4 Forums that make turking easier

When it comes to Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk), you can go it alone to make money or you can utilize the power of forums to work smarter instead of harder to make money on mechanical turk.

There are many advantages to staying connected with forums:

  1. Most forums have recent hits with other mechanical turk workers letting you know how easy, fast, or even if the requester pays out.
  2. mTurk scripts! Scripts can be a godsend even if they make the work a fraction of a second faster. After all, when it comes to doing mTurk, time is money. Most scripts can be found on forums and you can even request help if you can’t get them to work.
  3. There usually separate boards to discuss websites similar to mTurk seeking people to complete human intelligence task jobs. These mechanical turk alternatives are a great way to keep the money train rolling when you can’t find any good turk jobs. I do suggest, however, when researching other sites like mechanical turk, that you don’t neglect to see if they have a payout minimum. For example, the pay might be better than mechanical turk but you have to earn $50.00 to cashout as opposed to the $1.00 of mTurk.
  4. See the reported income of people who are actively turking for a living. Some report just a few dollars a day, the average is $10 – $20 a day, while a select few blow it out of the water by making hundreds a day.
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So, what forum do I use?

If you google, mturk forum, you can probably find what you seek.

But here is a list of 4 forums that I actively use.

  1. mTurk Crowd
  2. mTurk Grind
  3. Turker Nation
  4. mTurk Forum

They are all pretty much interchangeable with the last 2 being a bit more active. I use all 4 because sometimes a hit will be on 1 forum before or not all on another and I am way to busy lazy to look for my own.

Do you have any other suggestions for future mTurkers? Or you an mTurker with a question? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what we can do.

How to make sidebar have shadows behind boxes in sidebar

I only use the Atahualpa theme on all of my blogs but I imagine that code works on any website.

However, I am no website designer. So, I have no clue where you would put it on your website if you are using anything other than Atahualpa on WordPress.

As for Atahualpa, the steps are simple.

Scroll down to Appearance.

Click on Atahualpa theme options.

Scroll down to Style Widgets.

In the widget container box, type the following code:

box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px #999;

Save and done.

Adjust setting numbers to your preferences.

  • (Previously posted on my now defunct blog: Amablogger.com)

How to grocery shop with absolutely no money

Unfortunately, this is one of those months that has 5 weeks in it rather than 4.

This is especially hard for those of us who have to stretch a monthly grocery budget an extra week.

For example, if your food budget is $200/month, in a month with just 4 weeks, you can spend $50 at the grocery store.

But, that extra week drops you down to just $40/week to purchase the food on your grocery list. Trust me, that extra $10 can make a difference to an already strained budget.

An extra $10/week can make a difference to an already strained grocery budget. #workingpoorCLICK TO TWEET

How to get groceries with absolutely no money

One way that I manage to stretch my budget is to see what I can get free from the grocery store (although, I have to say, God Bless my local food pantries and thank you for all that you do!).

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The first thing that I check on my hunt for cheap groceries is what my local grocery store, Harris Teeter, is giving away free. As far as I know, this is the only store local to me that gives away food for nothing. I just check the emails,swipe my VIC card, and off I go. The look on the cashier’s face when I have to pay them nothing, nada, zilch is priceless. Examples of the groceries that I stored free are thin Oreos, Kellogg’s single serve cup Fruit Loops, and a cup of Greek yogurt. My upcoming freebies are Nabisco Go Packs and Oikos or Light & Fit Smoothie. (As a side note, my deals are only free on Saturdays and I have to make an effort to get to Harris Teeter early or the deal items will be gone.)

My next step is to check sites and apps that put out weekly grocery match-up deals. The Lord knows that I am way to lazy to do the matchups myself. My favorite is MoneySavingMom and KrazyCouponLady.

@MoneySavingMom and @KrazyCouponLady are my favorite sites to find grocery store matchups.CLICK TO TWEET

These sites match up coupons, deals, and apps to save money. They show you how to get food for as low as possible. Some of the deals are even moneymakers so you can end up making a dollar or two. A feature of these sites is that you can quickly and easily add the food to a printable grocery list. The caveat with some of these deals, though, is that you still may have to pay out off pocket and get the money off your next purchase. I signed up to have the emails featuring my local store delivered right to my inbox.

