Mechanical Turk: Earn Money Doing Random Online Tasks

What is a Mechanical Turk?

According to Wikipedia, "the Amazon Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing Internet marketplace that enables individuals or businesses to co-ordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks that computers are currently unable to do."

What does that mean? You get to do tedious task that computers can't do in exchange for money. It's not as boring as it sounds. A while back, I saw a fun listing to label inappropriate scenes in a movie (real Hollywood movies). By the way, mturk calls its listings "hits" - I know, odd name, but I can assure you, these hits, these jobs, are legit and legal.

How Much Does it Pay? 

Example: Mturk Payout
I've seen hits for up to $100 and some as low as 25 cents - it really depends on the job. 25 cent jobs are commonly quick study surveys, higher paying ones are usually transcribing audio, labeling movie scenes or more intensive surveys.

Most high paying hits require a qualification test. For example, for a language translation hit, you need to take an unpaid language literacy test. Once you receive qualification by passing the test, you open more hit opportunities.

What do you actually do?

You are introduced to a wide range of activities. Here's some hits examples I've seen.
  • Research Surveys - most hits are surveys
  • Transcribing Audio - convert audio to text
  • Video Tagging - watch a movie, mark the scenes with drug, language and sex
  • Usability Tests - test websites so they can see how you interact
  • Text Editing - check text for errors
  • Voice Recordings - read words and record it
  • Write Copy - write marketing copy, write reviews (I've always suspected that some reviews online are paid)
Sometimes you find odd ones that ask you to make facial expressions on your webcam while they record it...creepy?

How Much I Made

After around 10 low paying surveys, I made $10.50. Of course, you can probably make more. Some hits payed out immediately, some took a day to pay. I didn't try the higher paying hits because they required 30 minutes or more, and I didn't have the patience for it.

The reason I signed up for mturk is because I had this crazy Cinderella story idea of how someone can use the money they earned on mturk and use the easy extra income on risky, but high paying investments, like penny stocks. That idea is in pause right now. Stocks made me sleepy. You have to sift through so many penny stocks, do very close research since penny stocks are very high risk. During the day, you have to be alert, know that right time, the right second, to buy and sell. I can talk about stocks later. I've only played the virtual market, I'm too chicken to do the real thing...anyway, got off topic.

Is it Worth It? 

It's free to join, it's free to look at hits, it's free to do the hits and you earn guaranteed money as long as you finish the hits. Yes, I think it's worth checking out. Become an MTurk ►


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