When it comes to making extra money online doing short tasks, Amazon mechanical Turk is one of the most popular sites.
Mturk is so popular among freelancers that they have a large community on Reddit under the mturk subreddit where the post reviews of “Requesters” (the term used on mTurk for employers)
It’s a pioneer in crowdsourcing.
The good news is that you can use the site anytime and anywhere to earn few bucks in your free time.
I have been using this site for a long time now. And in this post, I’ll be going over how it works, what you should expect. Basically giving you a complete review of Amazon Mechanical Turk, so you can decide whether Mturk is worth your time or not.
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What Is Amazon Mechanical Turk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk ( commonly referred to as mTurk,) is a crowdsourcing marketplace owned by one of the biggest companies on earth, Amazon.
It is a place that companies and individuals outsource small, yet time-consuming tasks (known as “HITs”) that can not be done by machines, to freelance workers.
- Writing posts
- user testing a website/app
- tagging images
- data mining
- and much more.
How Does It Work?
It’s very simple really.
- Employer deposits money into their account.
- They then post a task and how much it pays.
- As a worker (if you’re interested in doing the task) complete the task.
- Employer approves or rejects the completed work.
- If approved, the pay is deposited into your Amazon account.
- You can either deposited to your bank account or use it to shop on Amazon.com.
Mturk has its own unique terms for some words and phrases that knowing them will help you get going faster.
Here are a few major ones:
- Hit – A task/gig that you get paid to complete.
- Requester – The client/employer, who posts a job and pays you to do it.
- Worker – The freelancer who works on hits.
What Is a HIT?
HIT stands for Human Intelligence Tasks.
Tasks that, as I mentioned above, can only be done with the help of an actual human being and not by robots and machines.
These tasks are relatively simple and can be completed quickly. In fact, the majority of them can be finished in less than 20 to 30 seconds.
So what kind of tasks/Hits are we talking about?
Here are a few examples:
- Say a company/website has thousands of images in their archive. They want to organize these images so people can find them by searching with related terms and keywords. They go on Mturk and ask you to look at each image (as many as you want/can) and describe each in ten words or so for $0.07.
- A company is trying to find out how user-friendly their site is. They’ll post a “Hit” on Mturk, asking you to visit their website, spend 20 seconds looking and playing around, then come back and fill out a quick multiple-choice survey for $0.15.
- Identify the differences between 2 images that are seemingly identical by looking closely at both images.
- You’ll be asked to look at a specific photo within a page, and point out whether the image is an unlawful one or pornographic.
Amazon Mechanical Turk Average Pay
It’s hard to put an average number on what you can make on mTurk.
It really depends on the task – how difficult it is, how long it takes, etc.
Most tasks pay pennies.
This may sound like a bad deal but it is not that bad considering that most tasks take only 10-30 seconds to complete.
Think about this…
Let’s say you get a hit that pays $0.10, but that hit will only take you roughly 20 seconds to finish.
So working for an hour will fetch you about $18.
$18/hour isn’t that bad considering that the average minimum wage in America is somewhere around $8.
Of course, there are also bigger tasks that pay much more. For example, there are writing tasks that can pay as much as $100 for a 700-word article.
However, remember that competition for high paying hits can be quite stiff. Keep in mind that other workers would want these high-priced hits too. So, you have to be really fast in grabbing these hits. Consider refreshing your browser when searching for tasks to help you get those high paying hits.
Bonus Pay: Now, most Requesters also pay bonuses for jobs well done. So, ensuring you do the job as it was requested is a great way to earn more than the actual rate stated for completing the hit. Depending on how much the hit pays, the bonus can be as low as a few cents to as high as $20-$30 (although bonuses above $20 are rare.)
How Do You Get Paid?
Here is how the getting paid part of it works:
- You submit the completed hit.
- The client approves it.
- Once your work is approved the money will be automatically transferred to your Amazon Gift Certificate account.
Once the money is there, you can either transfer the money straight to your bank account, or you can simply keep and add it to your Amazon.com gift certificate balance and use it to pay whenever you shop on Amazon.
Is Mturk Legit?
Like many other online money making methods, there are some people who think Mechanical Turk is a scam.
But it’s not!
Mturk is a legitimate micro-freelancing job site backed by one of the biggest companies in the world.
What more proof do you need for its legitimacy than the fact that it is owned by Amazon!
I have been using Mturk both as a “Requester” and a “Worker” (requires two different accounts) for a few years now.
And while as a Requester I have had a lot of bad work done by workers, I haven’t had any problem as a Worker myself. I have always gotten paid for my work.
That said, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals and companies that use the site. So, you never know who you’re dealing with. But these are (mostly) real legit companies. So if you do actually follow their directions and give them what they ask, you’ll get paid.
I never experienced any scam myself but have heard of few folks who didn’t get paid despite doing everything right. But those are far and few in between.
If you think your submission was wrongfully rejected, you can always report it to mTurk. They’ll look at it and determine the outcome.
The Bottom Line
I personally use Mturk both as a Requester and Worker, and I think it’s great for both parties.
As a Requester, you can get small and repetitive tasks that can not be automated using tools and software, quick and on the cheap without having to hire a full-time employee.
And as a Worker, you can earn extra money on the side.