How to Earn form Mturk


    The Amazon Mechanical Turk or MTurk is a service that was created so that those who need work done can hire thousands of human workers for much less than minimum wage. Each task is called a HIT and it can be as simple as clicking a link and as complex as writing an entire computer program. If you are a worker in the system you will not be compensated very well, but there are quite a few ways the work requesters are profiting from this service.

What is the work?

Mturk provides a fairly accurate description of likely HITs. HITs are submitted by a large pool of companies. These companies are typically using workers for tasks that could potentially be completed by computers, but not as well. Some tasks that fit under this category are translating, transcribing, rewriting/rewording sentences, and verifying contact information for businesses. Other tasks include writing descriptions of pictures or videos, identifying adult content, taking part in research studies and surveys, and writing short articles.

Some of the HITs pay very little and are very time consuming. However, there are some gems, such as some surveys that only take about 5 minutes and pay $1.00 or more. My favorite HITs are rewording sentences. These often only pay $0.02 to $0.04 each, but I type very quickly, so I do well with these and they typically pay out quickly. There are some scam HITs that make it on to Mturk even though they go against Mturk's policies. I have come across some that require credit card info or social security numbers to request auto insurance quotes. Sometimes the HIT takes you through several pages after you have accepted the HIT, and then it says there are no more HITs available. I have written both Mturk and the Requesters (companies) about these HITs, but I have never received compensation for these tasks. I now stay away from tasks that pay $2 or more for "Usability Tests" or setting up profiles on websites.

How hard is the work?

Many of the HITS are very simple. For example, it does not take much skill to reword a sentence or identify adult content. There are some trickier HITs that include math and grammar tests, though! Some of the Requesters require you to be a native English speaker and they test you before they allow you to complete any of their HITs. It would be very time consuming to work this opportunity as an actual job. Some other earning method are Blogging, and Freelance.

What is the work availability detail overview?

Sometimes HITs from my favorite Requesters dry up, so I sign out because I don't want to waste my time wading through scam HITs. Other times, there are several hundred HITs available from my favorite Requesters. Requesters post new HITs pretty often and there are always a large amount of HITs, just not always ones I'm interested in completing.

When you first start, you have to be very patient. You won't make anything substantial at first. You may need to take a qualifications test to even be allowed to accept the job. The good news is, for each type of task, you only have to do this once. You'll also spend a lot of time looking through the various tasks figuring out which ones you want to do. Well, you're not making money by browsing. You have to actually accept something to make money. Don't be alarmed by the low pay the requesters are offering for your work. While some of them are definitely not worth it, there are those that are. I find the ones that offer extremely low pay for the amount of work they want done take a LONG time to get done. Workers will do one of these hits, decide its not worth their time, and move on. But, if there's 800 people out there who do one of the 800 low paying HITs, they will eventually all get done. That doesn't mean you have to. The higher paying and simple HITs go pretty quickly.

You will find out after a few days which requesters you enjoy working for, and which ones to stay away from. After you decide the HITs you like, when you log on and see them, you don't need to waste time browsing. You can just go right to them and start earning money. Let's delve a little deeper.

One of my favorite requesters is Casting Words. They will pay you to transcribe audio. At first glance, it doesn't seem like much. They may pay $0.75 to transcribe, say eight minutes of audio. But, if you look closer, that's the base pay. You can earn up to three times that amount. They pay more for better work. Read the style guide, then sign up at their website so you can view your edited copies. Use the "auto-pause beta". This will pause the audio after playing for however many seconds you choose so you can catch up, then pick up where it left off. It's useful and it helps me to transcribe the audio faster. Casting Words will score you. A high score will yield more HITs that you are allowed to do for them. The higher paying ones are saved for those who have proven they are good. They will also pay you to edit other people's transcripts after a while too. So, its worth looking into if you have good grammar and can type at a decent speed. Since I type 80-100 words per minute, its easy for me to go through these. I take them whenever they're available.

If you can write pretty good there are requesters who will pay you to write 200-500 word articles for them. You don't even have to know about the subject, just research it online real quick and type it up in your own words. These will pay you $1.00 - $5.00. There are also rewrite HITs available. Look at a sentence and write an original sentence that means the same thing. These sentence rewrites pay $0.04 - $0.06 and usually come in batches. Click on the HIT and if you see one you have an idea for type it in the box below. Skip it if you can't think of one quickly. Just keep scrolling through until you see one you can do without putting much thought into it.

You can also take surveys. These pay from $0.01 - $2.00. Sometimes you just have to answer a question, and other times you have to complete a survey and copy the completion code into the submit box. These are easy and don't require much thought at all.

Sometimes people will ask for your opinion. They may have written a book and need a title for it, or they'll ask which image you like better. I once did a HIT for someone who was trying to decide what to name their baby. I clicked on the name I liked better than most. You just never know what people will put on there.

There are also companies who scrub the internet looking for adult material. They'll ask you to click on a page or look at an image and report whether it's pornographic, illegal, or inappropriate.

Some requesters are compiling a database for different kinds of companies. They may pay you $0.03-$0.05 to go to a website and find the phone number. It's usually on the first page. So, its pretty simple.

I did a slew of HITs last night where I tagged images. The pay was $0.02 to write 4-10 words about an image. I did about 100 of them in an hour.

There's just so many different kinds of things people will use Mechanical Turk for. You may think to yourself, "I'm not doing any kind of work for a penny". This is what my reaction was as well until I gave it a fair try. I do the penny HITs if it will take me under 30 seconds to complete. Check the "automatically accept next HIT" box and go, go, go! The penny HITs I do are ones that I don't have to go through more than one page. There's a requester that will ask you, "Are these two items different". You don't have to navigate away from the page. You look at them real quick. You check yes or no. You move on. Takes 10 seconds. Another penny task I will do is click on a link provided to me, take a quick look at the website, close the window it opened up, go back to the HIT, and check a box saying what kind of webpage it is. Simple. Again, if its taking you more than 30 seconds to complete, or you're having to search through multiple pages of a website to find the information requested - move on.

The best way to work on Mturk

As a transcriptionist, it’s not the best rate you can work at. But it can be a useful filler to your freelance transcription jobs. Earning a fulltime income on Mturk may be extremely difficult. However, if you plan on using Mturk to earn some extra money here are a few suggestions.

· Choose HITs that need qualifications, they tend to pay more. That means basically, to try and qualify for CastingWords and SpeechInk jobs.

· Devote a block of time to log on to Mturk everyday or whenever you can. Most transcription jobs will require at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. I was able to complete 5 minute interview audio in 30 minutes for $1!

· Before your accept HITs, first read all instructions and listen to the audio (you can even download the audios beforehand to see if you can do justice to it.

· Give the tests or qualifications required to be eligible for better jobs. I think your ultimate goals should be to work as a reviewer (proofreader). That way you’ll complete more jobs faster and the pay seems to be a little bit better.

· Use it as a filler, not your main source of income.


I think it’s good to be aware of such sites where any transcriptionist can make money online. If you are new to freelancing it may be a good training ground. For veterans, it’s a filler you can utilize when you are lean on freelance transcription jobs. So far, I’ve worked on two HITs each paying $1 each. I think I will be working on it soon.


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