Is Amazon Mechanical Turk Worth It Or A Total Waste Of Time?

Is Amazon Mechanical Turk, also known as mTurk, worth it or a total waste of time? Let’s explore here!

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Amazon Mechanical Turk is basically a crowdsourcing site, where multiple people can request work to be done for them, and others can do it.

How mTurk Works

Upon signing up to mTurk, which is done through an Amazon account, either new or existing, your application will be reviewed, and you will be informed in 48 hours of your acceptance. (There’s no real reason not to be accepted if you live in the USA.)

You will then set up an Amazon payments account, which is how Amazon pays it workers as well as sellers, and which is linked to your bank account. The money you earn will be transferred to your bank account after a few days.

After finishing that, you may begin working by accepting HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. The tasks are usually fairly simple, such as transcribing audio and video, extracting items from shopping receipts, visiting and testing websites, transcribing data, answering surveys about topics that you qualify for, etc. etc.

The pay, however, is very low, usually averaging at under 5 cents.

If you qualify for a certain task, you may take it, and if accepted by the requester, you will get paid.

You do not have to have any special qualifications for some tasks; but for others, you will need a certain acceptance rate and/or amount of accepted HITs; for yet others, you will have to take a qualification test.

Almost anyone can work on mTurk; however, you do need to live in the USA.

Pros &Con

  1. Pro: Fairly easy tasks.
  2. Pro: Choose when you want to work.
  3. Pro: No minimum payout required.
  • Con: Very low pay.
  • Con: You will not qualify for all tasks.

So, Is Amazon Mechanical Turk Worth It? Can It Really Be True?

I personally don’t think so. Others might disagree.

Let’s do a sneaky quick “experiment”:

We will test and find out a few things about:

  1. HITs that pay at least 75 cents; and
  2. HITs that pay at least 10 cents.

We will find out:

  • How many of them are there;
  • How easy it is to qualify; and
  • What is an example of the qualifications that may be required.
HERE WE GO!!!

So, I’m logged into mturk.com, and it tells me that there are 219,231 HITs available.2015-09-24-13-10-11

 

Next, I search for those that pay at least 75 cents:

This Is The Result

This Is The Result

Now, let’s see how easy it is to qualify:

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Indeed, WHY??? What do I need to qualify??? Here’s an example:

50,000 approved HITs + 99% approval rate

50,000 approved HITs + 96% approval rate

So, I understand, but what about HITs that pay at least 10 cents??? Surely I’ll have better luck!!!????

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And…

Around 10%

Around 10%

Easier to qualify???Hmm…

Better Luck? Not Really.

Better Luck? Not Really.

What to they want from us already??

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10,000(!!) HITs approved, 97% approval rate, USA

As you can see, starting off it’s not easy to qualify for “higher paying jobs”.

It’s much easier to qualify for lower paying jobs:

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Conclusion:

You certainly don’t have to worry about mTurk being a scam, as it’s owned by the Amazon monster. However, it’ll be quite difficult trying to earn anything substantial, to say the least, as we have seen from our little experiment.

Maybe, eventually, you could earn enough for the bare minimum needed to survive. A true sweatshop.

One More Thing Before I Leave You

I know this is silly, but…

I Just Wanted To Show You

I Just Wanted To Show You

Also, it’s not rare to have your amazon payments account suspended.

This the reason I never got a chance to work at mTurk:

Whatever.

Whatever.

 

 

WARNING!!danger-do-not-enter-sign

Although mTurk itself is not a scam, that doesn’t mean that the job posters aren’t. Although most are not scammers, BEWARE!

NEVER give over personal information to ANY job poster, ESPECIALLY if they promise to pay $10 for a few minutes.

So that’s what I think about Amazon Mechanical Turk. What do YOU think?

 

You may be interested in:

Is Wealthy Affiliate A Scam Or Not? My Personal Experience

Will The Instant Payday Network Really Pay You Instantly?

The Daily Paycheck Network — A Paycheck A Day, Huh

 

14 Comments

  1. Melinda

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for the review of mTurk. I have just heard about it lately and was going to look into it more as a way to earn some extra cash. However, your review has me re-thinking that agenda. I would hate to spend my valuable time working at something that won’t pay me anything. I appreciate the heads up. Is the suspensions of the Amazon Payments account just happening without a reason that you know of. I will be getting with Amazon soon and that concerns me..
    Thanks, Melinda

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      Hi Melinda,

      I have no idea why the Amazon Payments account was suspended. I hope they do not do the same to Amazon sellers.

      Reply
  2. Chris

    Wow this site was a real slow deal 4 years ago I hope it’s got better since then! Really poor tasks that paid a few pennies and a super slow payout scheme. If you are looking to make over $20 a week you are best staying well away from this one! Not for the success hunters!!!!

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      Thanks for sharing 🙂 You gave me a good smile.

      Reply
  3. ellen

    I like the way you took your readers through the whole mechanical turk experiment. Yes, I can see that there is not too much profit in that. It’s always interesting how a person rarely qualifies.

    I must confess that I had never heard of mechanical turk before. Amazon is rather a big giant.

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      I am glad you liked it, Ellen.

      All the best to you.

      Reply
  4. Gina

    So I’ve been working on MTurk for about a week now since my data preparation job online has been slow. It takes a while to make money but it’s better than nothing! I haven’t really bothered trying to qualify for better tasks because I don’t want to mess up haha.
    I like doing the surveys from 30 to 80 cents, probably my best way for the money to add up.

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      In my personal experience, it is pretty hard to find a lot of these fifty cent jobs, but maybe it is possible.

      Reply
  5. Gloria

    I have heard about Mechanical turk somewhere before. It sure doesn’t look like a place where you can earn much. I think you could earn more doing surveys. I know of a site called your word where you can earn gift cards to places. It’s a real site and they do pay as I have earned quite a few $5.00 gift cards to amazon.

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      Uh-huh, I can’t figure out why in the world anyone would “work” on mTurk.

      I’ll definitley look up Your Word and maybe even review it.

      By the way, I don’t think taking surveys online is worth it either — it just pays too little.

      Reply
  6. Lynne

    This is a brilliant review. I have also heard the same about Mturk. Maybe Amazon and Mturk are legit yes, but who can control all the requesters and what they do? I heard it is quite common for requesters to take your work and then decline it and not pay, they then say the work was not up to standard. This means you can do perfectly good work and just not be paid. I am not very fond of this idea at all!

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      Oh really? That’s good to know. I haven’t really thought about such a possibilty. I know that in places like iWriter,they make it impossible for the requester to use the work without paying. (It’s not foolproof, but it’s something.)

      Well, that’s just another reason not to use mturk!

      Reply
  7. Ante

    I agree with you about it being a waste of time although it is legit. Basically people here are working for peanuts, it’s better to have a real business online, that’s where a serious income is.

    Anyways just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work with your content.

    Regards,

    Ante

    Reply
    1. Ben (Post author)

      Yes, Ante, you’re right on target. And by the way,
      You obviously aren’t going to buy in the grocery 1 Peanut? Two peanuts? Not even. Last time I checked at the supermarket they were selling peanuts for $1 or 2 a can/jar. (Pretty cheap for nuts, I must say. Cashew for example seem to cost $6-8 dollars a can.)
      So basically you’re working an hour or two for a can of peanuts. That’s not a lot, my friend.

      Reply

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