Millions of people around the world aspire to work from home. However only few succeed in achieving their goal.
Why most of them fail?
Well there could be two good reasons.
First one is they fail to find a genuine work from home job online, a legit job that is going to pay them month after month and year after year. They can’t find one.
Second is even if they find a genuine job they can’t do it because the job needs certain kind of skills and intellect that they do not have. For example, blogging and affiliate marketing.
Don’t get dismayed because this article is going to solve your problem.
If you are looking for a legit online job that you can do and earn money, then Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk) is the answer.
Continue reading this article for knowing how you can do it.
What is Amazon mTurk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk or mTurk is a platform provided by Amazon to normal people like us for making some extra income. mTurk offers various micro tasks to people like you.
The mTurk jobs can be done right from your home wearing bunny slippers and boxer shorts.
It really doesn’t matter what part of the world you live in. You can do your job online on a Laptop, submit your work and get paid. Everything is online.
Amazon is the parent company of mTurk. Thousands of workers around the world trust mTurk because they get paid on time.
Let us dig deeper into mTurk.
How Does it Work?
For a beginner it is important to understand the whole process. I will keep it simple. Amazon mTurk is just conduit between Requesters and Workers.
Requesters:- Requesters are the owners who are going to provide you tasks. They are the ones who are going to pay for each task. Requesters can be corporations, business owners, educational research institutes or individuals.
Workers:- Workers are people like you who are going to complete tasks given by requesters on time and submit it.
Requesters are allowed to accept or reject the work you completed and submitted to them. Requesters are the one who is going to pay you.
Amazon just brings these two categories of people together.
Entire Signup Process of mTurk
The Signup process of mTurk is very easy, you just have to choose a username and password and your account is created.
But still you can’t start working as a mTurker because your application is under review whether you can take tasks or not. I want to be honest here. Not everyone of you can become an mTurker.
I have explained the complete signup process of mTurk here.
After signing up, Amazon can decline your application without giving any specific reason. In fact, most of the applicants are turned down by Amazon.
They will send you an email saying your application has been declined and Amazon holds right for not giving any reason.
So if you are lucky then your application might get accepted. If you have Amazon shopping account then you can reuse it.
If rejected, try once again after few days.
How do You Get Started?
Amazon mTurk is a very serious business. Once you are being accepted to work as a Worker you need to give necessary tax details and other important information like SSN, driver license and utility bills. If you are not from USA then you can fill W8-BEN form & send it to mTurk.
In order to earn money, you have to complete HITs or Human Intelligence task. Please do not get intimated by HITs.
Each task or piece of work is known as a HIT. There are millions of HITs available at any given time. But you can’t straightaway start working on HITs because you have to pass qualification tests.
A Requester will allow you to take HITs only when you qualify for it.
So click on the Qualification tab first.
Qualification for HITs
Qualification is one of the most important factor affecting how much you can earn with mTurk. As a beginner you have to qualify for HITs that pays only one cent ($0.01) upon completion.
There are tons of qualification tests for different types of requesters.
If you want to complete certain amount of HITs everyday then you have to clear internal Qualification for a specific requester.
Later in this article you will learn how qualification is important if you want to complete HITs that pays your more than $0.01.
Missing HITs – Expiration Time
As a beginner you need to be extra careful with HITs.
A given HIT can expire in just 3 minutes. Once you accept a HIT and the time given to complete the HIT is just 3 minutes then you must complete the task and submit it within the given time frame.
Your time starts the moment you accept a HIT. The duration of completion can be 3 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, a day or few weeks.
If you feel you can’t finish the HIT within the given time frame, then it is advised that you first dig out all the details about the HIT and then click on the accept button.
Always keep your timer on. An expired hit is a lost opportunity.
Do remember this if your expiration rate is high then you can’t qualify for HITs that pays you more.
Sailing Through the Probation Period
As I said earlier in this article Amazon Mechanical Turk is a serious business. The newcomers are put on probation once they start accepting HITs. The probation can be up to 10 days.
The new mTurkers are allowed to take only 100 HITs per day for next 10 working days.
New Turkers must choose their HITs carefully so that they do not face any problem finishing and submitting it on time.
Review your HITs carefully before working for any new requester.
You must be focused on building numbers, HITs per day safely. If Amazon finds anything wrong with your HITs like accuracy rate or expiry date then they can terminate your account immediately.
So be careful while probation period.
3 Major Types of HITs
As a new Turker under the probation period you may find it difficult to choose right kinds of HITs. Usually HITs on mTurk can be classified into 3 categories.
1. Data Entry Jobs:- Data Entry Jobs are like filling Captcha forms, converting a jpeg file into a word document, categorizing videos, photos etc or copy paste work.
2. Surveys:- You have to complete surveys according to your requesters’ demand.
For a beginner I recommend easy data entry jobs like filling captchas. You also get paid for listening audios. You can easily make 5 cents to 10 cents if you choose HITs smartly.
