I first discovered Amazon Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com ) last year somehow when I was browsing the web looking for little ways to make money from home. Frankly, I didn’t think much of it. I did a couple of tasks, was happy enough with the 35 cents or so I earned, but didn’t tap its potential at all. I then spent the next year or so goofing around with PTC sites and surveys. I was happy.
Flash forward about a year and a half: My husband lost his job and because he’s an independent contractor, there were no unemployment benefits. We had no income. Fortunately, we had savings but we still needed some kind of income, any kind of income, to cover out-of-the-ordinary expenses. It was January and my mind immediately flashed to Christmas. What about Christmas?? I know it’s a luxury to be thinking of Christmas in January but it’s my custom to do so. You see, I am a former single mom and unless I thought of Christmas all year ’round, squirreling away $5 here and there, making do and doing without little things, there would have been no Christmases at all for me and my daughter. Now here I was again, back in that old familiar territory.
After the shock and despair was over, I started desperately going through my bookmarks, frantically trying figure out what I could do to make a real contribution and make real money working from home; now was not the time for surveys and paid-to-click sites. That’s when I came across Amazon Mechanical Turk again. I couldn’t remember much about it so I logged back in to re-check it out. Maybe it was the fear of having no income, maybe it was just “meant to be,” but I spent a little time on Mechanical Turk and realized what I was looking at. I was looking at my lifesaver. I was looking at a real way to earn extra income from home.
For those who don’t know, Mechanical Turk is affiliated with Amazon.com. Individuals and companies pay a certain amount for you, a worker, to do a certain task. These tasks are called Hits, which stands for Human Intelligence Tasks. Little jobs that, for whatever reason, cannot be automated via computer.
Example: A company loads up a job which consists of 3,000 HITs. The HIT consists of going to a website, finding their contact email address, copying it and pasting it into a Mechanical Turk form. For completion of one HIT the company has designated a rate of 3 cents. (This is just an example: The pay could be higher or lower and each batch of HITs is different). That’s it. There are hundreds (thousands?) of Mechanical Turk workers all looking at the same jobs so if you find a batch of HITs you like, you should stay working on it as long as you can. The good ones go fast. But there are pages and pages of HITs to do, at all times of the day and night.
Here’s the best thing about Amazon Mechanical Turk: Amazon.com serves as the financial clearinghouse for the work. Amazon.com, in other words, requires that the HIT requesters pay upfront for the jobs they want performed. This means that Amazon.com, not the HIT requester, is holding the money. Provided you correctly complete the HITs, you will get paid. You won’t do the work and hope for payment only to find the requester has split and taken your “free work” with them. You won’t try to log on one morning only to find the website has shut down and taken your earnings.
Amazon Mechanical Turk gives you two options for payment: You can use whatever you have earned, in any amount, as Amazon.com credit; or, when your account balance reaches $10, you can have it transferred to your checking account. There’s also a non-Amazon affiliated Turker forum where you can get advice and tips from other MTurk workers. It’s called “Turker Nation” and you can find it at http://turkers.proboards.com/index.cgi?
Now to get back to my “making money from home” story. I started working on Amazon Mechanical Turk in earnest on April 1, 2009. By October 31st, I had over $1,400 in my account. One thousand of that is our Christmas fund this year. Four hundred went to my mother to help her out. It’s only mid-November and I already have over $150 in my account again, just waiting on me to decide what to do with it.
Don’t be fooled. That $1,400 represented a lot of work on my part and a lot of time spent on the computer when I didn’t want to be there. But I’ll tell you this: I was stuck with more time than money on my hands and I was scared. Is it a living? Of course not.
But here’s the thing: Amazon Mechanical Turk is perfect if you want to work from home or need to supplement your outside income. It’s perfect if you have any special occasions coming up and can’t squeeze another dime out of your current salary. It’s perfect for students. It’s perfect for anyone who needs extra money but can’t, for whatever reason, get out of the house. It’s perfect for anyone who wants or needs to generate extra income from the comfort of your home.
Amazon Mechanical Turk saved my Christmas this year. If you’re in the same boat I’m in, I sincerely hope you give it a shot. It’s free to sign up, it’s relatively easy and it’s reliable. For me, during my time of need, it was my go-to site for working from home. I would be pleased as punch to know I was responsible for steering someone toward something that, with a little work, could make a big difference in their lives.
Here are the websites again:
Amazon Mechanical Turk: www.mturk.com
Turker Nation: http://turkers.proboards.com/index.cgi?