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One minute step that I take to save a few extra pennies is to walk to the grocery store barring any unforeseen circumstances or weather. I am lucky enough to live in easy walking distance of 3 major grocery stores and 1 Walgreens, and 2 Rite-Aids. All I need now is a CVS and I’ll be all set.

My absolute last tip, though, is to not let pride stop you from asking for help. You might need the long-term help of government assistance in the form of food stamps. Or, you just might need to just stretch the budget a bit by going to a food pantry. In this uncertain job market, there is no shame in asking for the help that you need. You can’t eat your pride so you might as well swallow it.

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Are there ways that I missed to help stretch a budget, especially ways that require no out-of-pocket expense?

How to make round corners on sidebar in Atahualpa theme

I love the Atahualpa theme. It is the free theme that I use on absolutely every one of my blogs.

But, for someone who does not speak a bit of html code, it can be a struggle to make my blogs pop design-wise.

While searching the Atahualpa forum for a solution to one problem, I often stumble across a cool idea.

A trick that I have added to each of my blogs in adding round corners to the sidebars (and lately to the content boxes as well).

The steps are super simple.

Go to Appearance.

Click Atahualpa Theme Optioins.

Scroll down and click Style Widgets.

In the Widget Container field, paste the following code:

margin: 0 0 15px 0;
padding: 10px;
-webkit-border-radius:10px;
border-radius: 10px;

Click save and done.

Adjust numbers as needed.

Easy right?

Basically, copy and paste.

  • (Previously published on my now defunct blog: Amablogger.com)

Don’t fall for the coca cola car wrap scam

The latest scam making the rounds is the coca cola car wrap scam.

Actually, it could be any well-known company but, at the time that she sent me the link over in Facebook Messenger, it was coca cola.

When I clicked on it while writing this post (yes, I clicked the exact same link), the scammers had changed it to Blue Oak Energy.

(Here is the link if you are interested. I am not hyperlinking it so you will have to copy and paste.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1eISjdCuf4q5B4jvsis_duPDHPLm4a1El61KkFSDVQ0g/viewform)

My involvement began when a good friend forwarded me a google document to sign up to put a sign on my vehicle advertising coca cola.

For years now, I have been looking for a legitimate “paid to drive” auto wrap company.

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I know that their are companies that actually do this because their is a car in my local area who I’ve seen with my own 2 eyes painted up in Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, and Trix cereal advertisements.

Some companies pay you to have your entire car wrapped in their advertisement.

While others pay you to simply place their decal on your vehicle.

Either way, it is not suppose to interrupt your life and you are to drive around as per your usual.

So, I was skeptical because I have seen this scam many times before.

But, if it is legit then…Yay, money!!

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If it is a scam, at least I will know for sure and I can spread the word with this post.

In the mail came the check with, you guessed it, the  request that I deposit the check, take out my cut, and forward the rest.

They even had the nerve to be sloppy enough to send me a letter stating that I signed up to do a Walmart Survey rather than the vinyl door decals that I was expecting.

And, oh, don’t be confused by the fact that they didn’t cheap out with mailing it either.

They actually used the United States Postal Service’s Priority Mail envelopes rather than a simple stamp and envelope set-up. (Hm. Does this reach the level of mail fraud, I wonder?)

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So, what would have happened if I had done so.

That check would have bounced so high only God would have been able to catch it.

Don’t do it.

Just don’t do it!

And, please, please, share this post.

Many people are desperate and do not know any better.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to scams.

I will admit to haven fallen for scams before. Leave a comment and let me know if you have you ever fallen for a scam? Have you fallen for this or similar scam?

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Amazon Flex

Don’t get me wrong. I love my local express delivery job with Amazon Flex. In fact, I only have one major complaint.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of delivering for Amazon Flex

But I’ll start with the good: The MONEY!!

The Pay Amount:

I am proud to announce that yes, I do indeed make at least $18/hour plus tips. The customers actually have up to 48 hours to tip and they show up under the day that Amazon finalizes it, not the day that it was applied by the customer. I put $10/worth of gas in my car before each shift and I easily made that back in tips alone.

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The Pay Schedule:

The Amazon Flex pay schedule is awesome! After my first pay deposit, I figured out that the pay schedule runs from Wednesday to Tuesday. Since my first week was Monday – Wednesday, I was actually paid for Monday and Tuesday. And the money was direct deposited into my account on Friday. (Actually, my bank showed it as pending and had the balance available that Thursday but I think that is more about which bank that you use rather than Amazon itself.

