Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a Legit Way to Make Money Online?

Amazon Mechanical TurkWhether you are working a full-time job and looking for some extra income or are seeking employment and need to make money right now, performing short, simple tasks for cash is available through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a legit way to make money online? And is it possible to earn a full-time living from?

What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?

Mechanical Turk, or “MTurk”, is an online marketplace offered by that allows businesses to post Human Intelligence Tasks, or “HITs” that can be done by workers for MTurk, or “Turkers”. There are thousands of HITs available at any given time and each HIT can range from a few cents to a few dollars each.

The tasks that are available on MTurk can be just about anything you can think of that can be completed online. Some of the most common tasks you will see include:

  • Completing academic and consumer surveys
  • Transcribing audio or video files
  • Performing quality assurance on websites
  • Recording audio or video for research studies
  • Writing a comment or summary of a blog post
  • Creating blog posts
  • Entering written data from receipts and other sources

Each HIT can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours to complete and are paid out once approved by the requester. As long as you complete the task per the directions given, you will be paid for the HIT within 30 days, but usually no more than a couple days after you complete the task.

Is it a Legit Way to Make Money Online?

When you first start working for MTurk you shouldn’t expect to be making tons of money right away. Although the tasks that you will be completing are very easy and sometimes only take a couple minutes, the amount of money that can be earned per HIT is usually pretty low.

Human Intelligence Tasks
Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) range from a few dollars to a few cents per task.

Before you decide if you want to accept a HIT you are given a description of what you will be required to do, how long it should take, and how much you will earn upon successful completion of the task.

Although there are some HITs that pay really well, sometimes $70 or more, those types of tasks require certain qualifications in order to be eligible to perform. Qualifications that are required for higher paying HITs include:

  • Qualification tests
  • Certain number of HITs approved (500, 1000, 2000, etc)
  • High approval percentage (95% approved or higher)
  • Specific tasks for certain demographics

Most of the HITs that you will be completing until you are eligible for the higher paying tasks are usually no more than $2 or $3 per HIT, and most often less than $1. So in order to be able to earn enough money to make working for MTurk worth it you will need to complete as many HITs as you possibly can.

One of the issues that you will encounter when attempting to complete a high amount of HITs that pay well is the competition for those tasks is extremely high. Also, if you can only work during the evening hours the amount of competition goes up and good paying HITs goes down.

You might be able to catch a few HITs that pay $1 or $1.50 every once in a while, but with thousands of other Turkers online also trying to get the higher paying HITs it becomes discouraging quick when you constantly click on higher paying HITs and they are unavailable.

Performing a high amount of low paying HITs that are almost always available is the best way to increase the amount of your approved tasks so you can become eligible for HITs that have lower competition. Unfortunately this can leave you doing 3-4 hours of work and only making a few dollars the entire time.

MTurk Earnings
Depending on how many HITs you complete, earning a few extra dollars each day is possible.

Is Amazon Mechanical Turk Legit?

If your goal when starting to work for MTurk is just to earn a few dollars here and there when you have a couple of hours of spare time that you would otherwise be spending watching TV or browsing the Internet, then being a Turker might be for you.

As far as earning a full-time income, unless you have a solid 8 hours each day to spend and are okay with performing hundreds of monotonous tasks that rarely pay very well, working for Amazon Mechanical Turk isn’t a very legitimate way to earn a living working online.

On average, if you are able to spend 3-4 hours each day in the peak times from 10am – 3pm EST, you could expect to make around $2-6 per day at the beginning and around $20 per day once you have been working for MTurk for a few months. Not exactly a full-time income but can be a good way to supplement another job if you have the time and the patience.

If completing thousands of mind-dulling tasks for very little money doesn’t sound like the greatest plan for you, especially in the long-term, then you might consider starting your own online business instead.

Instead of spending your time performing menial tasks for someone else, creating an online business in a niche that you are passionate about will not only be emotionally rewarding, but can actually be a legitimate way to earn a full-time income that you can count on for the rest of your life.

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