Artificial intelligence and the so-called Internet of Things have gotten pretty advanced lately. I’ll admit, I sometimes worry that my toaster will become sentient and take over our neighborhood. But there are a few things that still require human judgment.
That is why Amazon created the Mechanical Turk platform. It’s a way for companies to hire people to do tasks that require “human intelligence.” It also happens to be a great way to earn money. I gave the platform a shot, and here’s my Amazon Mechanical Turk review.
What is it? And What’s Up With that Weird Name?
The original Mechanical Turk was a chess-playing machine created in the 18th century. The machine featured a humanoid robot that moved the chess pieces. The machine was operated by a human hiding underneath the table. Since its invention, the Mechanical Turk has become a symbol for human-driven tasks - which is what Amazon was probably thinking about when it launched this platform.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing internet marketplace that connects businesses and individual service providers. These workers, also known as “Turkers” do tasks that a machine cannot do, such as identifying musicians on audio recordings or choosing the best photo of a specific subject. These tasks are known as Human Intelligence Tasks, or HITs.
How it Works
You sign up, and make yourself available as a Turker. The site will then present HITs that are available in the area. You can then choose to take these jobs for the specified pay. In this regard, it’s like Uber for odd jobs.
As mentioned above, the tasks involve a human’s touch. A wide variety of HITs are available through Mechanical Turk. They may include the following:
- Writing reviews of movies or TV shows
- Transcribing voice recordings
- Curating images
- Identifying people
- Rating websites
Earning Potential on Mechanical Turk
Pay per task ranges from five cents to $100, if you’re lucky. I honestly can’t predict how much you’ll make because it depends on the businesses that use Mechanical Turk in your area, and the amount of available HITs to take. I made decent money - not enough to retire on, but good enough to supplement my regular income.
How Does Mechanical Turk Pay?
The site pays in either cash or Amazon Gift Cards. Cash is deposited directly to your bank account. Pretty sweet.
But note that there is a minimum $10 payout for cash, and $1 for Amazon Gift Cards. So you may want to save up your earnings before requesting a payout. If you go for the Amazon Gift Card option, you can expect the card to be sent to your email inbox within the day. Since I usually buy stuff on Amazon anyways, I really dig that!
How to Join
All you have to do is visit the link below:
…then create your worker account. If you’re a business owner and would like to hire Turkers, you can also create a Requester account on this page.
And that’s it! Amazon has always had a pretty good user experience, so it’s not surprising that signing up for Mechanical Turk is also easy.
What I Like and Dislike about Mechanical Turk
Just because Mechanical Turk is owned and run by Amazon doesn’t make it perfect. So after a few months of taking jobs on the site, here’s a breakdown of things I like and dislike about it.
Great User Experience
Sign-up is super-easy, and so using the site to get HITs in my area. No complaints there.
Since Amazon attracts a more discerning clientele, I got some pretty interesting HITs like surveying a museum and identifying the works of famous musicians. Pretty fun!
You Get Your Amazon Gift Cards Pretty Quickly
I love this! No waiting for days for PayPal funds to clear. You can request a payout (at a low minimum!) and get your gift card within the day.
Low Pay for HITs
Working on Mechanical Turk doesn’t offer the highest pay rates. I lucked out and got paid $100 for a museum-related HIT, but that was the exception, not the rule.
Few Available HITs
Other sites, such as Fusion Cash, Clixsense , and InstaGc have more thriving user bases. That said, I hope Mechanical Turk catches up! More users on the site means more opportunities for the rest of us.
The Verdict: Legit or Scam?
It’s Amazon, so you know it’s legit! The site could still use some improvements (a mobile app being at the top of my wishlist) but as it is, it’s a solid way to earn a few bucks.
Amazon Mechanical Turk Screenshots
Click to Zoom
This review is based on my own experiences working using Amazon Mechanical Turk. Now it’s your turn to share! How you tried getting HITs on the site? How were your earnings?
Let’s hear your stories!
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