Amazon has a website called Mechanical Turk or MTurk that anyone can quickly join and begin to make money. Earnings here can be paid out as cash or you can convert them into Amazon gift cards for shopping. The ease, simplicity and speed of earning on Amazon Mturk is hard to beat, but the downside is that the pay isn’t very good when you consider hourly earnings.
The major benefit of Mechanical Turk is that you can quickly join it and start doing work right away to make fast money. This could potentially be a quick cure for a budget shortfall as long as you have a few days to a week’s notice. That would leave enough time to do some gigs on this site and get a payout, so this can be a good emergency side hustle.
What is MTurk?
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a freelancer website that involves quick, simple tasks. You’ll be completing simple, repetitive tasks on Mturk that often take a few seconds each to complete. A lot of it is data entry, but there are other types of work. It’s basically quick, simple jobs that a human is needed for some type of confirmation or verification that a computer can’t do reliably.
When you’re desperate for money or just have some spare time to kill, this site can actually be quite useful. Some people find it relaxing and calming to perform simple repetitive tasks – a lot of mobile games are actually based on this scientific fact. If this applies to you, then you might enjoy this type of work and benefit from earning a bit of extra cash in the process.
Working a side hustle of any kind, such as freelancing, can often result in downtime when you want to work but can’t find a new client. Mturk can be useful to let you generate some type of income during this downtime, even though it may not be great pay for the time you work.
The freelancing gigs that you can find on this site are organized into four general categories: Surveys, Vision, Language & Other. Surveys are pretty straightforward – just answer questions. Vision work usually involves looking at a picture or a video. Sometimes you’ll need to tag it with a few keywords, write a short summary about it, or even draw a box around part of the image.
- Image Classification
- Bounding Box
- Semantic Segmentation
- Instance Segmentation
- Image Contains
- Video Classification
- Moderation of an Image
- Image Tagging
- Image Summarization
Language projects can be a wide variety of types of work. Figuring out emotions, transcribing audio, translation and semantic analysis may seem complicated but most of them are quick answer questions to complete the work. With language jobs here, you’ll do things like…
- Sentiment Analysis
- Intent Detection
- Collect Utterance
- Emotion Detection
- Semantic Similarity
- Audio Transcription
- Conversation Relevance
- Document Classification
- Translation Quality
- Audio Naturalness
The other category can technically have anything else in it, but it’s mostly comprised of fairly basic data entry work. Here are the general types of jobs you’ll find in this section:
- Data Collection
- Website Collection
- Website Classification
- Item Equality
- Search Relevance
Payment & Earnings
MTurk will be connected to your Amazon account. If you have had problems with their Associates Program in the past and been suspended, you won’t be able to work on Mechanical Turk.
Hourly earnings aren’t great. In fact, I’d be surprised if you can even make minimum wage for the hours you devote here. If you can find any kind of work elsewhere, I’d highly recommend doing that instead. However, if you have no other options, this can be better than nothing.
I did a lot of freelance programming and writing 15-20 years ago. There were often times when I had placed a bid on all of the open projects that I was interested in doing on the freelance sites I used, and I was simply sitting around waiting to get accepted to do work. During that downtime, I would sometimes utilize MTurk to make some extra cash instead of making nothing at all. I haven’t done freelancing work or projects on this website in over 13 years though.
Try different types of work on this website to get started. Do 10 minutes of each type of work that is available. Track how many jobs you’re able to complete in that 10 minutes and calculate rough earnings. It’s very likely that you’ll be more efficient at a few particular types of work and could maximize your earnings by sticking to those, but you’ll never know for sure unless you test it in this way.
Also consider that any person or business can visit MTurk and list their own work. As a result, some jobs will pay better than others, so be sure to pay attention to the rates in addition to the type of work.
Ultimately, to make any reasonable amount of money here, you’re going to have a grind long hours. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable to work. Take a break once an hour to avoid fatigue.