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Internet Marketing According to Amazon Mechanical Turk

March 31st, 2012

amazon-mturk-logo.jpgA few months ago I signed up as a requester on Amazon Mechanical Turk after reading about the possibilities of outsourcing content creation and other tasks there. Although many of the submissions from workers are not exactly of the best quality and one must always be vigilant about plagiarism so that it can be rejected upon detection, I have had some cases of surprisingly well-written articles being completed for a very low cost.

As an experiment I set up an assignment at Amazon Mechanical Turk where I had the workers write an article about their experiences with Internet marketing and their attempts to make money online. I set a minimum word count of 200 with no maximum. There were no keyword restrictions or other parameters; they only had to maintain general topical relevance and not plagiarize from other sources. The pay rate was 50 cents for each article, with another 5 cents going to Amazon as commission for a total cost of 55 cents. I also paid out some bonuses for particularly high quality submissions, but for requesters this is always optional.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the submissions that I received were basically irrelevant garbage, and many more were simply copies of Wikipedia articles. Fortunately I was able to reject these and even block the associated workers from my assignments in cases where it became obvious that they were trying to “game the system” and actually lacked any real ability to write English text. However, at the other end of the spectrum I also had a few workers who clearly went above and beyond the requirements of the assignment and provided me with some genuinely interesting content that was good enough to be posted to a website with only minimal editing. Here are three of the recent submissions that would fall into the latter category.




Voyage Through the Internet: How to Make Money from Amazon Mechanical Turk

Long before, when I heard the term Internet marketing, I had the image of an alien market somewhere out in the space from where money can fly through the window, right into the pocket. Without a fraction of doubt, I can assure you that with the right knowledge and skills, you can make a considerable amount of money online. All the real-world rules do apply – you need the right skill sets, honesty, patience, and experience. You cannot discount any of them. The medium of communication, speed, and accessibility has changed – that’s all. All the efforts to be successful offline need to be applied online too. If you don’t like to spend time wandering the streets searching for another job, another interview, going through tons of verification and medical procedures, the Internet can prove to be a new place where you can take your skills and apply it in the right place.

Though not so commonly approached by the masses, this idea of making cool money from the Internet had struck me long ago even while I worked at the office. When you search the Internet, loads and loads of highly tantalizing scams pop up, and those are very tempting to the user. With some research on the Internet, I found that Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a legitimate way to make some money online. If you have the skills and are ready to throw in some of your time, Amazon Mechanical Turk can be a nice way to make money. The money makers in Mechanical Turk are the article-writing tasks, transcription tasks, and surveys. My experience is that if you’re really determined to learn the skills to become a top writer and transcriber, there are lots of opportunities waiting for you.

To make reasonable money on Mturk, you have to know how it all works. Unlike other bidding sites, you don’t have to bid and wait for the employer to give you the work. You can select the task if you are sure you can complete it in the prescribed time frame. Casting Words is a company that posts transcribing HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) and requires you to take a test before you can actually start transcribing. In such a case, it is best to take a printout of their transcription style guides, master it thoroughly, and even have some practice at transcribing audio files. A company called Speech Ink pays users (turkers) for taking transcription practice hits with the aim to motivate and train users to start transcribing new audio files. All the paid transcription tasks are to be taken very seriously. When they send you the corrected files, go through them and take note of each mistake they have corrected and take time to learn thoroughly before you proceed to take the next test. This way, you can improve your scores considerably and reach the required threshold to start transcribing. If you put in the right work, effort, and time to master the skills, you can get into their transcribing team, begin to transcribe real files, and earn more pay.

It is important to take care that the Internet is not much different from real-life situations in terms of acquiring work. The only difference is that the medium of interaction has changed and there are real people sitting behind the website interfaces monitoring how you perform and how you utilize the resources. You’re interacting with real people, so keep this in mind. If you tend to be careless and not give the best shot for each task, you lose credibility and this will considerably reduce your chance of making money in the long run. Do not intend to cheat any systems with a notion, “Oh, it’s the Internet, I’m free to do anything.” You will be kicked out of the system and blacklisted as soon as you are spotted. Secure yourself with all the best practices and work ethics, and you can go far ahead, making money and maintaining a good relationship with the online task companies.




My Attempts to Earn Money from the Internet

The quest of the human race to achieve and earn more never ends. I am no exception to this general rule. The regular income from a permanent salaried job was not satisfying me since the last few years. The economic turmoil which was happening all over the world made me all the more determined to search for an additional source of income. Being the mother of a pre-teen kid, I wanted to earn that extra by sitting from the comfort of my own home and with my own choice of time. What better method of earning suits this requirement than earning from the Internet?