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The Bad:

My complaint is that you can’t forfeit just a two hour shift. For example, if my schedule is 10 – 6 and I get a flat tire, I can’t just forfeit the 10 – 12. Nope, I have to give up the entire day.

The Ugly:

Do not — under any circumstances– give up your job for Amazon’s package delivery service. Why? The hours are just not there. The first week, I was ecstatic with those 3 days. Over the moon happy. The next week, I only received 1 block for the entire week. And then…nada. Nothing. For the last 2 weeks, I have not had any hours at all. Until things change, I have begun to think of driving for Amazon Flex as a supplemental income rather than the at least part time job that I was expecting.

Amazon Flex will now easily pay you $18 – $25 to deliver packages

After almost a year of searching, I finally found a job to replace the loss of my Leapforce contract. I am actually writing this post while patiently waiting for my pickup number to be called. So all you Amazon Prime members get on your Apple, Android, or Amazon device, download the Amazon Now app, and get to ordering!

Meanwhile, this post is more or less stream of consciousness being typed on my Amazon Kindle 7 while using the free WiFi provided by Amazon as I wait for my number to be called to pick up a delivery order.I deliver Amazon Flex (1)

The Job Search

As I was even considering becoming a courier for a living, I had my Indeed alerts set to send me courier jobs. On that list was an advertisement to earn $18 – $25 delivering packages for Amazon.

Research yielded only more ads and blog posts describing the same basics that I had already gleaned from reading the Amazon Flex website.

Finally, I found a decent forum thread on Amazon Flex on UberPeople. After reading the entire thread, I took the plunge and filled out the real quick application to be a Flex driver.

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The Hiring Process

A few days later (I don’t remember how long but I guess it was less than week or so), I received an invite to schedule myself for one of the two time slots available for a conference call.

On the day of the call, I elected to login in via computer but I believe that you can also call in. Either way, all voices except the conference call leader are muted. The leader goes over a lot of details on how the deliveries are to be handled but first, let’s start with the requirements. You must have a valid license, a clean background check, an fully activated Android (non-Verizon) cell phone with at least 4.2 and 2 GB of Ram, and a car. They never asked me to fill out those disheartening employment history forms.

You only complete the official sign up app after completing the conference call. After that, the call life leader will give you a website address to download the app. It not available anywhere else and the link is disabled after a few days.

If your background is clear (generally 48 hours but mine took about a week), you are cleared to put yourself on the calendar to start driving. My local area delivers from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. all week. Although I wish that they started earlier.

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Working the Job

Schedules are in 2 hour blocks and you choose the ones that you are available. Ie, 10 – 12 or 2 – 4 or 6 – 10. My choice for my first week was 10 – 6, Monday – Friday and I don’t was given 10 – 6, Monday – Wednesday. As you can see, I was not given all of the hours that I requested but it is a respectable amount for my first week. At least for me anyway.

An hour before my shift, I receive a message on my phone that my shift is about to start. After gassing up my car, I clicked start traveling and the app launches a GPS turn by turn directions to the warehouse. There are reserved spots for drivers but not enough for us all so I just find an available spot and head on in.

Entering the building, there is a sign with instructions to take anumber from one of those machines like in a deli and have a seat until my number is called.

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So there I sat (and here I sit today) until my number is called. When it is my turn, the warehouse wheels out a cart full of goods and I scan the orders in using the same Flex app on my phone. After making sure that the orders are complete, off I go following the turn by turn directions on my phone to the customer’s address.

Arriving, I click I’ve arrived and read for any special instructions from the customer or notes from previous deliveries by other drivers. I deliver the package (or not deliver if circumstances warrant), log in who I delivered it to and I’m off to the next location. The most that I have had are three stops but I have delivered to almost every city.

Looks like my number is coming up soon so I will cover pay in a future post. I should have more information then anyway as I am still awaiting my very first paycheck! Yay!!!

Read more on The good, the bad, and the Ugly of being an Amazon Flex Driver.

Amazon Flex will now easily pay you $18 – $25 to deliver packages

After almost a year of searching, I finally found a job to replace the loss of my Leapforce contract. I am actually writing this post while patiently waiting for my pickup number to be called. So all you Amazon Prime members get on your Apple, Android, or Amazon device, download the Amazon Now app, and get to ordering!

