the Amazon Underground version of your app.

    2. In your app's Short Description field, describe the new value that the Amazon Underground version of your app provides over the non-Underground version. Call out any features that used to be paid that are now free.

    3. If applicable, recreate your In-App Purchasing (IAP) items as part of your new app submission, keeping the original prices intact. Incorporate the new SKUs for these IAP items into your app. (The prices of these items are automatically set to zero for users of the Amazon Underground version of your app.)

    4. If your app uses any of the Amazon APIs described in the next section, create a new and separate API key and update the Amazon Underground version of your app to use the new key. (See [Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground][underground/migrating-your-app-to-amazon-underground].)

    5. To address security changes in Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop), if your app declares a custom permission, see https://forums.developer.amazon.com/articles/2706/android-security-changes-requires-uniquely-defined.html.

    6. Verify that your app meets the eligibility requirements detailed in the Amazon Underground Schedule.

  5. From the Availability and Pricing options, select Yes for Amazon Underground.

  6. Under Images, upload your assets.

  7. Submit your app to the Amazon Appstore. Your app will be reviewed before being accepted into the program. If your app is not accepted, iterate your app submission package with the required changes and re-submit.

Amazon API Migration Requirements

If your app uses any Amazon APIs, make sure that you have addressed the following requirements:

  • IAP: If your app has IAP items, you appropriately migrated these items to the Amazon Underground version using one of the approaches described in [Migrating Your App to Amazon Underground][underground/migrating-your-app-to-amazon-underground]. This migration ensures that these items are free for Amazon Underground customers.

  • Other Amazon APIs: If your app uses any of the following Amazon APIs, you have created a new and separate API key and updated the Amazon Underground version of your app to use the new key:

    • Mobile Ads API
    • Mobile Associates API
    • Amazon Device Messaging (ADM)
    • Login with Amazon

App Design Guidelines

The following best practices are strong recommendations from Amazon for the Amazon Underground program. If your app strays from these guidelines, your app may be rejected from or removed from the Amazon Underground program. For more details on these recommendations, see [App Design and Modification Requirements and Guidelines for Amazon Underground][underground/app-design-and-modification-requirements-and-guidelines-for-amazon-underground].

Please ensure that your Amazon Underground app adheres to the following guidelines:

  • Premium titles: If your app is a premium title where users normally pay for the app itself on other platforms, please highlight the added value within your app in the Amazon Underground version. If the only difference between a premium version of your app and a free one is the removal of ads in the premium version, make sure that you provide additional features or benefits in the Amazon Underground version of your app. Premium apps where the lack of ads in the Amazon Underground version is the only premium feature will not be considered for the program.

  • App Metadata: In your submission package to the Amazon Appstore, the Amazon Underground version of your app should retain the identity and branding of the non-Underground version. However, Amazon encourages you to use updated assets and media for the Amazon Underground version, such as screenshots and your app description, to help communicate the value proposition of the Amazon Underground version to your users. For example, adding strikethroughs to the graphics for your IAP items. Your app description should not include references to paid content. Do not copy-and-paste your app description from the non-Underground version of your app if it references paid content.

  • In-App Purchasing (IAP): The Amazon Underground version of your app can include free or unlimited IAP as long as your implementation meets the following guidelines:

    • Availability of IAP items: All IAP items in the non-Underground version of your app (or equivalent items) should remain in the Amazon Underground version of your app so that the customer has the option to select for free. This allows customers to see immediate benefits and understand the value of “everything for free”.

    • Unlocking features or upgrades: For apps that use IAP items to unlock features or upgrades, ensure that these features and upgrades remain in the app. A user should not search for a popular IAP item from the non-Underground version of your app and find that this item is missing in the Amazon Underground version.

  • In-app ads: You cannot require users to watch an advertisement to unlock a feature or IAP item.

  • Social sharing: 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.

  • Game Progress: Do not implement time lapses or "cooldown" periods for Amazon Underground customers to restrict their progress. For example, do not require customers to wait a certain number of hours before they can unlock a new level.

  • Freemium titles with option to pay for ad-free version: If your freemium title includes an item to remove ads as the app's only IAP item, your app will not be considered for the program. Please provide additional benefits to the customer within the app, such as additional levels or in-app currency.

  • Background apps: You will not receive royalties for time that your app spends running in the background. If your app mainly runs in the background, it will likely not be considered for Amazon Underground.