Mechanical Turk is a business opportunity offered by Amazon’s Web Services. It allows companies to outsource simple tasks to a large pool of workers and it allows workers to make a small amount of money after completing the tasks. There are thousands of tasks and most do not require advanced knowledge or special skills. This website is popular with both businesses looking to outsource work and workers looking for some extra money.
A Successful Experiment
Mechanical Turk started out as an experiment by Amazon and the idea became popular. It worked because it was simple to use for both businesses and workers. The interface is intuitive and and it is easy to figure out how to navigate through the website.
A Brief History of the Name
The name, “Mechanical Turk,” refers to a wooden mannequin that wore Turkish garbs. This mannequin played chess. The Hungarian nobleman who built the mannequin claimed that it was programmed to make chess moves. In other words, the first form of artificial intelligence. Since the mannequin played rather good chess, beating people quite frequently, spectators were impressed. In actuality, a chess master sat in the mannequin playing the game.
How Mechanical Turk Works
Mechanical Turk offers the opportunity for people working from home to make money doing tasks that computers are not good at doing. These tasks are called HITs—an acronym for Human Intelligence Tasks. It also offers businesses a way to outsource work to a large pool of people.
Benefits to Workers and Employers
Workers benefit because they can work from home, choose their own hours, and make minimal wage if they do a number of tasks an hour.
Here are some examples of the type of work available:
* Surveys about a website’s suitability for a general audience.
* Identification of correct spellings in search terms.
* Finding specific things in images, like an item number.
* Rating keyword search results
* Comparing two products
* Deciding on the best categories for products
* Critiquing an article
* Translating an article from one language to another
Pay for work ranges from one cent per task to five dollars. Usually, if the pay is a few cents, the work can be done in a few minutes.
Businesses benefit because they don’t have to hire a developer to create software for small projects, nor do they have to hire part-time employees. Sometimes, too, the task is simple for human beings, like observing images in a picture and making comments, but difficult for a computer application to do.
Here are some of the services businesses need help with:
* Improving sentences
* Verifying contact information
* Captions for pictures
* Descriptions for videos
* Screening out offensive content for a general audience
* Getting subjects for studies
* Getting market information through surveys
* Writing short articles
Is it Cost-Effective or Profitable?
From a business perspective, it can be cost-effective and from a worker’s perspective it is possible to earn minimum wage if a person follows a specific strategy. Numerous books are available on Amazon on how to optimize Mechanical Turk either as an employer or as a worker.
Matt Kilsdonk runs HelpfulReviewer.com a site dedicated to bringing unbiased reviews of products and services that can save you money.