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How to Use Amazon Mechanical Turk to Make Extra Money Whenever You Want

I recently read about a service Amazon provides called Mechanical Turk which intrigued me. Unlike other online sites that look for contract help, the Amazon Mechanical Turk service seemed to offer easy to accomplish tasks that could be completed by almost anyone with a computer. Little to no experience is required for many of the money earning assignments. And that sounded like something perfect for anyone who needed some help to make some cash in exchange for doing some work on a flexible schedule.

The more I read about Mechanical Turk the more I came to believe this might be a good resource for my friends and readers to make some good side income with little effort. Now don’t get me wrong, when I talk about a side income, I’m thinking in the $50 a week range but hey, for anyone living on a tight budget, that kind of money means you can treat yourself to something nice instead of dipping into an already tight budget. We all need that.

Not wanting to recommend a resource to you I had not tried myself I decided to post an assignment to see how it worked. The article below was completed for me by a Mechanical Turk worker. I figured a worker that routinely completes assignments would be better able to explain how it works. So I posted a task assignment as a requester, that’s what they call job posters. I offered to pay $20 for an article that was completed within one day and what you see below is the result.

From the articles and advice I’ve read from others completing tasks, the key seems to be just to jump in and quickly accept the next task you are qualified for. Don’t spend time hunting for the perfect task, just do them next, next, next, etc. While basic tasks may only pay $0.10 they are easy and quick to complete. It does not take long to complete a task in less than a minute so in an hour, with little experience, you can make $6 to $10 depending on how fast you are.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is not a get rich quick scam or one of those make massive income in your spare time ripoffs. It’s a real work at home opportunity where you get paid for doing real work. With no commute, no crappy boss, and working when you want, the Amazon mechanical Turk service is worth looking into for someone wanting to make some extra dosh.

How to Use Amazon Mechanical Turk to Make Extra Money Whenever You Want
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The Mechanical Turk Article

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a money making resource available to anyone with a computer, internet access, and a little extra time on their hands.

From signing up to transferring earnings to a valid bank account, the entire process of the Amazon Mechanical Turk website is simple and easy to understand, unlike some of the “easy money-makers” that are advertised on the internet these days.

Survey websites that claim to pay money may come with a string of responsibilities or offers that you must sign up and pay for before you can get paid by the website providing the service.

With a little patience and a few spare minutes, you can be making extra money every day and generate a decent sum of money by the end of just one week.

Signing up is free and requires no extra work if you already have an Amazon.com username and password. If not, you can set one up and use the same bank accounts, e-mail addresses, and information that you use when you utilize Amazon.com with Mechanical Turk.

How to Use Amazon Mechanical Turk to Make Extra Money Whenever You Want

Once you have your account is set up, you are assigned a Mechanical Turk Worker ID number, which is sometimes necessary in task assignments called Human Intelligence Task (HIT) requests to ensure that you receive payment, and can begin working on HITs.

HITs are sorted either by viewing them all at once, or by only viewing those that you qualify for. Once you accept HITs, you can leave them and come back to them later by clicking on the “HITs Assigned To You” tab at the top of the page.

This will also show you how much time you have left to complete each HIT as well as the day you accepted it and the day it is due. This is an easy way to stay organized and make sure you do not miss out on any opportunity to make money.

Depending on your qualifications, which you either begin the process with or obtain by completing qualification tests throughout your use of Amazon Mechanical Turk, you can complete high-paying tasks, some as high as $50.00!

At the top of each HIT there is a rectangular box featuring the HIT title, the “requester” (person posting the task assignment), and the “qualifications required”. Pay attention to those details as they will determine if the HIT is available to you or not. There is also a box you can click on that will allow you to automatically accept the next HIT that that specific requester is offering. This saves time and makes it so that you do not have to return to the browsing screen to accept another HIT.

Some requesters will have many HITs available for completion, such as a string of similar surveys or tasks that you can do one after the other to obtain maximum payment. In general, Mechanical Turk users will start out only being able to complete HITs that are low-paying, some as low as $0.01. However, if you have an hour or so to spare, completing many of these hits in a row will add up and you will notice a sharp increase in your account balance by just spending as little as one hour on the site.

Mechanical Turk HITs are either approved or rejected upon inspection by the researcher providing the task. Most of the HITs give detailed instructions once you accept them as far as how to complete the task, what steps are necessary in order to receive payment, and how often you can complete these HITs. Some requesters only allow each worker to complete the available HIT one time, often indicated in the details found on the HIT page. Others allow you to complete the same type of HIT multiple times in a row. In the case of surveys, you are usually only allowed to complete the survey once. However, that same researcher may have many surveys under different HIT names and in this case, you can earn money for doing multiple surveys in a row.

Each HIT has specific details that accompany it and are easy to understand in many cases. You should check your account daily, or at least very frequently, to see the status of your submitted HITs and to make sure you are not accumulating rejected HITs, as this lowers your approval rate and makes it harder to qualify for the higher paying HITs.

Some requesters will take more than a day to approve your submitted HIT – this is where patience comes in. They will eventually accept it and you will notice your account balance increase with each approved HIT. Some tasks are more complicated, such as audio transcription or video transcription. These require a little more time because some of them are in foreign languages, some of the speakers talk at a rate faster than the worker can type, or they are simply too muffled to understand. Make sure you pay attention to how long the video or audio clips are that you are being asked to transcribe; four of five minute videos will take much less time to type out a script to than ones that are one or two hours long. These, one may find, are not worth the mere $0.40 or $0.50 offered as payment, but some of the ones that require higher qualifications also result in higher amounts of money.

To get the most out of working with Mechanical Turk, workers should always try to obtain qualifications by taking Usability Tests, requesting qualification for certain tasks, or spending a little extra time browsing through the pages to find the best HIT available at that time. Once you accept a HIT, you must pay careful attention to the instructions so that you do not end up completing it and then receiving no payment because of a simple mistake.

