Monday, April 27, 2015

In My Opinion: Amazon Mechanical Turk

Lately I have been having more discussions about how people are earning money online and in every discussion Amazon Mechanical Turk would pop up. Amazon Mechanical Turk, or Mturk is a website where companies post small simple jobs or tasks with a small payout after finishing the task. This money can eventually be either put straight into one's Amazon account or be given by Direct Deposit. I decided that I would take spend an hour on Mturk and decide after the first review if I would go ahead with a 30 day challenge to see if it really is something that people could make reasonable money off of.

I first created an account in only a few minutes, but was told to wait up to 48 hours for my account to be authorized before I could start looking at the small jobs called hits. Fortunately only 2 hours later I received an e-mail stating that I had been authorized! That was good since I may have forgotten about this challenge all together after 2 days. 

0:00 -I first just decided to go for the first hit that I was qualified for. This happened to be a transcribing task where I typed a few originally handwritten numbers for $0.02 cents each. It didn't take much thinking and I whipped out about 6 in 5 minutes. However these were quite easy,  and $0.12 cents in 5 minutes or a $1.44 an hour didn't seem quite worth it.

0:06 -I then decided that maybe I would take a shot at the great abundance of survey hits that were available. My first survey asked to respond to a few News headlines for $1.00. This only took about 4 minutes. Much more worth my time.

0:10-My second survey I actually enjoyed very much. It was a decision making survey worth $0.75, however I clicked because it said that I had the ability to earn up to an extra dollar. In this survey I was given certain amounts of virtual money and was given options of giving, investing, or taking money from others. It felt sort of like a game. It took about 8 minutes and I earned an extra $0.44 bonus. Not great, but not bad either.

0:19 - I continued for the next 20 minutes working on surveys. I did a $0.50, $0.80, $0.50, and $1.00. A tip for the surveys: most of the surveys are very short and don't even get close to the 30 minute or 45 minute allowed time to take. For the short amount of time, I found these to be satisfying. 

0:40 - While looking at what my next Mturk adventure would be I noticed that there were quite a few tasks that required a qualification or qualification test. I made a mental note to look deeper into these for further explanation, but didn't want to spend the time to take tests that were unpaid at the moment.

0:42 - I chose to do a few more lower paid tasks just to see what they were like, and chose a task where you search for a given word in the screen's search bar that brings up an array of youtube videos for $0.05 each. In the videos you just clip it to a scene where it was describing the original given word. After doing the first video, I was able to churn out another 8 of them in less than 5 minutes. $0.45 in that time frame is ok. 

0:43 - Wasted one minute being frustrated that I messed up one of my videos clippings by not clicking on "submit" before clipping the video. Make sure to always click "submit" before doing any work!

0:45 -  By sorting the hits by cost, I was able to avoid the small paying hits altogether. This saved quite a bit of searching time, and knowing I would be getting better pay (at this moment I just put the search at $0.50 or higher). 

0:46 - Sorting was a godsend, because I found myself on a task where I look up a restaurant on a company's website and write a 50 word review for $1.50. Not only did this only take 5 minutes to complete, but the task allowed for double submission if you reviewed a completely different restaurant. $3.00 in 10 minutes? I would thumbs up that!

0:57-I started to slow down and looked at my overall success (if you want to call it that). To my surprise I already had $2.44 worth of approved hits and $1.32 paid into my account! (I will mention that you are not allowed to transfer any earnings until ten days after your first approved hit)

Altogether I found that I earned a total $8.49! This amount is however pending approval and payment from all the hits. 

What do I think? I found that you can make ACTUAL money on MTurk. Is it enough to live on? Probably not. I wouldn't go quitting a day job or any job for that matter to sit and fill out surveys all day. Although if you want to earn a few extra dollars here or there while watching TV, then go for it! Mturk looks like it could be a useful way of filling up small spaces of time, however I would recommend getting a part time position if you find yourself with large spaces of time that need to be filled in money-making opportunities. 

I decided that I will be continuing the goal of either doing one hour or $5.00 worth of Mturk every day (whichever comes first) to learn the bells and whistles so I can write an update post of tips and results. I feel that I will better answer a lot of the qualification questions you all may have or how to benefit even more from Mturk! Stay tuned!

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