Is Amazon Mechanical Turk Worth It?

Time consuming tasks for low pay, is Amazon Mechanical Turk worth it?

There are 500,000 MTurk workers around the U.S. seem that seem to think MTurk is worth it (figure according to Forbes).  It is a great site for little bits of productivity during breaks and downtime, but steady work can also add up to a $10 an hour job if you know your way around the site.

MTurk can be daunting at first, though.  It is a little intimidating to see so many task options at start up, you’re unsure about which of them will be a huge waste of your time.

And I’m sure that most of you were just as surprised as I was to log onto the site for the first time and see .01 and .03 cent tasks.  I didn’t stay long for that visit, that’s for sure.

Related:  List of Amazon Mechanical Turk alternatives, including UK and Canada equivalents.

But there are many different reasons why a person would purposely choose to work for such low, unappealing rates.  The experienced MTurk worker knows that those low rates can add up fast.  It’s all about learning from your mistakes and figuring out which tasks will bring in the most money.


Swagbucks is definitely worth your time. Make money from searching and shopping too!

How does Amazon Mechanical Turk work?

 

Is MTurk worth the pennies it pays out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTurk is a crowdsourcing site.  Crowdsourcing is a way for an employer to get help from the masses of willing people to do his work or complete tasks for a per-task payment.  A few examples of these task would be:

  • Select the correct spelling for these search terms
  • Is this website suitable for a general audience?
  • Find the item number for the product in this image
  • Rate the search results for these keywords
  • Are these two products the same?
  • Choose the appropriate category for products
  • Categorize the tone of this article
  • Translate a paragraph from English to French
The majority of the tasks, or HITS, available on MTurk are incredibly simple and can be done very quickly.  Others are harder and not worth the small payment offered.
You, as a worker, are offered small tasks to do, and shown the exact payment you will receive after you’ve successfully completed it.
See the Slideshow presentation at the bottom of the page for step-by-step instructions on how to get started with making money on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

 

When/How do you get your Amazon MTurk payments?

Within 48 hours, you’re credited in your Amazon Payments account that you’ve set up for free.  If you choose to link your bank account to your Amazon Payments account, you can transfer that cash directly to your bank.  The transfer is simple, and only takes a few days to arrive after you’ve initiated the transfer.  Otherwise, you can still spend your hard-earned cash freely on Amazon anytime you want.


POWERPOINT ADS2

So, is Amazon Mechanical Turk worth it?

After you get through the newbie stage, yes, absolutely.  It takes a little bit of time in the beginning to become qualified for some of the better HITS.  In a sense, you have to prove yourself as a serious worker who is actually trying to do a good job.  After a short time, you’ll be given better-paying opportunities.

After a while, everyone gets the hang of it.  You’ll quickly learn which HITS will be easy and worth your time.

You will start to learn how long certain hits will take you, and automatically start each HIT by calculating its worth by hourly wage.

How to Make the Most on Amazon Mechanical Turk..

  • Take your qualification tests.

If you’re offered a qualification test, take it.  Certain individual requesters have more strict requirements.  This usually means that it’s a better paying job, and qualifying for it will open up more opportunities for you to make better money now and down the line.  So even though it might take a little more time, you should always try to qualify for the good HITS.

  • Start out doing as many quick, low-paying hits as you can.

A lot of people quit MTurk because they’re not being offered any good HITS that are worth the payment

being offered.  But the opportunities get much better the more successful completions you get under your belt.  The point is to just get your number of (successful) completed tasks up above 100, and this can be done in only a few days.  You’ll be qualified for more jobs, the more money you can make, and you’ll have fewer competitors for qualified HITS.  So, stick it out.

  • Keep track ofthe time it takes you to perform different types of tasks, so you can calculate hourly wage for future similar HITS.

If the hit’s pay divided by the actual time it takes you to do the job, gets you about 10 cents, then you’ll be making a little less than minimum wage.  If you aim for 15 to 20 cents per minute, you’ll average closer to $9 and $12 an hour.  Of course, at first this is a little harder to calculate because you don’t really know how long each task might take you.  But after a few hundred completed hits, you’ll know which types of HITS take too long and just aren’t worth your valuable time.


If you think MTurk is worth it, give FusionCash a try. It's worth your valuable time.Does MTurk always pay?

Amazon pays, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that.
However, what you should keep in mind is that Amazon is only transferring those payments from the requester’s account to you–it is not Amazon paying you for completing these tasks.  You’re working for actual people out in the world.
After you complete a task, it is up to the requester of that HIT to approve or reject your work.  If you’re rejected, then you will not get paid, and your approval rate takes a hit.
Most requesters are good, meaning they will do right by you as long as you correctly complete the tasks to the best of your ability.  But, just like in the real world, people want to get everything for nothing.  These are the requesters you need to learn to avoid.  It’ll be up to you to figure out which requesters aren’t paying fair value of the work they’re asking you to do.  I will tell you about a good fix for this problem in the next section.

To filter through the HITS, MTurk scripts are essential..

MTurk scripts are sort of like plugins for your browser.  Some of them are extremely useful for saving valuable time when working on HITS.

