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Making Money On Amazon Mechanical Turk

Nowadays, many people who are looking for ways to supplement their income often find what they need through and from the internet. They make use of free resources to find easy jobs, such as microtasking, which they can do during their spare time so they could still perform well in their full-time jobs. These microtasks are available from different websites and online platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk or MTurk. If you are wondering about the possibility of making money on amazon mechanical turk, the details below will surely help you so keep reading.

How To Make Money On Amazon Mechanical Turk

The MTurk platform, which Amazon runs, offers anyone the chance of earning money from home using a computer and internet connection. Although technology has improved a lot throughout the years, there remains various tasks that humans can do more effectively than machines and computers.

The inspiration of MTurk dates back to 1769, when a Hungarian nobleman named Wolfgang von Kempelen came up with a mechanical chess-playing automaton. It toured Europe back in the day and became popular for defeating several renowned chess players like Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin.

This automaton comprised a life-sized mannequin dressed in robe and turban and sat behind a cabinet. Kempelen called it Turk, and he convinced the audience everywhere the Turk toured that he created a machine that made game decisions with amazing artificial intelligence. People came to believe this because Kempelen often opened the cabinet doors to show an intricate set-up of gears and springs. Yet, Turk’s amazing chess performance was not because of superb artificial intelligence. Its secret was actually a chess master hidden inside the cabinet.

The concept of Turk is like the concept of Amazon’s MTurk. The microtasks that workers complete on MTurk are further used in the highly advanced world of technology. A huge temporary team of workers usually complete tasks like research, content moderation, and data duplication. Yet, this method consumes both time and money and is often challenging to calculate.

MTurk offers researchers, software developers, businesses and companies with the option to crowdsource or to break down a manual and lengthy project into microtasks (smaller, handier tasks) that workers over the internet could complete. Figure 1 illustrates how MTurk works.

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Figure 1

Requesters are software developers, businesses, entrepreneurs, companies or researchers who need to complete a project. They post the tasks on the MTurk marketplace. If MTurk accepts your application, you could then see a list of these available tasks on your dashboard.

Tasks Available On MTurk

You could browse through the MTurk’s website to read more about this system. Figure 2 shows an excerpt from its FAQ page that explains the work you can post or complete using the platform.

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Figure 2

It says that requesters can post virtually any task that requires human intelligence and judgment. They call MTurk tasks as Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs and they are usually things that computer algorithms are yet to handle effectively.

1.  Video/Image Processing tasks may include tagging of objects in an image to enhance advertising or search; helping companies choose the ideal image to represent their products; auditing the content of user-uploaded images/videos for content management; and classifying/identifying objects in satellite imagery.

2.  Data Verification/Clean-up helps companies to verify details and identify duplicate entries in their huge online directories/catalogs. Companies may post tasks such as removing duplicates from a business listing, identifying incomplete entries, verifying contact details and operating hours of a business and converting location data into complete addresses.

3.  Information Gathering or Data Research tasks could include collecting and editing information through answering questions from a computer or a mobile device, filling out surveys or market research forms, writing website contents and finding specific data in documents.

4.  Data Processing assists companies in comprehending and responding to various types of data. Workers could accomplish tasks like transcribing/editing audio content, translating content, rating search result accuracy, and categorizing information.

This video will show you how to take on and complete HITs on MTurk. Check it out.

From this video, you'll know that you might not qualify to take on all tasks you could see on the MTurk worker's dashboard. There are tasks where you could request qualification. You will find your MTurk worker ID at the upper right portion of the dashboard page. Be sure to get familiar with the dashboard as it contains various important details. It has a list of hits where you could also read the name of requester, the qualifications, the time to complete the HIT, and the reward/payment. You may skip HITs, which you feel or think you might not finish on time (probably depending on the time you want to work on MTurk for that day). This is because you cannot pause a HIT once you have accepted it and resume when you have free time again.

 Requirements

Figure 2 contains important details regarding the requirements imposed by MTurk from anyone interested in joining its marketplace. You need a computer with an internet connection. You also need to be at least 18 years old.

For these tasks mentioned above, you need to possess the skills of paying keen attention to details and the ability to understand/follow instructions. It is also important that you have the efficient skills of using a computer and searching the internet or making the most out of the resources on the internet that will help you accomplish your tasks.

How Much Does It Cost To Join?

It costs nothing to join Amazon Mechanical Turk.

How To Apply/Join

To join MTurk, you need to sign up at mturk.com. However, you might not get instant approval. You need to wait for about 48 hours to receive an email from MTurk that says whether you get accepted or rejected.

Not all who apply get accepted. If you search and read more resources from the internet, you know that MTurk rejected some people. What these people find somewhat unsettling is that MTurk did not state the reason for their rejection. Some people think this is because of the country where they live in and MTurk has no available tasks in that country. Others also assumed that this is probably because there were many people who also sent their application and that the MTurk system could not handle the volume of applicants. However, Amazon also stated in the email that if its criteria for invitation changes, the rejected applicant could then get an invitation to complete his registration. Many people have attested to this.

Once application gets approval, MTurk will ask for your social security number, supposedly for taxation purposes.

Probation

New workers on MTurk undergo a 10-day probation. During this period, you can only complete up to 100 accepted HITs. Accepted HITs include all submitted, returned, and expired HITs. During this period, complete at least one HIT per day. Once the probation period is over, your cap will increase to 3,800 HITs per day.

Potential Income

The image in Figure 2 shows that MTurk allows workers to complete tasks according to their own schedule. This means that the amount of earnings or rewards you will get may also depend on the time you can dedicate on completing MTurk HITs.

On MTurk, most requesters are academic requesters with limited budgets. Some requesters are from tech companies that require human-processed data to use with their Artificial Intelligence algorithms. The reward for each HIT varies, which is why you must read all the details on your dashboard. For example, a HIT to transcribe a receipt will pay only $0.01, while a HIT to summarize a text block will pay $0.35. You may also find HITs that pay more, such as a behavioral economics survey that gives $1.

The time that a HIT will take to finish also influences the pay rate. For instance, a survey that will take 10 minutes can pay $1 while another HIT that will take 5 minutes can only offer $0.10.

Increasing Your Income Potential

You should not impulsively head over to MTurk to accept and complete HITS once you get approval without first arming yourself with knowledge. MTurk is not a get-rich-in-an-instant platform. You will need dedication and patience to accumulate the amount of earnings you prefer or need; or you could practice more resourcefulness by looking for other ways to make money online.

The video you just watched mentioned some ways you can increase your income in MTurk. Remember that there are higher paying HITs available on MTurk. Follow some useful tips to become an alpha or hardcore Turker who could get these HITs ahead of the casual and regular Turkers.

You need to check out some tools and resources that will help you achieve this goal. Here are some of them.

1.      Check out websites like Turkopticon. It is a website where Turkers give rate to requester’s generosity, promptness, fairness and communication. This site will help you filter out and avoid bad requesters).

2.      Install browser extensions and scripts like Turkmaster.

does amazon mechanical turk work

Figure 3

Turkmaster shown in Figure 3 is a page-monitoring web app or browser extension that will help you find HITs according to criteria like pay and time. This is a tool that will help turking more efficiently. Another extension to check out is   Mmmturkeybacon which will tally your projected earnings in a day.

3.  Join forums like Turkerview, MTurk Crowd and MTurk Forum. These online resources will provide you with tips and other helpful information for a more productive turking. If you have some concerns or issues, you may also post them on these forums where other members may post their answers to your questions. Forums are like extended support you have as a Turker.

Once you have established yourself as a MTurker, you may qualify for Master Worker and Premium Qualifications that could provide you with better earning opportunities.

Looking back to Figure 2, you may read that you may opt to transfer your earnings to your Amazon Gift card or to your bank account (if you are eligible). You should read more about payments on the FAQ page of MTurk because you need to know the specific details and requirements on receiving payments depending on the country where you are at.

