Amazon Mechanical Turk– make some cash on the side

Amazon Mechanical Turk, also known as MTurk, is a way to make some extra low-effort money from the comfort of your own home. There are many websites out there that claim to provide a quick buck, but many of them mostly consist of watching advertisements and completing surveys for very little money (That you might never see).

This service from Amazon is completely legitimate, but not necessarily for everyone. It won’t replace your day job– but it can make  you some extra money on the side.

Make some money with MTurk

Amazon mechanical turk's logo

The premise behind the website is fairly simple. There are two types of accounts on MTurk: Workers and Requesters. Requesters posts HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks, for workers to log on and complete.

There is a wide range of tasks available on the website. Workers could complete academic or product research surveys, transcribe audio, or translate text between different languages.

Workers are compensated for their time, and the requester sets the rate. For example, a requester might need 200 participants for an academic study about how people interact with each other. They estimate that the study will take 20 minutes, and decide to pay $4.00 to anyone who completes the task. Once 200 people accept and complete the HIT, it’s pulled from the marketplace.

Completed jobs are submitted to requesters for approval, so you have to pay attention to the task at hand. Requesters are known to put in special questions called “attention checks” in place to make sure you’re not just clicking through aimlessly. Assuming you completed the job to the correct specifications, the requester will approve it and you’ll get the money deposited in your account

From this point you can choose to keep the money in an Amazon Payments account or transfer it to your bank. Money on Amazon Payments can be used to shop on Amazon (unsurprisingly) if you don’t want to worry about transferring to your bank account.

Is it worthwhile?

So what’s the catch? The money isn’t great–you’re not going to be able to replace your current job with this one.

Making the US-minimum wage of $7.25 with MTurk can be difficult at times. It’s possible, but lucrative tasks aren’t always available. Furthermore, the work can be extremely monotonous. You might find a batch of 1000 short transcription tasks that’ll keep you occupied for a couple hours but data entry gets old very quickly.

More realistically, you’ll probably make around 5-6 dollars an hour– though his might be too low for some people.

Where MTurk shines is in its flexibility. Your work sessions can be as long or as short as you want them to be, and you can start and stop at any point during the day. You never need to leave the comfort of your own home, so anyone can make an account and start working. You have no deadlines to hit (outside of time limits on individual tasks), and no boss to worry about.

MTurk is a great way to save up for small internet purchases like e-books or whatever leisure item you want from Amazon. Put on some music, brew up come coffee, and start on that new batch of tasks. Just don’t expect to quit your day job.

Give it a shot.


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About the Author
Brian Galloway is an unabashed tech geek based in Nashville, Tennessee. When he's not obsessively searching for the next computer upgrade, he's probably curled up on the couch with a book and the day's third cup of coffee.
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