Once you become familiar with Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), you soon realize that to make “decent” money with MTurk, you need some experience, patience and realistic expectations since MTurk will not likely be your primary source of income.
After all, MTurk was designed for you to make some extra money in your spare time, not to become your only income source.
It is possible to make near USA federal minimum wage within the platform, but this is only achieved by a few experienced Mechanical Turk workers (also known as Turkers).
The vast majority of workers earn less than $2 an hour, and only 4% earned more than $7.25.
Turkers are considered independent contractors, not employees. As with any entrepreneurial activity, the harder and smarter you work, the better the results. No matter how you slice it, Mechanical Turk will most likely not be your primary income source.
The big plus of MTurk is that you can do the tasks wherever and whenever you want for the most part using the skills you already have.
What is Mechanical Turk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a platform where workers called Turkers complete small tasks for individuals or companies who need the work completed. MTurk exists because there are still many tasks that humans can complete better than machines.
For a typical task, a person who needs a small job completed (a Requester) will post a task, which is called a HIT (Human Intelligence Task), the amount to be paid, and the approximate time to finish.
The worker (Turker) will complete the job, submit it for approval, and get paid when the task is approved.
Is MTurk Legit?
I have completed over 1,000 MTurk HITs, and I can tell you that MTurk is legit, and it is not a scam. Certain media outlets, however, focus only on the adverse effects of working on MTurk.
I have no reason to defend Amazon here, but I think Amazon MTurk should be considered an opportunity to earn money online.
Amazon does not claim that you can make a leaving working on MTurk HITs. If you go to https://www.mturk.com/worker, you’ll see that Amazon says: “Make money in your spare time”.
It is up to each individual to determine if spending time with MTurk is worth his/her time.
Negative Media Opinions about MTurk
- The Crazy Hacks One Woman Used to Make Money on Mechanical Turk
- I Found Work on an Amazon Website. I Made 97 Cents an Hour
- The Unknown, Poorly Paid Labor Force Powering Academic Research
- The Internet Is Enabling a New Kind of Poorly Paid Hell
- Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has Reinvented Research
Meet the people inside the land of Mechanical Turk.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is named after the chess-playing fake machine from the 18th-century, which surprisingly defeated nearly every opponent it faced. But the machine was not using artificial intelligence.
There was a chess master cleverly hidden inside.
This is an interesting podcast where NPR staff sneak into the world of the Mechanical Turk and find the people who live inside.
Who can sign up for MTurk?
MTurk’s only requirement for completing tasks and receiving compensation from Requesters is a computer or mobile device connected to the Internet and be at least 18 years of age.
Based on Amazon Mechanical Turk Blog, MTurk is now available to Requesters from 43 countries. I believe the same MTurk workers are also accepted from the same countries below.
Americas: Barbados, Canada, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, United States, US Virgin Islands; Africa: Botswana, Mayotte, Reunion, South Africa; Asia-Pacific: Australia, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan; Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom
How can you sign up for an account?
To create a worker account on MTurk, go to the worker website and click the “Get Started with Amazon Mechanical Turk” link and follow the instructions.
You need to be a little patient, it usually takes about 48 hours to get approved.
After signup, during the first 10 days, you can accept a maximum of 100 HITs per day. After the 10 day introduction period, you can accept a maximum of 3800 HITs per day. I don’t know who can complete so many, but that’s your limit.
How much can you make with MTurK?
We already said that the vast majority of Turkers make less than $2 per hour. But what is the earning potential per month?
I believe the majority of Turkers make a few dollars a month with little effort, but below are examples and proof of people who make significantly more than than that.
This is an example of a Turker who made over $1,000 in his first month.
This is an example of one Turker that made almost $2,500 in less than one month. I don’t think he mentioned how many hours he worked though. But I think it is important to show that you can make more than pennies.
This is an example of a Turker that makes over $10,000 every year. This is particularly interesting to me since it means that I could potentially achieve my 2020 income goal only working on MTurk.
How do you get paid?
Requesters pre-pay for HITs. Once a HIT has been approved, the money assigned for the HIT goes to the MTurk account of the Worker. Below is the screenshot of my MTurk account.
As you can see I have a total of 1,081 HITS completed, 1,073 approved, 7 pending and 1 rejected. The amount available for transfer is $222.30.
Workers in the United States can transfer earnings to their Amazon Payments account or to their Amazon.com gift card balance. Workers outside of the United States can transfer earnings to their Amazon.com gift card balance. As you can see from my MTurk account, I have the two options because I am in the United States. According to Amazon, some Workers may be eligible to transfer earnings to their bank accounts. I don’t know what the eligibility requirement is, but I had no problem adding my bank account.
