Author Topic: Mechanical Turk--worth it?  (Read 1037 times)

WootWoot

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Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:26:10 PM »
So I've just started doing some data entry on Mechanical Turk. I've discovered there are several freelance type companies along these lines operating on the Internet.

A couple of them that I signed up for, wouldn't let me into the account, or there were no tasks available at the moment.

What do you think of this sort of thing? I have a lot of free time at work at the moment. Wondering if it's worth the trouble, esp. when I found out I've got to pay quarterly taxes on my earnings. Taxes terrify me. The best thing that happened to me last year was the IRS's recommendations for free filing services that did all the math. ;)

Is there a better place than MT for this type of work? I'm a pretty fast/good typist.

Thanks, all!

WootWoot

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 11:11:20 AM »
Anyone?

CindyBS

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 11:19:09 AM »
There is a good thread in Entrepreneurship forum.  I've looked at mechanical turk and from what I can gather and a widely shared opinion is that the pay is too little for the tasks unless you are really picky. 

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/entrepreneurship/who-has-a-side-gigjob-that-brings-in-extra-cash-share-with-us!/

I just started user testing this week.  I've only done one website evaluation, but it took 7 minutes and I earned $10 for it.  Looks promising.  Also several people on this board teach english online through VIPkid. 

WootWoot

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 12:14:55 PM »
Yeah, I'm finding out it's a lot of work for very little pay. And they seem to take forever to "approve" your work. I think I've earned about $30 so far. But I'm sitting here at work doing basically nothing, and some of the work is actually fun. Like I see how quickly I can complete tasks. Some of it's super-easy, like finding web addresses. One of the most interesting was looking up doctors and seeing where they'd gotten their degrees, what specialties they practiced, etc.

Acastus

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2017, 11:23:47 AM »
My wife is self employed, but I work at a fortune 50 company. Instead of filing quarterly taxes, I just reduce my W4 deductions until I pay what we both owe. It will work for your side gig. You just need a vaguely reasonable estimate of the 2nd income.

Zacharias

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2017, 11:47:46 AM »
I've been performing tasks on mechanical turk for two years come January 2018. Like you, my job has a lot of slow time. In that time, I've earned roughly $15,000 on the side, roughly $7,500 each year. Nothing amazing but it allowed me to setup a SE 401k for more tax deferred investing since I don't have a 401k available where I work. The first year I spent way too many hours to reach that amount, often spending nights and weekends trying to get in just a few more tasks. In my second year it's become a very leisurely venture and was able to earn the same amount just during down time at work.

My best advice is to get involved in one of the mturk forums (mturkcrowd, turkerhub, etc) and learn what scripts other are using to find and complete tasks efficiently as well as tasks that the community might deem worthwhile.

Whether it is worth it likely depends on what are options you might have. If I can give more detail on anything, let me know and I'll be happy to tell you more about my experience.

WootWoot

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 11:58:32 AM »
Hi! thanks for the helpful information. I didn't know there were forums so I will look into that.

As far as options go, I can't do anything requiring a web cam, or headphones, so stuff like transcription is out. I'm not multilingual. I can go pretty quickly through some of the receipts that are posted, where you get numbers from grocery chits. I know those are pretty low-paying, though.

$15,000 is pretty impressive, BTW!

Open to your advice! :)

I've been performing tasks on mechanical turk for two years come January 2018. Like you, my job has a lot of slow time. In that time, I've earned roughly $15,000 on the side, roughly $7,500 each year. Nothing amazing but it allowed me to setup a SE 401k for more tax deferred investing since I don't have a 401k available where I work. The first year I spent way too many hours to reach that amount, often spending nights and weekends trying to get in just a few more tasks. In my second year it's become a very leisurely venture and was able to earn the same amount just during down time at work.

My best advice is to get involved in one of the mturk forums (mturkcrowd, turkerhub, etc) and learn what scripts other are using to find and complete tasks efficiently as well as tasks that the community might deem worthwhile.

Whether it is worth it likely depends on what are options you might have. If I can give more detail on anything, let me know and I'll be happy to tell you more about my experience.

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 12:54:35 PM »
Interesting. I've done the Mechanical Turk and think I've made less than a dollar but I've always thought about doing it again. Make a few extra bucks while I'm watching TV. I'm trying to figure out a side hustle right now that may eventually make me enough for a down payment for a rental property. I invest in my retirement plans quite heavily and don't really want to stop that to save for the rental property.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 01:52:43 PM »
I did it a couple years ago when I was bored nights/weekends.  I made about $900 but I can't say how much time I put into it.  Some of it was really fun and interesting.  I did a lot of surveys for research projects / college kids.  Or other human guinea pig type stuff. The more you do the higher rated you become and more profitable stuff opens up.  The scripts definitely help a ton.  Weeds out all the junk, helps you see the good stuff faster.  I haven't been on it in a long while so I can't say what it's like now.  Maybe I should check it out again sometime. 

Also, while I don't advocate tax fraud, they view each of the people you do work for as a separate company so you don't get a 1099 unless you make more than $600 for one requester or something huge like $25,000 from Amazon in the aggregate. 

