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.

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