Increasing Your Potential Income From Microtasking

MTurk is only one of the numerous platforms that online jobseekers and workers go to for microtasking positions. As you have known, sometimes you will find very few available HITs to which you are qualified. Considering this, you may check out other similar websites and platforms on microtasking. If there are few HITs on Amazon Mechanical Turk, just log on to another microjob website to see jobs. Here are some MTurk alternatives to see.

1.      Swagbucks is another popular site for online workers. Some reviewers only care to mention about Swagbucks surveys, but this site offers a lot of ways to earn money. One noteworthy facet of this site is it allows you to earn money through cash back. You shop online from its partner stores and sites and get cash back for your purchases. You may redeem your earnings through Amazon gift cards and PayPal.

2.      Respondent is the website to check out if you want to participate in either online or in-person consumer research initiatives. According to reviews, this company pays an average of $140 per hour. Yet, be realistic to understand that there could be no consumer research projects daily and you could earn money only when there are available studies that fit your demographics and qualifications.

3.      Maru Springboard America is another consumer research and survey website that will pay participants to share their opinions on products and services. Reviewers say that it offers higher payouts than others, but requires you to have a minimum of $50 to withdraw your earnings.

4.      Survey Junkie is like Swagbucks in a way that you will earn points instead of cash for assignments you complete. Here, one point is equivalent to a penny so you need 100 points to get $1. To cash out in gift card or cash, you must have at least 1,000 points.

5.      PrizeRebel is another GPT or get-paid-to website where you can complete different tasks for cash, gift cards or merchandise. Reviewers claim that they earned $10-12 per hour on surveys and other tasks at this website.

6.      InboxDollars is another website to check out. Just for signing up, it will give you $5 bonus and you could work your way until you can accumulate $30 to redeem through PayPal, check or electronic gift card. Tasks here include completing surveys, reading emails, watching videos, scanning in-store products, searching the web and printing coupons.

7.      Opinion Outpost is another great alternative to MTurk. It allows you to cash out at a minimum of $5 via PayPal or Amazon gift card. Each survey you complete lets you take part in a quarterly draw for a chance to win $10,000.

8.      American Consumer Opinion is a survey panel open to all. Short surveys here will take 10-20 minutes to complete and will pay about 5-50 points. Longer surveys will take over 20 minutes and you could earn 100-5000 points. ACOP Surveys, like in any survey panels, have their set of qualifications that you need to meet. You need at least 5000 points to redeem them in cash.

Work Schedule

Working at MTurk lets you enjoy a flexible schedule. You can work whenever you want.

amazon mechanical turk tips

Figure 4

This is one of the many reviews you will find about the website. The reviewer said that he makes his own work schedule and works at his own pace. As mentioned earlier, the more time you put in to complete tasks, the more money you will earn.

Benefits / Bonus/ Increase/ Training Provided

Working on microtasks is not like other online jobs such as a web search evaluator, where training is necessary. Microtasks are small tasks that you can complete just by following simple instructions. Aside from a flexible work schedule, another possible benefit to get as MTurker is the bonus.

make money mechanical turk

Figure 5

Figure 5 explains that a bonus comes from a Requester as an additional grant money. If the Requester is very much satisfied with your excellent job, he will grant you a bonus.

Conclusion

PROS

  • You have a flexible work schedule.
  • You have a lot of online tools and resources to use for a more efficient and productive turking.

CONS

  • Despite the useful tools to find the highest paying HITs, many users have claimed that these HITs come when you are working in your regular job. Thus, if you only have nighttime to work on MTurk, you will definitely miss these highest paying HITs.
  • You need to first ensure that you will receive your earnings in your preferred method. Not all countries have the implemented payment method of MTurk.

Working at Amazon Mechanical Turk, for some people may seem like a waste of time. This is understandable considering the very low pay rate for HITs. If you want to pursue a part time/freelance career as MTurker, you need patience, perseverance and resourcefulness to get past the uncertainty of not making enough money to consider the job worthwhile. Just like any other job, you can improve your efficiency as long as you remain dedicated to what you are pursuing. If there are no available HITs you are qualified to take on MTurk, you may check out other microjob websites or apply to other online jobs.

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