13 Mar 2011

Amazon Mechanical Turk

I discover Amazon Mechanical Turk about a year ago, more or less; just flipping through my Amazon Affliliates Account. I was very surprised by it, having tried other work-from-home jobs that turned out to be fake, or other sites that, even though the weren't fake, the minimum amount you had to reach for payout it made it almost impossible for you to see any of the money, and you more or less ended up working for free.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is not like that at all.

How this works, is, in theory, very simple. Big companies like Youtube, Ebay, or even Amazon itself do continuously outsource menial and repetitive task that usually a computer can't do. For instance, lets say that you are looking for a particular video in youtube, and you type in the search box 'Whitesnake, greatest hits' but all you get is a video of the latest hype of Lady Gaga. Now that, my friend, is disappointing. The workers at the Mechanical Turk will get little jobs (aka HITS) on thousands of videos, where they have to classify whether or not they are truly Whitesnake, or Lady Gaga. This is usually very easy to do, and you mostly watch the videos and tick in the boxes in the ready-made questionnaires.Some other times, the videos will be of adult, x-rated material, but you are told so before you decide to accept the HIT, so it is entirely up to you whether you want to watch it or not. Ebay also outsources a great deal of his work, too. This means usually checking that products are in the correct categories.

 But this is not everything you can do with Mechanical Turk. Other jobs are: checking for keywords (usually people) on a particular website; translating small documents or sentences from one language to another (that is, if you speak any other language than English); transcribing audio texts; checking products information; or even writting small articles. These are only a few of the examples you will find in Mechanical Turks.

 Sounds great, doesn't it? Well, it is about to get better. One of the greatest thing about this website, is that you can register for free (truly, for free) and start working right away. For certain HITS you will require to pass a qualification, you can do so within the same system, and if you pass it, you will be able to do that particular HIT, and any other upcoming HITS in the same category. Some other times, certain HITS won't be available to you because of the location of your country. Don't despair, there are millions and millions to choose from.

 Money, money! What about the money? Am sure you are wondering about that. Every HIT pays differently, you can earn anything from 1 cent to 50 dollars on a single small job. How much do you earn, it will depend on how much time and effort you are willing to put in it. How do you get paid, then? There is no minimum you can request for payout. For certain countries, they will be able to transfer directly to your account or send you a check. Unfortunately, at this stage, you can't withdraw your winnings in many countries, but you can transfer it to your Amazon account and use it later to buy whatever you want to. I usually do this and get all my DVDs that way. Some other times, I will buy something more expensive, like a laptop, and then sell it on Ebay for the same price I paid, so I can get the cold hard cash that I paid for it.

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