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Mturk stands for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which is something I’ve just recently discovered. I’ve talked a bit about how I’m at home for the summer, and during that time I’ve been looking for ways to make some extra money. I don’t quite want to pursue an actual part time job, because I’m enjoying the free time to pursue my hobbies, but it would definitely be nice to have some extra money saved in our house downpayment fund. So I’ve picked up some odd jobs here and there like babysitting and yard work for a family friend, but I also wanted something I could do online from home, preferably in my pajamas while watching Netflix.

This is where Mturk comes in. Amazon’s Mturk is a site that allows you to sign up and perform microtasks for various requesters on the site. This can be anything from answering surveys to transcribing audio to examining websites and giving feedback on the design. It is basically for things that people need feedback on that can’t be done by computers, they need real people. Some of them are really fun, I’ve even played little games with other users who are participating at the same time. Sure, they’re probably studying our actions, but why not do something cool for money?

Most HITs (as they call the tasks) pay under a dollar, and the tricky part is knowing who is trying to rip you off, and which ones are worth completing. I mean you might see a task that pays $10.00 (especially the transcription ones!), but if it takes you 4 hours, not worth it. I pretty much stick to the ones that are at least 50 cents, and take 5-10 minutes. You should always calculate what your hourly pay would be to make sure you’re not getting a raw deal. But really, it adds up fast. I’ve been doing it since the beginning of the month, and earned just over $100 dollars, which isn’t bad for just an hour or two of work a day, mostly while doing other things.

And the more you do it, the more opportunities you get. You can only complete HITs you are qualified for, and some requesters put minimums on there. So for example, you have to have a certain level of approval rating – mostly 95+, which means that the ones you submit have to be accepted by the requester. So if you just fly through it and click a bunch of random stuff, you likely will fail one of the attention checks and get rejected. Other requesters want you to have a minimum of approved HITs, so once I hit 100 approved submissions some more opportunities opened up. Additionally, sometimes requesters will contact you by email to invite you to further surveys if you do a good job. You can even get bonus money from doing well!

Since it’s through Amazon, the whole thing is very secure and reliable. I haven’t done it yet, but supposedly you can just transfer the money directly to your bank account, as long as you have been a member for 10+ days. At first you’re limited to 100 submissions a day until you pass that trial period, but I never got anywhere near that limit. It really is a great program, check it out!