I am a reasonably intelligent person, so one day I was wondering how much I could make by signing up and working as a Turker on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Check it out in Part 7 of the Article series). Turns out, not much. In a little over 3 hours I made $6.56. It’s tough going too, between wading through and picking the appropriate HITs and actually executing on them. (Many of the HIT’s are limited to a certain number and the good ones run out quickly.)
If I got better at working the system I could probably kick the earnings up to $3. Assuming a 50 hour work week, I could make up to $600 a month, $7200 a year. Of course, I would have long before gone completely insane and been evicted.
So, what kind of work did I do?
Subscribed to a YouTube channel. $0.01.
Reviewed website layout and copy. $0.05.
Evaluated whether 100 sites were phishing or not. $1.
Transcribed audio, a difficult-to-hear 5 minute interview. $2.
The people using the service most are sites hoping to populate their site with some user generated content, researchers, and semi-spammers looking to build links. The work that seems to give you the best return involves the transcription of audio and scanned text that is too difficult for character recognition.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Amazon Turk and think it’s a fascinating and brilliant way to bring together small manual human jobs with those looking for some pocket change. The hourly rate is peanuts for US based folks like me, but if you are one of the billions who live on dollars a day it becomes much more relevant. Granted, you need access to an Internet connected computer and (currently) must speak English, but I am sure in the next decade there will be a non-trivial portion of this group with some sort of access to a computer and knowledge of English.
So, how much can you make in an hour?