New Turkers must avoid survey HITs because they need more qualification.
Choosing HITs: Beginners
I am going to dedicate this and next paragraph to Choosing HITs. There are over one million HITs available for workers at any given time.
A newbie like you can’t understand which one to choose and which one to leave.
You have to choose HITs that are easy and quick to do, they are easy to get approved by the requesters but at the same time it pays you well.
You can start sorting HITs according to parameters like reward, creation date, expiry date and time allotted.
Choose HITs that are ones and twos, pays you 5-10 cents per HIT, and time allotted is at least 15 minutes.
Finding HITs: Advanced Users
If you are an advanced mTurker then you have to use various scripts to find best HITs daily.
Although in coming paragraphs we will talk about scripts in great details but here we will keep it simple.
You can download and install Turkopticon script from Google Apps store. It is just an extension. After installing the script, you can figure out which HITs are you going to take.
You can choose a HIT based on factors like fairness, communication, rewards, generosity shown by a Requester. Out of 100 they give marks for each of 4 factors. You must choose HITs from requesters which have over 90% ratings for all of these 4 factors.
You can also join forums and Facebook to know about best HITs from mTurk community.
How Much Money Can You Make with MTurk?
Reading this article till last paragraph you are starting to get an idea about mTurk. If you want to make say $30 to $40 a week then you can stop reading this article any further.
But if you want to earn $500 or even more per week then you have to learn more about scripts to increase your efficiency and productivity.
Scripts: Essentials Tools to Get Most Profitable HITs
There are various advantages of using scripts.
Besides increasing your efficiency and productivity scripts helps the worker to know more about the requesters and the different kinds of quality HITs.
You can share summary or report card of your work submitted to requesters very easily. It also helps track goal progress, predict approval ratings and change the view of the HIT. Scripts are good for batch scenario to calculate your profits, help increasing number of HITs.
Knowledge of various scripts differentiates between a serious mTurker and a non-serious one. You do not have to type anything thus saving your time. The more you know about scripts more the money you make.
You simply can’t make $100 – $500 a week without using certain scripts.
There are scripts for beginners like Turkopticon and also for advanced users like Scrapper, PANDA etc.
Scripts are very important.
How to Install Scripts?
I do not think installing scripts going to be a difficult task. But still if you are a new Turker then you might like to read this paragraph.
First you need to install Tampermonkey if you are using Google Chrome. You can search for the keyword on Google and download the extension. Tampermonkey helps to organize scripts depending upon the browser you use.
If you use Firefox browser then you got to install Greasemonkey.
These software embeds into your mTurk account and give all the necessary information that you need to increase efficiency. They change your dashboard altogether.
If you want more software then visit Greasy Fork.
Must Have Scripts
Greasy Fork is a repository of extensions/software not just for mTurk but many other such platforms.
However for now we are only concerned with extensions needed for mTurk.
Following are some of the most important scripts for mTurk.
1. Off Course HIT Scrapper and PANDA Crazy are the number one on the list but we will talk about them in great details in next two paragraphs.
2. Turk Master:- Turk Master is best for auto accepting HITs.
3. Zoltar:- It eliminates scrolling and places options in clickable format in one place. It saves a lot of time.
4. SET Master:- It enables Y or N of approved HITs, has auto submit feature, they give screenshot also.
5. A9:- Allows the use of number keys for various options
6. Zing:- It compares Receipt
7. Bark Engineering:- Correlates number to each option and reduces clicking
8. Jeff Lind:- Collapses repetitive instructions, helps in cursor placement and more.
9. Turk Opticon:- Allows you to view summary data with mTurk
10. MTurk HIT Database Mk II:- It keeps track of completed HITs
11. MTurk Dashboard:- Adds today’s projected earning, best & worst case scenario, today’s bonuses, goals etc.
12. MTurk Confirm Return HIT:- Helps preventing accidental returns.
13. HIT Scrapper with Export:- Helps to find HITs when slow
14. mmmTurkeyBacon Queue Order Fix:- Reorder queue, does not cause any Google requester issue
15. mmmTurkeyBacon Scroll to Workspace:- Obviously reduces scrolling
16. Facebook HITs Export:- to Share HITs on Facebook.
There are few others that you can check at Greasy Fork.
As I said earlier we are going to talk about HIT Scrapper and PANDA crazy in great details.
HIT Scrapper is one of the most used scripts by mTurkers. Some of the most common utilities of HIT Scrappers are
1. HITs you would like to work on regular basis.
2. It can Scrape 8 to 10 Pages
3. Results Per Page is 100
4. If Pages are hidden because of blocks, then more pages will be displayed
5. Choose HITs with Minimum reward of $.50
6. HITs for both Masters and Non Masters
7. Hides Infeasible HITs like unqualified HITs
8. Shows Minimum Batch Size for surveys
9. Highlights the New HITs
10. Sends Chime or Beep the moment new HIT comes in.
11. You can skip pulling Turk Opticon Data
12. You can search by variable like rewards, minimum pay etc.
13. Hide Block listed and Block Requesters
14. Restrict and Highlight Include List
15. Color Code – Stay Away from Red, Start with Green HITs, Look Out for Yellow ones
16. Gray Entries – They have very fewer reviews so don’t go for them.
17. You can hover over fields to see description of HITs like time to complete etc.
18. You can pull HITs from last 45 days database.
Second most important script is PANDA Crazy.