Meanwhile, this post is more or less stream of consciousness being typed on my Amazon Kindle 7 while using the free WiFi provided by Amazon as I wait for my number to be called to pick up a delivery order.

The Job Search

As I was even considering becoming a courier for a living, I had my Indeed alerts set to send me courier jobs. On that list was an advertisement to earn $18 – $25 delivering packages for Amazon.

Research yielded only more ads and blog posts describing the same basics that I had already gleaned from reading the Amazon Flex website.

Finally, I found a decent forum thread on Amazon Flex on UberPeople. After reading the entire thread, I took the plunge and filled out the real quick application to be a Flex driver.

The Hiring Process

A few days later (I don’t remember how long but I guess it was less than week or so), I received an invite to schedule myself for one of the two time slots available for a conference call.

On the day of the call, I elected to login in via computer but I believe that you can also call in. Either way, all voices except the conference call leader are muted. The leader goes over a lot of details on how the deliveries are to be handled but first, let’s start with the requirements. You must have a valid license, a clean background check, an fully activated Android (non-Verizon) cell phone with at least 4.2 and 2 GB of Ram, and a car. They never asked me to fill out those disheartening employment history forms.

You only complete the official sign up app after completing the conference call. After that, the call life leader will give you a website address to download the app. It not available anywhere else and the link is disabled after a few days.

If your background is clear (generally 48 hours but mine took about a week), you are cleared to put yourself on the calendar to start driving. My local area delivers from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. all week. Although I wish that they started earlier.

Working the Job

Schedules are in 2 hour blocks and you choose the ones that you are available. Ie, 10 – 12 or 2 – 4 or 6 – 10. My choice for my first week was 10 – 6, Monday – Friday and I don’t was given 10 – 6, Monday – Wednesday. As you can see, I was not given all of the hours that I requested but it is a respectable amount for my first week. At least for me anyway.

An hour before my shift, I receive a message on my phone that my shift is about to start. After gassing up my car, I clicked start traveling and the app launches a GPS turn by turn directions to the warehouse. There are reserved spots for drivers but not enough for us all so I just find an available spot and head on in.

Entering the building, there is a sign with instructions to take anumber from one of those machines like in a deli and have a seat until my number is called.

So there I sat (and here I sit today) until my number is called. When it is my turn, the warehouse wheels out a cart full of goods and I scan the orders in using the same Flex app on my phone. After making sure that the orders are complete, off I go following the turn by turn directions on my phone to the customer’s address.

Arriving, I click I’ve arrived and read for any special instructions from the customer or notes from previous deliveries by other drivers. I deliver the package (or not deliver if circumstances warrant), log in who I delivered it to and I’m off to the next location. The most that I have had are three stops but I have delivered to almost every city.

Looks like my number is coming up soon so I will cover pay in a future post. I should have more information then anyway as I am still awaiting my very first paycheck! Yay!!!

Read more on The good, the bad, and the Ugly of being an Amazon Flex Driver.

Amazon mTurk: The Introduction

Now that I am no longer working for Leapforce, you will probably hear me mention mTurk quite a bit.

At least until this blogging business takes off enough for me to be self-supportive.

Go Team!

Ok, there’s really not a team…just me….hence the mTurk to pay a few bills.

What the -blip- is mTurk

What is Amazon Turk?

Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk) was the first crowd-sourcing job site that I had ever heard of. Requesters put up tasks and workers complete them.

On mTurk, tasks are known as HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks).

What about the money?

Ah, the money.

The most important part of mTurk for any worker bee.

One of the problems that I’ve faced when attempting to explain mTurk to the uninitiated is that they approach it with the “job” mentality.

“How much per hour?,” is a frequent question.

And my answer…it varies.

When you first start mTurk, you will literally be making pennies.

Mostly because not many HITS will be open to you.

The best way to explain is that many requesters see HITS as equal to a good worker with experience.

So, you will often see HITS that you do not qualify to do because you need xxx amount of successful hits.

In addition, many of the hits that you qualify to do only pay $0.01.

But that is where experience, batches, forums, and scripts come in…

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Watch for that in the next mTurk installment post.

I think that would be a bit much to take in all at one time.

