Choosing your invocation name is a very important part of the process to get your business on voice assistants. (An invocation name is the name your customers use when asking your business a question on voice assistants, i.e. “Alexa, launch Joe’s Pizza.” or “Alexa, ask Joe’s Pizza, what are your specials?”). If you want your invocation name to be the same on all voice platforms, you will want to read through all of these instructions to make sure and choose a name that qualifies on all available platforms.
Rules / Tips that Apply to All Platforms
- The skill invocation name must not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of an entity or person. Avoid trademarked or copyrighted names (unless it belongs to you).
- One-word invocation names are not allowed, unless the invocation name is unique to your brand/intellectual property with proof of ownership established through legitimate documentation. Compound words broken into multiple words will not circumvent this requirement, for example key board counts as one word.
- Invocation names that include names of people or places (for example, “molly”, “seattle”) are not allowed, unless they contain other words (for example, “molly’s horoscope,” “seattle spotlight,” “sam’s market”).
- Two-word names are not allowed if one of the words is a definite article (the), indefinite article (a or an), pronoun (like my), or preposition (for, to, or of). For example, your name should not be a bicycle, an espresso, to amuse or for fun.
- Specify a clear and easily recognized invocation name. Names must be easy to pronounce correctly and be phonetically distinct to avoid being misinterpreted as similar sounding words. Don’t use names that are phonetically similar to vulgar, offensive, generic, or common names. Avoid hard to pronounce words. An invocation name that contains difficult words to pronounce, such as Quinoa, makes it harder for your users to pronounce correctly.
- Avoid words that are homophones. Try not to include words that sound the same as another word but have different meanings like “peak/peek” or “wait/weight”. Also try to avoid overly clever word plays that will cause collisions with common English words or phrases.
- The invocation name should be distinctive to ensure users can enable your skill. Invocation names that are too generic may be rejected during the skill certification process or result in lower discoverability.
Alexa Specific Rules/Tips
- The invocation name must not contain any of the Alexa skill launch phrases and connecting words.
Launch phrases include “run,” “start,” “play,” “resume,” “use,” “launch,” “ask,” “open,” “tell,” “load,” “begin,” and “enable.”
Connecting words include “to,” “from,” “in,” “using,” “with,” “about,” “for,” “that,” “by,” “if,” “and,” “whether.”
- The invocation name must not contain the wake words “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Echo,” or the words “skill” or “app”.
- The invocation name must contain only lower-case alphabetic characters, spaces between words, and possessive apostrophes (for example, “sam’s science trivia”). Other characters like numbers must be spelled out (for example, “twenty one”).
- If the invocation name includes abbreviations, it must include periods and each period must be followed by a space (for example, “a. b. c. “, “f. y. i. “, “u. f. o. “).
- The invocation name cannot spell out phonemes. For example, a skill titled “AWS Facts” would need “AWS” represented as “a. w. s. ” and NOT “ay double u ess.”
- The invocation name must not create confusion with existing Alexa features. If your skill invocations overlap with common Alexa commands, users may get confused by Alexa’s response and not enable your skill. For example, if your invocation name is too similar to the built-in “weather” command, Alexa may sometimes respond with your skill and sometimes respond with the built-in weather feature, providing an inconsistent user experience.
- The invocation name must be written in each language you choose to support. For example, the German version of your skill must have an invocation name written in German. If your skill is published in a non-English marketplace, the invocation name may contain English words if these words are commonly used (for example, if proper nouns, like names and places, are used). In those cases, use the English spelling of those words. In cases where spelling differs between the local language and English, use the spelling of the local language (example: use “radioplayer” in a German skill–not “radio player”).
Google Specific Rules/Tips
- Google doesn’t allow names that are:
- Common phrases (for example, thank you, how are you?, good morning)
- Confusingly similar with features of the Assistant (especially with home automation, device control, and media playback commands)
- Potentially confusing users into thinking they are interacting with Google or that Google is promoting, endorsing, or sponsoring content featured in the Action.
- Generic, including words or phrases that are categories of products, services, or content. We will consider exceptions to this prohibition on a case-by-case basis.
- Some words and phrases are reserved and cannot be used in invocation names, including
ok, Google, launch, ask, tell, load, exit, quit, volume up, game, action, assistant, skill, and app.
- Numbers must be spelled out, for example, twenty one.
Cortana Specific Rules/Tips
- Invocation name cannot contain the term “bot”.
- Invocation name cannot exceed 3 words.
- Invocation names with multiple syllables or words are easier to recognize.
- Avoid compound words unless required for branding. Compound words can be difficult to recognize.
- Avoid names that combine multiple words into one. An invocation name that combines multiple words into one increases the chance that Cortana will not recognize it. For example, instead of “sixSigma5,” consider “six sigma 5” or “six sigma five”.