What Is mTurk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk) is a website for completing tasks for pay. The tasks vary greatly and you will find all kinds of tasks to complete, including transcription, writing, tagging, editing, content moderation, and much more. It’s a cloud based data platform designed to connect people who need work done (Requesters) with people who are willing to do it (Workers).
After you initially sign up, you are on a 10 day probation period which means you have some restrictions. The biggest restriction you have is only being able to do 100 HITS per day.
Requesters: A Requester is a person (or company or organization) who asks questions to Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Worker: A Worker uses the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site to find questions, submit answers, and manage his or her account.
Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs): A HIT contains all of the information a Worker needs to answer the question.
Qualification: Qualification requirements describe an expression that a score or metric about the Worker must match for the Worker to be considered “qualified” to complete the HIT.
PANDA: (PreviewandAccept)The hit will be automatically accepted into your queue instead of you just previewing it.
500 HITS Approved: This is the first milestone in a turkers life that they must reach. Many surveys require this and it’s just necessary all around.
1000 HITS Approved: The majority of work on mturk ranging from surveys, data entry batches, and transcriptions require that you have 1000 hits Approved on your account.
5000 HITS Approved: Many high paying batches require this amount of hits completed. It’s actually one of the rarer amounts that you see out there on mturk, but it’s good to have nonetheless.
In order to use these following scripts you need to first download an extension onto your browser in order to have them run properly.
- MTurk Database: This is a MUST. Use it, and hit update on it at least once a day, in your dashboard. Helps keep track of what you’ve done already, gives you a search function, lets you view all pending, all approved but not paid, etc.
- TurkOpticon: Helps keep your approval % up. I usually try to stick to at least 2.6’s in most categories, although communication is ok if lower, for me. BE SURE TO READ REVIEWS, not just rely on numbers, if you have a requester you haven’t worked for before, before doing the hit.
- mmmTurkybacons Today’s Projected Earnings: Shows what you’ve earned today if all hits get approved. Not necessary, but nice.
- mmmturkeybacon Expected Earnings – Pending Approval Earnings: Shows the total of all pending hits, so you have an idea how much money is waiting to be approved.
- Preview, Accept, and Hoard: Adds a one click accept button to all hit capsules, so you don’t waste time by viewing, then accepting
How To Increase Your mTurk Income
While there are tons of good paying surveys that go up everyday, there is also money in the batches. Many people tend to not bother them because they don’t know how to capitalize on them. They either don’t know who posts batches or they don’t know to complete several from a batch to create a nice hourly rate.
Below you will find my list of go to requesters on mTurk that you can count on for a high paying hit(s) or high quality batches.
Danielle’s Platinum Requester’s List
- Project Endor
- Sergey Schmidt
- Youtube Artists
- Pindrop Security
- Mturk Researcher
- Zip Code Search
- Viral Mturk
Tips & Tricks
Catching Missed Hits
First of all, when I say”Missed HIT” I’m referring to those HITs you saw in the search box, but failed to accept before it was gone. Luckily for you, sometimes an individual will be so preoccupied with a life event or completing other hits that they don’t get to a good hit and it expires before they can complete it. Those expired hits go back into the system for someone else to complete, and that someone could be you! Leaving an auto-refresher on an “PANDA” link for a bit might make the difference between being upset you missed a $3.25 hit and you actually accepting, completing, and getting paid for it.
Finally imagine this, an amazing batch of thousands of HITs was posted out of nowhere and you’re managing a rate of $10-$15/hour steadily since you first found them, but the number of HITs available is going down at a faster rate with each HIT you complete. You watch it dip from 2000 to 1000 HITs in no time at all, and you start feeling bummed out that they’re going to be gone soon. If only there was a way to savor those HITs…
Lucky for you, you can use a PANDA link with Turkmaster to create a backlog of work queued up while you pick away at the shrinking batch. (For ultimate efficiency, you’d ideally want to stop auto-refreshing on your 24th HIT, accept your 25th HIT with the “auto accept” box checked, and work from the 25th slot in your queue.)
In conclusion, there is good money to be made on mTurk. You just have to learn where to start.
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Have any tips and trick to share? Leave a comment below.