Recently, I have been asked by several people for an easier way to make money online. No website, no technical stuff. Just something legitimate and straightforward that pays. So, I did some research and discovered Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Hmm…the name does give the impression that you are bound for some kind of heavy-lifting job, doesn’t it? Anyways, I went ahead to apply for the program as I am curious to find out if the Turk is worth it or not.
What Is Amazon Mechanical Turk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk, aka MTurk, is a crowdsourcing platform that hires people to complete various levels of tasks online within a designated time frame. Initially created in 2005 for Amazon’s internal use, MTurk is now part of the company’s web services and engages more than 500,000 workers from all over the world.
How Does It Work?
While waiting for Amazon to approve my account as a Turk worker, I looked around the marketplace, trying to figure out how this system works. Online tasks are called HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) and the companies that post these tasks are called requesters.
HITs can be viewed readily on your user dashboard and they look something like the image below.
(A) As you can see, there are more than 440,000 thousand HITs available online (at this point in writing).
(B) Workers who are consistently fast and accurate with their HITs will earn the Master’s distinction and will be qualified to access higher-paying work tasks and private forums available only for Masters.
(C) You can search for HITs according to the date of creation, reward amount, or task expiration date.
(D) A brief title on what the task is all about.
(E) The date the task expires and the time allocated to complete it.
(F) The payment offered by the task, its availability, and preview.
That is pretty straightforward, right? Now, let’s see what type of tasks are available in the listing.
- Complete a survey about your emotion pays $0.70.
- Find the logo for business pays $0.05.
- Annotate a social post pays $0.20.
- Classify paragraphs for a legal topic pays $0.10.
- Transcribe 30-minute audio pays $10.00.
- Categorize an image pays $0.01.
- Categorize dissatisfied customer’s feedback pays $0.03.
- Data entry for receipts pays $0.07.
Generally the harder the task, the more the reward. However, each of these tasks must be completed within an allotted time, ranging from 2 minutes to 24 hours. Ideally, you want to complete each one as fast as possible so that you can move onto the next task to maximize your earnings.
How Do You Get Paid?
When your work is approved by the requester, you’ll start to see earnings in your account. For the US and India workers, the payment can be transferred to your bank or convert into an Amazon Gift Card.
For international workers, you can only transfer your earnings into an Amazon Gift Card.
How Much Does It Cost?
It doesn’t cost you anything to be a worker in MTurk. But you’ll need the approval from Amazon before you can actually work on any HITs (I am still waiting for mine right now).
So, Is Amazon Mechanical Turk Worthy of Your Time?
True enough, MTurk is easy to get started. As long as you have a good internet connection, you don’t need to set up websites or learn anything too technical. If you can allocate 1-2 hours a day working on several HITs, you could earn a couple of dollars.
Even so, that could still be lower than the minimum wage per hour since most of the payment reward is so minuscule.
Higher paying HITs are definitely more rewarding, but they usually require the workers to meet certain qualifications. Unfortunately, there are no fast forward methods to this level other than consistently producing good quality work to increase your ratings.
As simple as it seems, the system has its limitations;
- Requesters can refuse to pay if you submit inaccurate work. Do this a few more times and your ratings could tarnish, thus affecting your future HITs.
- You could write to the requesters to ‘rectify’ the inaccurate work submitted (which may take days), but say, for a $0.05 task, is it worth the trouble at all?
- Some requesters provide vague information in describing the task which could make your job a bit more challenging.
- Each worker has a certain limit to the number of HITs that they can accept each day. So even though you are willing to sit in front of the PC for 24 hours, you can’t do all the HITs that you want.
While looking through the tasks in MTurk, I asked myself if surveys or data entry is what I like to do online. Chasing the timer to complete a task doesn’t sound like an enjoyable or creative work. Even if I have the entire time to myself, I am not sure if I want to spend my energy doing something mundane like this for the money.
I would actually prefer doing something with recurring income such as becoming an Amazon Associate. At the very least, I am not bound to any restrictions and I can get involved in niches that I really like. There’s a bit of learning curve when it comes to affiliate marketing and that’s why you need a good resource to guide you.
A great place for you to get started is at Wealthy Affiliate and here are some of the tools that you can benefit from.
After 48 hours, I finally received an email from MTurk.
My application has been denied. Oh well…I wasn’t too hopeful anyway. Creating a business website was way faster than having to wait for the approval, so I am glad I am on the right track to making long term money online.
Time to move onto the next business opportunity folks 🙂
Do you have any thoughts or questions about making money with MTurk? Just leave them in the comment area below and I’ll get back to you.