So, you’ve just recently stumbled onto Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Mturk) and want to know how to make some money, or maybe you’ve been Turking for a little while now doing a few hits here and there but just can’t seem to climb over that two or three dollar a day hump.
Don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us.
In this article, I’ll show you how to minimize your time spent looking for good hits and maximize the time spent actually making money. After all, that’s what we’re all here at Mturk for, right?
- Tip #1
The first tip that I can offer you – and maybe the most valuable – is to do what you enjoy. If you’re a natural writer/editor, there are many hits for you. Castingwords offers transcriptions, there are always requesters looking for someone to write short articles (often between 250 and 500 words), and requester Paul Pullen often has re-write sentence hits up.
If writing is not your thing, then look for things that will interest you. If you like animals, you can sometimes find animal-related hits – usually simple things like drawing boxes around a specific animal or pointing out where a beak or wing on a bird is.
The point is, there is usually something easy and fun that you can while away the hours while earning pocket change.
- Tip #2:
This is another very important tip. The aforementioned Paul Pullen, a requester on Mturk, has recently created a site called Turk Alert that – at least to me – has become perhaps the most valuable site other than Mturk itself.
Turk Alert lets you do two things.
They have a recent hits section that, at 2-min intervals, updates all the new hits that have been added. You also have the ability to block a requester so that you only see the hits you want to see.
The second thing they have, if you sign up (simple email/password signup), is an option to subscribe to certain requesters – and most importantly – set up a once/hourly email alert for your favorites.
His site is still in beta and he’s constantly improving it, so head on over there and check it out. All requester links open directly to their hits page in Mturk.
- Tip #3:
In the Mturk hit selection screen, there are 3 links (that we’ll concern ourselves with): All hits, Hits available to you and hits assigned to you.
Most of the time, you’ll have the page sorted by “Hits available to you.” However, by doing this, you may be missing out on some very good hits. When you sort the page by “All hits” you will see the hits that are available to you in the normal blue color, but there will also be tan-colored hits.
These are hits that you are not allowed to do. Not yet. There are many different reasons why some hits may be grayed out. Some requesters desire higher quality work and so they limit their work to those who meet certain criteria. This can range from being a US resident to a certain approval rating to even a certain number of hits.
For example, a requester could limit his work to those who have a greater than 90% approval rating. He could also add a qualifier to that, insisting that you have completed 1,000 hits. This weeds out very new people who may not be good, but because they haven’t done very many hits yet, they haven’t had many rejections.
These are not the qualifications that we are concentrating on in this tip, however. I will say this: Always, always do your best work. It’s OK to go fast, but make sure you’re accurate.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on. There are many qualifications that only require pressing a button. Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to do anything to qualify for the hits except request them. Usually qualifications are granted within 5 minutes, but there are some that are very slow in granting you the right to work on their hits. Some never do.
You don’t want to go through and try to qualify for everything. That would be impossible and there are many requesters who have left or already have the people working for them that they desire.
The other type of qualification is something like a test. They give you a (usually) short quiz after explaining what they want you to do. Some are fairly hard and some are downright easy. If you fail to get a qualifying score, many requesters have built in a re-test delay. These can range from 5 min to a day or never.
So, my advice is to occasionally browse through “All hits” and take the tests for hits that you think you might be interested in.
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