I’m still learning them myself…

As far as income, though, I have seen turkers (mTurk workers), earn $400 – $500 a week.

One turker is conducting an experiment to make $100 turking a day.

A day!!

Back in my mTurk hey day, I was averaging about $7 – $8/hour so the money is there.

Share the gift of mTurk with anyone who needs to earn extra money with no commitment. Or, y’know,…CLICK TO TWEET

What type of work is available?

There are practically HITS for everybody.

Like surveys?….you get a HIT!

Prefer research?…you get a HIT!

Loves you some transcription?…you get a HIT!

Everybody gets a HIT!!

(Ok, putting my inner Oprah away now!)

Is mTurk a scam?

Amazon Turk has been around since 2005 and, hey, it is run by Amazon.

Plus, I am staking my reputation on the fact that they are legitimate and do pay.

And that it quite a sacrifice considering mTurk does not even have a referral program.

What sucks about mTurk?

  • Your favorite tasks are probably everybody favorite tasks so they tend to disappear quickly so grab ’em when you see ’em.
  • Some of the things they want you to do are not equal to the amount of pay they are offering (skip ’em)
  • To make the most money in the shortest amount of time, you will probably need to add scripts to your computer
  • It can be slow to start earning some big bucks until you get a handle of all of the scripts and pick out your favorite requester to stalk
  • Some of the requesters are straight up scammers. Avoid anyone that asks for your personal information such as social security number, credit card number, or phone number. In fact, report them as this is against mTurk policy.
  • Amazon is kinda hands off in a dispute between the worker and the requester which is why workers have banned together with a script to let you know who has a reputation for rejecting hits or just outright not paying.
  • There are times when mTurk is so slow as requesters take weekends and holidays off
  • If 3 requesters ban you, mTurk will ban you and all of your money that you have earned is lost. Which is a sucky system because you could have hundreds of thousands of good HITs and a 99% approval rating and still have your account banned. Come on, Amazon, you need a better system than that!
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What is awesome about mTurk?

  • Work when you wanna or don’t work at all. No clock to punch. No schedule. Nada.
  • Many of the tasks can be done from a mobile device so you aren’t chained to your computer.
  • It is available to some foreign countries (Check with mTurk to see. Please don’t ask me. I have no clue about your country.)
  • You can pick and choose what you feel like doing from what work is available.
  • If you chose a HIT and don’t like it, you can return it. No questions asked.
  • There are so many scripts that make your life easier and your money more plentiful (thanks script developers!)
  • You can chose to have your payout in the form of cash direct deposited into your bank account or you can take it in the form of an Amazon gift certificate added directly to your Amazon balance.
  • You can request payout everyday. Yes, that’s right, I said everyday. And it is not a high minimum either, something like $1. I’m the nervous nelly type so I cash-out every night. Too many online companies have disappeared with my money in their pockets.
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Did I miss anything in this introduction to mTurk? If so, leave it in the comments and I will update it pronto. There is another part of this series about getting started with mTurk coming up soon but, if you’re ready to get started, go ahead and join mTurk today.

Apple, Adblock, and Ad Revenue for social bloggers

In my google news feed, I read the news that Apple is now actively encouraging its customers to download an ad block software in IOS9.

My first thought was, and still remains, and “oh, noooo!!!” on behalf of my niche blog which is my biggest Adsense earner.

Unfortunately, a great deal of the traffic for that website comes via mobile devices and a healthy percentage of that are Apple devices.

Users of browsers and Android can already block ads to:

  • Save bandwidth
  • Increase pageload speed
  • Just block ads
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However, many people across the web don’t even know that ad blockers even exist.

Until now.

How will Apple's push of ad blocking software affect your blogging income-

On the other hand, a part of me cheered.

Because now:

  • social networking advertisement will become more important than ever.
  • an expected increase in sponsored posts and social shares.
  • the price that brands will be willing to pay will increase.
  • Google will probably find a way to beat Apple at its own game someday.

This move may actually be great for this, my lifestyle blog, and the only one on which I currently accept sponsored posts.

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I just hope that the uptick for one blog does not come at the expense of the other.

Especially as my niche blog is more or less passive income.

How will Apple’s push for ad blocking software affect your blogging income?CLICK TO TWEET

So, do you think that Apple’s strong push for its users to use any one of soon to be thousands of ad block software will affect your blogging income?

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