PANDA link helps to snatch those HITs before other people can. Use refresh button, you can use Add-ons for refreshing and grabbing HITs automatically.
PANDA Crazy helps to preview and accept HITs automatically into the queue. So you do not have to click the accept button. It captures great HITs that you would like to complete.
Normal link only allows Accept HIT and SKIP HIT functionality but PANDA Crazy allows Submit HIT, Return HIT. PANDA Crazy is very useful because HITs are going to be gone quickly.
Zoltar Panda links are for managing batches.
You can create PANDA by downloading them from Greasy Fork, name them and set the interval time for which you want to check and Auto Accept HITs.
First Milestone: 500 HITs per Week
Reading until now would have given you a clear picture about Amazon mTurk.
How does it work?
What you have to do as a worker?
How much effort do you have to put in? Etc.
But for a new mTurker achieving first milestone of 500 HITs is a challenge. Once you are through with your probation period you have to complete at least 500 HITs per week.
You need to raise your rewards. $0.01 is not enough you need at least $0.05 or $0.1 per HIT. So I recommend you to take surveys daily. They are the best!
Maintaining Higher Approval Ratings
As a beginner you would like to maintain higher approval ratings. That is how you are going to get quality HITs. So for qualifying better high paying tasks, do not make any mistakes in the beginning.
Otherwise it will take thousands HITs to complete and get back to even. You have to ensure that your approval rating is close to 100%. There is no margin for errors.
Pay attention to what requesters are asking.
Second Milestone: 1000 HITs per Week
Second milestone to achieve is 1000 HITs. You can’t reach 1000 HITs a day until you realize the importance of scripts that I told you earlier in this article.
You have to set goals that you are going to make $10 to $15 a week.
You must start taking transcription HITs where you listen a video or audio and write it down in a word document.
Third Milestone: 5000 HITs per Week
Third milestone of 5000 HIT’s can’t be achieved until you qualify for the master’s. Once you have reached 5000 HITs you will be making over $300 per week.
But in order to reach milestone of 5000 HITs a week you have to work very hard. By the time you reach 5000 HITs you would have learned so many things about mTurker.
Here is how you can get your masters’ qualification. Amazon analyzes who all can become mTurk masters. Its technology analyzes worker’s performance and identifies high performance workers.
After monitoring their performance overtime and excellence over wide range of HITs it rewards the worker with master’s qualification.
Requesters can do their own calls, create test and monitor their own workforce.
In order to get masters’, you must complete your HITs on time, maintain high approval ratings and avoid blocks from requesters.
Some of the perks being master worker is you do not get any captchas and receive increased availability of work all the time.
So focus on numbers and types of HITs, maintain high approval ratings and avoid blocks.
Connecting with the Requesters
Connecting with requesters is very important for a serious mTurker. As a worker you need to determine which requester you want to work for and the ones to avoid.
You must contact requesters for the clarification on HIT instructions. You can also ask for bonus rewards. If there are broken HITs that you are unable to complete then you have to reach to requesters with your worker ID.
You can dispute rejection asking why I am rejected and ask for reimbursement, even for the revocation of the qualification.
You can click on the requesters’ name link and fill out the comment box and hit submit. The response from requester will come in your email box.
Dealing with Rejections
Do not get disappointed with rejections because they are very normal. They will come sooner or later. Rejections can be hard and soft depending upon nature of your mistake.
Common reasons for rejection are, not following directions, failing attention checks, incorrect completion code, misunderstanding with requesters, requester is to mean or a survey is completed multiple times.
If you got rejected then go to your dashboard, click on the date and locate the rejection notice in red color. Look at the reason for rejection and determine whether the rejection is justified or not.
If you feel the rejection is unjustified then contact the requester, give your recollection of HITs and request him to overturn the rejection.
Keeping rejections to minimum is very important to keep your approval rating 100%.
I will conclude this article by giving details about withdrawing money from Amazon. You get paid via Amazon gift cards or bank transfer. You must have given SSN and address proof.
Once HITs are approved it will go to “Pending Payment” and then to “Paid”.
Funds will appear on your dashboard balance. The balance must be transferred to Amazon Payment on your Amazon shopping account.
The transfer takes 24 hours.
If you are withdrawing to a bank account, then funds need to be routed via Amazon Payment to your bank. The best day to transfer money is Thursday.
Always transfer your money every week. If in an event your account gets terminated then all your money will be lost. So it is strongly advised to withdraw your money every week because you can’t afford to take risk.
Start mTurking Now!