Dollar Slice

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 02:10:49 PM »
I haven't used it in a while, but +1 on the advice to check out the scripts and forums (and reddit, I dunno if that counts as a forum). This will boost your earnings a lot and you'll have less problems. The forums will tell you what scripts and tools to use, and they'll share great HITs. The scripts will give you info on things like how well a particular 'employer' pays, how fast they pay, if they are a scammer who never pays, if they are brand new with no track record, etc. There's a really wide range of payment levels there, anywhere from fairly decent $5-$10/hr kind of stuff to <$1/hour which is really not worth it. When you start out you want to do a ton of very fast and easy HITs, because you'll get access to better-paying ones once you hit certain milestones (e.g. 100 tasks completed, 1000 tasks completed, etc.).
Referrals for...
Prolific Academic: http://www.prolific.ac/rp?ref=3PJ4H43L (Earn money by taking academic surveys - way better than mturk, I average ~$9/hr)
Robinhood: http://bit.ly/2uGXBPG (Get a free stock!)

WootWoot

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 02:15:39 PM »
I've never heard of MTurk scripts. Just have a quick question about them, because I'm being super cautious about my computer at work. I've been having issues with pages loading in Firefox and had to call in the IT people. I don't want to screw anything up.

Is there any chance that I'll have problems with my work computer by installing scripts?

maricela

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 02:24:03 PM »
I've never heard of MTurk scripts. Just have a quick question about them, because I'm being super cautious about my computer at work. I've been having issues with pages loading in Firefox and had to call in the IT people. I don't want to screw anything up.

Is there any chance that I'll have problems with my work computer by installing scripts?
I would not be doing anything for a side gig on your work computer. If it is truly downtime that you cannot fill with employer duties, bring your own device and use a hotspot. Unless you want to risk ending up fired for misuse of company resources.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

WootWoot

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 03:41:27 PM »
They don't seem to mind if we're on Facebook all day long, or making photo books online, or on music forums, or looking at cat videos. My coworker runs an Etsy shop.

I'm not kidding. I realize this is "misuse" but there literally is nothing to do, and I don't own a laptop and I can't just walk away from my desk for hours on end and use it in a hotspot.


I've never heard of MTurk scripts. Just have a quick question about them, because I'm being super cautious about my computer at work. I've been having issues with pages loading in Firefox and had to call in the IT people. I don't want to screw anything up.

Is there any chance that I'll have problems with my work computer by installing scripts?
I would not be doing anything for a side gig on your work computer. If it is truly downtime that you cannot fill with employer duties, bring your own device and use a hotspot. Unless you want to risk ending up fired for misuse of company resources.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

robartsd

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2017, 05:33:32 PM »
Thanks for the tips about scripts to find the best gigs.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2017, 05:49:16 PM »
I've never heard of MTurk scripts. Just have a quick question about them, because I'm being super cautious about my computer at work. I've been having issues with pages loading in Firefox and had to call in the IT people. I don't want to screw anything up.

Is there any chance that I'll have problems with my work computer by installing scripts?

There's always a chance. I feel safe installing scripts that thousands of other people also use and have reviewed positively, but scripts could technically do malicious things. If you want to be super cautious, I would skip them.

If it's possible to use Turkopticon without using the script, I would look into that - that's the most important one in my (somewhat limited) experience. Not as efficient as the script, but better than wasting five minutes on a task before realizing the pay is not worthwhile.
Referrals for...
Prolific Academic: http://www.prolific.ac/rp?ref=3PJ4H43L (Earn money by taking academic surveys - way better than mturk, I average ~$9/hr)
Robinhood: http://bit.ly/2uGXBPG (Get a free stock!)

Acastus

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2017, 10:47:41 AM »
I think a better business would be as middle man. Offerthe service, be the sales person, and have the Mechanical Turk do the work behind the scenes.

Zacharias

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2017, 12:50:10 PM »
Hi! thanks for the helpful information. I didn't know there were forums so I will look into that.

As far as options go, I can't do anything requiring a web cam, or headphones, so stuff like transcription is out. I'm not multilingual. I can go pretty quickly through some of the receipts that are posted, where you get numbers from grocery chits. I know those are pretty low-paying, though.

$15,000 is pretty impressive, BTW!

Open to your advice! :)

I'm in a very similar situation as you as far as web cam, headphones, etc go.

You're right that most of the receipt jobs are terrible. Since I'm am not diligently watching the new tasks that appear, I tend to make the most off of surveys and longitudinal studies that have been posted to forums. While I don't usually "catch" these when they first appear, they are often reposted throughout the day and I am able to "catch" it by running a script to search for that job. There are also different tasks that appear with some regularity in batches that are easy to work on for a few minutes here and there. Some examples include phrasing questions to an autoresponder in multiple ways or looking  at a series of 10 photographs of forests and indicating if you spot smoke from a fire.

For me, finding hits and scripts that are helpful and hopefully trustworthy comes down to being engaged in one of the mturk forums.

Zacharias

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Re: Mechanical Turk--worth it?
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2017, 01:02:41 PM »
I think a better business would be as middle man. Offerthe service, be the sales person, and have the Mechanical Turk do the work behind the scenes.

This would definitely have the potential to earn more if you are suited to or develop those skills. Interestingly enough, if you wanted to go this route, I'd still recommend getting involved with the mturk worker forums for feedback on developing the tasks so that you get the results you are looking for.