How Can You Make More Money With MTurk
In this video, “selfemploymentpro” shows what he does to earn $200 to $500 a week using Mechanical Turk. He agrees the pay is not great, he thinks he is probably averaging about $7 an hour.
According to this study, he would be considered to be within the top 5% earners in MTurk. You can listen to the video to follow his technique.
Takeaways from the video:
Don’t worry too much about how much money you make at the beginning. The goal is to get to 1,000 HITS because after that you will have better-paid HITS, mostly surveys.
From my own experience, be careful with questions that will test if you are paying attention. These are validation questions or attention checks, which may ask you to select a particular response even if it doesn’t make sense, to make sure you are reading the question. If you don’t answer it right, you may not get credit for that HIT.
Make sure to have an approval rate as high as possible. Above 98% is best. See this Qualifications and Worker Task Quality from Amazon MTurk blog to understand why it is important.
I have been lucky so far and have a 99.91% approval rate, with only one rejection, but this will likely change. I need to make sure it doesn’t go below 98%. As you can see below, I have have also need to increase the number of HITS I complete each day to
MTurk Resources and Tools
These are key resources and tools if you want to learn more about MTurk and become more proficient.
- MTurk Crowd: This is a forum where you can learn from the best and even have fun doing it.
- Reddit MTurk Community: A subreddit focused on Amazon’s MTurk. There are currently 59K members
- HITs Worth Turking For (HWTF): A subreddit dedicated to posting links to good paying MTurk tasks.
- Amazon MTurk Blog: If you want to be up-to-date on happenings at MTurk from Amazon’s perspective
- Amazon MTurk Help pages: Amazon.com FAQs for both workers and Requesters.
Does MTurk Have an Affiliate Program?
Currently, it does not look like Amazon Mechanical Turk offers an affiliate program. Please let me know if think MTurk offers an affiliate program.
My Experience with MTurk
How much money have I made with MTurk?
I have made $423.29 so far with MTurk. This screenshot below is proof of my current earnings. I will update this section as earnings increase. [Updated October 1, 2020]
Every blog post I write is based on many hours of research. I also like to test every side hustle I review when possible. You may also want to see how much money I have made from the beginning. And may also want to take a look at the quarterly income reports.
How much have I made per hour?
I recorded the time I spent and the amount I made to calculate how much I made per hour for 18 HITS. My earnings per hour for these 18 HITS was $4.05, which is below the current federal minimum wage of $7.25.
However, my experience is only 1 week as of this writing. Since I don’t consider myself a techy person, I think these results can be improved.
Update 12/21/2019: After I reached 1,000 HITs my earnings per hour have increased. Although it is hard to measure, I am convinced I make approximately $6.00 per hour of actual time spent completing HITs.
|MTurk-HIT name||Minutes Spent||Compensation|
|Response to short scenarios||20||$2.50|
|Investigating Consumer Decision-Making||20||$1.00|
|Record your speech||5||$0.50|
|Make 10 short recordings||10||$0.75|
|Wearable Device Survey||15||$0.75|
|Record yourself reading for 2 minutes-script||10||$0.33|
|Answer a few surveys ~10 mins||15||$2.00|
|Study on perceptions of people||10||$0.75|
|Study on Life Perspectives(~ 6 minutes)||15||$0.65|
|Individual Judgment-Decision Making||10||$0.45|
|A 5-7 minute study||10||$0.75|
|Customers Service […] during Service Recovery||15||$0.35|
|Opinion Survey (~ 10 minutes)||15||$1.00|
|Short 3-minute survey about local issues||5||$0.10|
|5-7 Minutes Survey on a Food Product||10||$0.35|
|Visual Decision-Making(~ 15 minutes)||20||$1.50|
|Research Survey(~ 3 minutes)||5||$0.30|
|My average earnings per hour||60||$4.05|
Video Summary of Mechanical Turk
Let’s wrap up with a quick summary video I have created. If you like this video, consider subscribing to the Finance Notebook Youtube Channel.
Ratings and Conclusion
|Overall Rating for MTurk||★||★||★||★||–|
MTurk will not solve all your financial problems, but for some people in some situations, it may provide significant money when done right. My overall rating for Prolific is 4 stars out of 5, and this is why.
➤ Fair compensation (from $6 to $8 per hour) after you achieve 1,000 HITs
➤ Many surveys and tasks available daily
➤ Cash payments available
➤ It will generate significant money for my year 2020 income goals
➤ There is a learning curve to achieve the desirable 1,000 HITs
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📖 Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.