Make sure to read the instructions provided in the Help section of the website before completing HITs that are very detailed so that you can avoid putting work and effort into something and not getting paid for it. HITs change and rotate through the system every day, so it is a good idea to frequently refresh the pages and sort the HITs by highest paying first, lowest paying last.

HITs are also removed from the system by the minute, so a HIT you see on one page may not be available for completion the next time you visit that same page. You will find that on the last pages of HITs available to you, some of the HITs show up as $0.00. These are not recommended if you are looking to make a decent amount of money for completing tasks. However, these tasks are sure to be incredibly simple and perhaps completing multiple low paying HITs will result in a decent sum of money over time. Some researchers offer bonuses for doing an exceptional job, such as writing a very eloquent article on a particular subject or answering extra questions on a survey website. Bonuses can vary from $0.10 to $0.75; it depends on the researcher and the particular HIT.

The idea of Amazon Mechanical Turk is not to make a substantial income to live off of but simply to make extra money for completing simple tasks. At the end of one week you could have accumulated $10.00 or $50.00 depending on how often you use the website. This is obviously not enough to live off of or depend on as a salary, but it is definitely a great way to make money that is as legitimate and reliable as amazon.com itself.

A word of warning: not all HITs are as safe as they seem. Some may say they pay $30.00, but the task involves signing up for cell phone ring tones at a cost of $9.99 per month or completing a credit score request at a cost of $19.99 upon sign-up.

Some are simply scams that have gotten into the system and should not be completed by workers. These will become more noticeable as you get used to the Amazon Mechanical Turk system, but definitely beware of those that seem great at first but may end up dangerous in the end.

Never enter a credit card number unless you know exactly what the Terms and Conditions of the website is. Some may not allow you to cancel a service that you sign up for or may require you to complete the process that you begin even if it involves paying more money than you anticipated or can afford.

That being said, Amazon Mechanical Turk does not have a plethora of these in the HIT system, but occasionally these will come up as HITs that you can accept. Just be careful before you accept a HIT and make sure you can complete it in the time allotted.

Each Amazon Mechanical Turk HIT has a different amount of time provided by the researcher for you to complete it. Some could be three days, some three hours. If you do not complete a HIT in the amount of time given because you either run out of time or accept the HIT and forget about it for a few days, you will not receive payment and your approval rate will decrease making it harder to accept the higher paying HITs.

Usually the requester has allotted more than enough time to complete their Mechanical Turk HIT but take note just in case a situation arises where it is necessary to complete the HIT in a very short period of time.

Realistically, one can earn about $20.00 a week, depending on how many HITs they complete per day, how many are approved or rejected, and how much time they may devote to each task. In the top right corner of each page, you can see how much you have earned since you signed up as a worker and how many HITs you have submitted. You can easily see which have been approved or rejected by clicking on the “Your Account” tab at the top of the screen and can track your progress as an Amazon Mechanical Turk worker.

There are a couple of different ways to receive the money you have earned from completing HITs. When workers have earned over $10.00, Amazon gives the option of transferring money from the Mechanical Turk account to a valid bank account. This can be done in the “Your Account” tab as well. However, do not except to receive payment the moment you transfer it to a bank account. You first have to validate your bank account by entering two different deposits that Amazon places in your account that you then enter into the Bank Accounts section of your account. Once your account is validated, it takes another couple of days for the money to show up in your bank account ready for spending.

Another option that Amazon Mechanical Turk gives you is to spend the money you earn on products on Amazon.com. This means that you can buy anything that Amazon.com makes available to its customers with the money you make by taking easy 5-minute surveys or writing short articles – it’s that simple! You cannot transfer money to a bank account until you earn at least $10.00; this is an incentive to complete many tasks to build up that required amount of money.

In conclusion, Amazon Mechanical Turk is a simple, dynamic system provided by Amazon that allows the average person above the age of 18 the opportunity to make a little extra money. Not only can you complete these from the comfort of your own home, but you can complete them in your spare time and make as little or as much money as you want. By no means should one rely on Amazon Mechanical Turk as a sole source of income, as that would require completing many HITs and time that most adults do not have in a given day. But with a little added time, patience, and effort, you can get the most out of what Amazon Mechanical Turk has to offer.

How to Use Amazon Mechanical Turk to Make Extra Money Whenever You Want by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • http://transcriptress.com/ Amy Marre

    Hi, Steve—found this post in a search on Twitter. I love when people talk about Turk, because I think it’s a great side-income source, too, yet hardly anyone knows about it.

    I think one reason that people don’t is that everyone thinks you can’t really make any money from it. So like you and your article writer, folks usually talk about how making $50 a week is reasonable there. But for example, I routinely make at least $10/hour doing general transcription there, and I can do that most any day I choose. I’m not superfast, either.

    So the work is actually there, as long as you know how to find it and how to work smart! I really believe there’s plenty of room for new transcribers there, if they’re willing to learn on the fly.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Great feedback.

  • Patri

    I’m a single mother and Mechanical Turk has been a lifesaver…

  • JD Straw

    I’ve used Mechanical Turk in the past. Some of the assignments are fun, many are easy and can be quickly completed. I was blessed to become qualified with no errors because of no rejections very quickly, then some time later something happened to the account. I could no longer access it and received the message, “not found” when I tried to log in, so I’ll have to start over. I hope to be as blessed again to quickly qualify with no rejection errors so that I can move on very quickly. There was no balance in the account at the time of the “not found” status. At the time I was using MT, I was a frequent customer at Amazon so I never received a check because I always used my earnings toward products purchased from their site, so everything worked out very well.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Cool. Good to know.