In order to be able to install scripts, you must first download the plugin.

greasemonkey

GreaseMonkey Extension for Firefox users

 

 

tampermonkey

TamperMonkey Extension for Chrome users

 

 

After you’ve installed one of these addons, you can install your scripts.  Here are a few must-haves:

  • TurkOpticon gives you reviews on each requester.  There are some requesters who refuse payments too often, which can in turn hurt your qualification rate.  Turker reviews will tell you if you should avoid working for any requesters in particular.  This is an absolute must-have for any MTurk worker.
  • Discover Fake Availabilities categorizes the hits for you in a productive way.  Too often, after clicking on a hit that sounds good, you’ll get a message saying “There are no more hits available in this group”.  Discover Fake Availabilities script highlights all your hit choices in different colors, including highlighting those empty groups purple.  This will save you from wasting time clicking on dead HITS.
  • Context Menu Search allows you to highlight text.  Some HITS will require you to do a Google search for certain terms, but the MTurk pages do not let you copy and paste any text.  You have to actually open a new browser and type out your text into the search engine.  This may not sound like much now, but after a few of these, I actually paused my work to go and search for a script like this.

Check out more valuable MTurk scripts here, including instructions for installing.  They’re all absolutely free!


Another excellent MTurk Resource:

MTurkList is a great site that shows you recommended hits.  They also calculate how long it will actually take you to complete each one, and the hourly-wage figure.  You will always find good hits in here, but they go quick.  So you’ll need to refresh every few times you go back to the page, or you might end going to a bunch of dead hits.

The only downside to this site is that you’re forced to see a five second ad each time you click through to a hit.  But for new workers who don’t yet know the good from the bad, this is incredibly helpful.

 


Some things you should know..

If you haven’t signed up yet, they have a two day “waiting for approval” period, and in my case, they took the full two days before they let me in.

 

Is Amazon Mechanical Turk worth it.. don't forget to click the HIT button or you'll lose all your work.

 

  • Don’t forget to ACCEPT THE HIT first!  I cannot stress this enough.  More than a few times I have forgotten to click that “accept” button at the top.  When you realize it, all the work you’ve done is deleted and you’ve wasted that time.

Click through these slides for guided instructions on getting started and completing your first HITs on MTurk..

Is there a Canadian’s Amazon Mechanical Turk?  Or an MTurk UK?

Unfortunately, no. Amazon stopped accepting workers outside of the U.S.  Apparently there was a lot of scamming going on from outside of the country, and Amazon couldn’t verify the identity of overseas account holders. Amazon would close an account for abuse or fraud, and that person would just open another account in another name.  So, because Amazon can easily verify the identity of US residents, and ban them from the site if necessary, they only allow U.S. residents as workers.  They do, however, accept MTurk Requesters from multiple countries.  You can find an extensive list of MTurk alternatives for non-US residents here.

WealthyAffiliateBanner


 MTurk is not the only site online for making extra cash online. Check out this list of great online jobs and alternative crowdsourcing sites.

You can also earn a good part-time income taking surveys in your spare time.  Here’s my list of top-paying survey sites that pay cash.




9 thoughts on “Is Amazon Mechanical Turk Worth It?

  1. “You’ll get about .10 cents.” Don’t you mean you’ll get 10 cents? If you get .10 cents, that’s one-tenth of a cent. If you mean ten cents, you can either write it that way, or 10¢, or $0.10, but not .10 cents.

    1. OUCH! That hurt, I’ll admit.. But you’re absolutely right. I will adjust this post (and possibly one or two others where I may have made the same careless mistake), and learn how to better accept constructive criticism in the future.
      Thank you, I am glad you were here to catch that for me. Please feel free to proofread anything else I’ve written here..
      Angie

      1. I guess I’m different from other readers/writers. When I see errors within an article, I send the author an email or contact them some other way. I’m not out to embarrass anyone. Now that I have that out of the way…. I liked this article. I started with them a while back and stopped since I couldn’t figure out the site and it didn’t seem worth it. I came back to them since I have free time in between clients. I am living proof that you can make money on Turk. I would not suggest using them as a main source of income but, instead, using them as a part of your income.

        1. The mistakes other people make always pop right out at me as I’m reading. They drive me crazy, but I suffer through them in silence. No matter how many times I proof read my own writing, I always seem to miss many mistakes that someone else has to find for me! That quality of observation is probably a big part of your success on MTurk. You (and all the people who correct me here) are just who those Requesters are hoping to find when they post their jobs. I should post my future articles on MTurk so they can be proofread by observant people like you ahead of time!
          Thank you so much for your comment, I appreciate the helpful feedback.
          Angie

    2. And you are using “don’t” in the wrong way. The right sentence structure is….Do you mean you’ll get 10 cents? The way you put it, it would sound like this….Do not you mean you’ll get 10 cents?

      Judge not for others will judge you….

  2. Angie, thank you for taking the time to type this all out and help out the newbies. I’m signed up and ready to go, but I am a little bit nervous about it.

  3. Thanks for the great review. Its refreshing to see that there are some legitimate opportunities on the web for average people to make some extra money on the side. I stumbled across this site and now I am glad I found it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *