Amazon’s Work At Home Opportunity sent out an email about Mechanical Turk this morning, which they describe as "a great way to earn extra money during your free time"...

You can select from a variety of tasks and work whenever and wherever it's convenient. Most tasks are very simple to complete and require no prior training. And, best of all, the money you earn can be paid directly to your bank account (or into an gift certificate balance).

As you can see from the screenshot below, its a freelance marketplace where you can either accept jobs or post jobs that you need done...

I put a feeler out on Twitter to get some feedback, and got two responses:

"Get paid $3 per hour average 🙁 = Cheap Labor :)" from JD

"I found lots and lots of work for pennies. Felt like my time was more valuable somewhere else." from Gary Sorensen

Interestingly, no one commented on MTurk from the perspective of "Requester" (posting jobs/tasks), but I would assume from this feedback that its a great place to outsource simple work. With that assumption, I searched the blogosphere for more feedback. This is what I found:

"Note to self, use Turks for insanely simple tasks rather than those that require thinking. Still though in term of getting things done I’d consider using the Turks in the future (again, for very, very, simple tasks only)."
source: Crowdsoucing Rocks! (err maybe)

"Mechanical Turk (in its present state) is fairly reliable, meaning that about 80% of the work you get will be useful. People generally mean well. However, workers won’t read complicated instructions and follow them to the letter."
source: Working with Mechanical Turk

Anyone have personal experience from either angle?


P.S. I found this video on YouTube from an MTurk user:
(I'm thinking he could clean the kitchen maybe... 😉 lol)

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Blaine Moore says:

    I looked into using the Mechanical Turk, but it has always been easier to just hire somebody through elance instead.

    I am a big fan of the Amazon Simple Storage Service, though. Amazon S3 gives you ridiculously low-cost web storage so that you don't cripple your website by putting a video or audio file on it.

  2. Sandy Naidu says:

    No idea about Mechanical Turk...But I agree with you - the kitchen needs to be cleaned...

  3. Katherine Reschke says:

    I have played around with MT as a user and definitely agree there are waaaaay more useful and profitable things I could do with my time. Some of the better paying tasks can get very complicated and sometimes the instructions are written in such poor English that it is difficult to make head or tail of it.

  4. I've heard a few times of the "mechanical turk" thing before, and not too many patrons have said that it's worth their time or effort, so calling it a "work at home opportunity" seems to be far fetched...

    Anyways, I like amazon and their associate program... It just seems that compared to many other affiliate networks out there, the commissions earned are minuscule compared to other products on the market. I've sold books, and ended up getting 1 or 2 dollars in commission against an article that took me an hour to write.. it just doesn't seem worth my wild...

  5. Yeah I got the same email - went to check it out - didn't take much math to figure out any income would typically come out to $3.00 per hour - I can get paid $3.00 per hour basically giving away my skills and having a LOT more fun. I feel like this targets desperate people (or people who can't do math) - not what I would call fair trade. ~megan

  6. chrislrob says:

    I still find the most interesting part to be the cheap outsourcing of very simple work. Or paying a little money for very quick answers to questions that are simple to some but not to you.

    The power of the net to increasingly allow you to pay for EXACTLY what you need for a price that is closer to EXACTLY the work involved by taking advantage of individual's surplus hours continually amazes me.

    For example, "Transcribe 3 minutes of audio for $0.85 within an hour of your hiring."

    You can't get that in the physical world.

    So you can get 30 minutes of audio transcribed for $8.50-$10.00?

    Not bad.

  7. Daniel Gebura says:

    Well I looked at the hits available at Mechanical Turk and I also don't think the time I would have to spend completing tasks is worth tiny reward.
    Personally I would suggest to do online surveys instead. I think they are a way more fun and rewards are usually better as well.

  8. While somewhat shameful I use the service to hire people to build backlinks to my websites and blogs.
    It's cheap and effective.
    It's best if you are very specific in
    your hit tasks as to not seem that you are hiring spammers.
    For instance, I ask people to post on their favoritve forum about a magazine they subscribe to, why they like it, and how it relates to their hobby and of course include a product link back to my site.
    Or I just ask they put a link in their forum sig.
    Cheap traffic generator.
    Willie Crawford has hit's on there all the time

  9. M Turk is great if you can take the simplest task you need done, then think up a way to split that into about 3 even-simpler subtasks that no person could possibly screw up, then expect about 20% to still manage to do it wrong. Still, you get what you pay for, and I'd rather have an 80% success rate for people tagging pics for a nickel than waste hours of my own time doing the same mindless project correctly.

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