Amazon Mechanical Turk
It's really a shame that it is so hard for people to make money on the internet these days. The dot com bubble has receded and scams are plentiful on the web. There are, however, a couple of legitimate ways to make a few extra bucks online, Amazon Mechanical Turk, or MTurk for short, is one of them. The idea of MTurk is to hook up programmers with people that do tasks that computers can not, these tasks are called HITs (Human Intelligence Task). These tasks include article creation, creative thinking, image tagging, cleaning up text, translations from images, verifying business websites, relevance of internet searches, transcription of audio and the list goes on and on. During the weekdays there are, on average, about 130,000 tasks for people like you to complete. But don't be fooled, there are scammers that lurk on MTurk as well, luckily they are few and far between. I will get in to how to pick these guys out later, and it is quite easy. Each task you complete successfully you will be given a reward which is decided before you do each task. Here are a few easy steps to get started MTurking!
Step 1 Step 1 Create an Account
Go to www.MTurk.com and create an account with them.
Step 2 Step 2 Link Bank Account
You can choose to link your bank account with MTurk, or decide to be paid in an Amazon gift card.
Step 3 Step 3 Start Turking!
View the HITs page and see what tasks are available!
Once you get your account set up, which takes a matter of minutes, you can start MTurking! The way it works is that you complete a task and then it is pending until the requester (the person who wants the task done) reviews it. The requester will review it and accept or reject your work. Do not submit bad work because it will be rejected, always read the instructions and follow them. If your work is poor it will be rejected and that will go on your rejection rate. The rejection rate is very important because many requester will only allow people with an acceptance rate of, usually, 95% or above. Many requesters will require you to have qualifications, these can vary from simple requesting a qualification or taking a test that is relevant to that task. As far as how much you get paid, that is always shown before you do the task. Beneath the name of the task is how much they will pay you for each successfully completed task, and next to that is how many of those tasks are available.
I mentioned scammers on MTurk at the beginning of this article. Amazon does not monitor MTurk so you have to take this one on by yourself, but don't worry there is help! These scammers do exist and they are a threat to your acceptance rate. The scammers need tasks done for them, as do all requesters on MTurk, but these guys will take your work and reject it (even if it is perfect) so they get the completed work but without paying for it. These people are usually pretty easy to spot. Be on the look out for tasks that ask for your email or personal information such as your first and last name. Never do HITs that want you to go to facebook and comment on something, and always stay away from HITs that require to go to another website and there is no confirmation code that ensures them that you did the work (you will understand what I mean when you start Turking). But still, they can slip through the cracks and right by you. I highly recommend that you download the Turkopticon browser extension. This extension will put a small drop down list next to every requester's user name that shows their fairness (in reviewing work), generosity (in pay), promptness (in reviewing your work) and communicability in a grading scale from 1 to 5. These grades are made by the various MTurkers who have done work for them. This is a great extension and can help you immensely, I think it is essential for you time at MTurk. The extension can be found at http://turkopticon.differenceengines.com.
- A great forum for EVERYTHING about MTurk is http://www.turkers.proboards.com. The people there help greatly whether you are a newbie or a MTurking machine!
Amazon MTurk can be a great way to make quite a bit of money. In the beginning you will be making very little, until you get the hang of it. I have been doing it for about a year now and I make about $50 a day (in my free time!). Don't be discouraged, you will get the hang of it very quickly and be earning more than just beer money. Here is a list of great requesters that you can make a real profit from:
Channel Inteligence, Retail Data, Andy K, Josh Gormley, Content Galore, Caltech Vision Group, organic query, Product Listings, Product RnR, ProdUniverse, RelavenceQuest, Rockler Turk, Simple Tasks, John Gaddy, ClariTrans, Castingwords, Oscar Smith, Dolores Labs.
These are just a few of the many greats on there. There are a whole lot of other (smaller) greats on there right now!
Enjoy MTurking and Good Luck!