I recently signed up for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program. Now, before I ever try out or sign up for anything – I always do my own background research (Google searches) on this stuff. I don’t enjoy unexpected surprises and if there is any, I can blame myself.
This is a legitimate marketplace that brings workers and employers together. If I had to compare it to anything – I would say it’s like freelance websites (freelancer.com) where people post jobs they need done and how much they will pay upon completion.
What exactly is mTurk?
The easiest way to explain mTurk – Simple tasks that need to be done by humans but can be done online. These tasks, also called Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), can be anything from Google searches to transcribing. Once a task is complete, it will be checked and you will be compensated if completed correctly. The compensation for each task varies depending (usually) on the difficulty. To find out more about mTurk, check out the FAQs.
You can start immediately after signing up.
No training necessary.
All HITs are completely optional and you can view them before accepting.
You can return HITs – Meaning there’s no hard feelings if you decide you don’t want the task afterall.
Most HITs are (dare I say) fun.
What’s not so great
There are levels of qualifications – I understand this of course but it gets annoying when you can’t accept certain HITs because you aren’t qualified for them.
My account got suspended within the first few hours of use. Apparently this is pretty common. Being in no rush, I sent them a friendly email saying I was suspended and asking what I can do to fix it. I got an email back basically saying I couldn’t be helped (ouch). The problem lies within Amazon Payments. They integrated mTurk with their payment system so the problem is that Amazon Payments locks because it can’t verify you, which then locks your mTurk account. Apparently the only way to fix all of this is to call customer support.
You are forced to use Amazon Payments and it was the reason I was locked out of mTurk. Having the choice to use PayPal would be an ideal option but since there is rivalry – that will likely never happen.
Since the Mechanical Turk marketplace is still in it’s beta, problems are inevitable. The only real issue that has taken place is getting suspended. Other than this issue, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace is a great place to look into… if you are in the mood to make some extra money. If you’re searching for other micro job websites, I recently signed up with Clickworker and will hopefully have a review soon. Also, you can check out my review of MicroWorkers.