My first attempt to earn money online through the Internet happened in 2001. I saw an advertisement in a local newspaper which claimed that we could very easily earn around $250 per month by making a one-time investment of $30. I promptly replied to the advertisement, paid the money, and got a list of websites in return. I was supposed to read advertisements in those websites and earn in dollars. With great enthusiasm, I purchased my first home computer and started working on the same. It took me only a couple of months to realize that the websites were not sending me the earned dollars even after I had earned the minimum redemption amount. By that time, the contact person who had sent the website list was no longer traceable.

I spent the next few years juggling between home and office and hardly having any spare time to look for other avenues of income. During these years, I used to see many similar advertisements in the newspapers. Besides reading online advertisements, there were huge numbers of offers of online and offline data entry jobs. Since each and every advertisement of this type asked for an initial deposit of money, I refrained from responding to them. In the year 2006, I again made the mistake of responding to a similar advertisement and paying an initial deposit. This time the advertisement carried a local office address, which I visited with my husband to get convinced about the authenticity. Who would have guessed that the office, occupying one room in a mall, would vanish conveniently after a couple of months?

In the final quarter of 2011, I happened to read an article in a newspaper about methods to earn money online. The article was quite inspiring because it mentioned real life cases of some individuals and how their life had changed after they started working online. The methods mentioned there were blogging, online writing, and online teaching. I immediately started looking for the online writing and teaching opportunities because these jobs suit my temperament. After gathering further information from the Internet, I discarded the teaching option temporarily because it required fixed working hours which I found difficult to manage at this point of my life. However, I found the writing opportunity immensely attractive and started filling up the application forms and appearing for online tests on these websites. In the first website, I passed the initial grammar section but failed the test because I could not finish the subsequent paragraph writing section within the allotted time.

In the second website, I passed the test and was told to submit a detailed form including my CV and sample previous writings. I informed them that I had not done any professional writing jobs before and hence did not have any sample writing. However, I had done some travel reviews online and so I sent them those samples along with the filled up form and CV. I did not receive any further communication from them. Later, I contacted them through online chat and was promptly told that my profile did not suit their requirement.

In the third website, I was given a week to write an essay in MLA style after I had passed the grammar test. Here I was told that I had failed the essay test due to plagiarism. When I further enquired, I was told to contact the HR department and then the quality department and then some other department. By second week of January 2012, I have completed writing emails to all possible departments that can exist in an organization, requesting them to review my essay once more because it was truly not copied from any source. I am still waiting for the reply.

While searching for online writing jobs, I happened to come across a website which provided some detailed methods of earning money from the Internet. One of the methods mentioned by them was the Amazon Mechanical Turk, or MTurk as it is often abbreviated. I promptly joined there as a worker in December 2011 and started working on the tasks. I have also become a member of a website where I read advertisement emails and this time I have not paid any deposit amount. Due to time constraints, I am not able to work much on this job. However, I have completed around 140 tasks in Amazon MTurk and the best part is that I am enjoying doing most of the tasks there. While performing some tasks, I am also gaining knowledge on many subjects which were previously unknown to me. I plan to request for my first payment shortly.




Online Money Making: Ideologies of Survival in Tough Financial Times

Today’s world of economic hardships and financial meltdowns has driven us all to look for alternative sources of income to support our growing financial needs. Part time jobs are a preserve for the few who can actually manage an eight-hour shift and directly head off to a second office or workplace. But for most people involved in informal work or full time students, the Internet becomes the second office and workplace where the few minutes to be spared between classes, coffee breaks, or late nights can be used to earn that invaluable dollar.

The Internet provides a vast array of choices for potential part-timers and the key area I would personally consider and partake of, which includes being paid to complete surveys, online writing of articles, online academic jobs where one can do thesis and research assignments for other students for a fee, and finally, data entry. Each of these tasks obviously has its own pros and cons and an individual interested in any of the following must first seek the relevant information to sheave out the real offers from the scams.

Personally, when starting off, I would research the type of work I was interested in and read reviews posted on social networking sites and blogs to help me determine which was the best type of work to get into and which was the best company or service provider to join. Most reviewers warned on none other than payment issues, the lack of or delay in payment processing. It is inevitable that when dealing with money such issues will arise even with the best of companies or providers. Thus a little bit of patience is required in this area. Once decided on the best type of work and company to work with the next thing is to put in as much effort as time allows performing the assigned tasks with the best of ability to ensure quick payment settlements.



5 Responses to “Internet Marketing According to Amazon Mechanical Turk”

  1. comment number 1 by: Knoji

    When we talk about get paid to websites, these are the ways to make money through the use of Internet. There are hundreds and thousands of get paid to websites all over the Internet, however there are also similar number of get paid to websites which are not legitimate and don’t really pay you for your work. In this reason, the most important thing to consider before participating in get paid to websites is to be responsible enough in searching the reputation of the website to make our efforts be paid. Thank you for writing this informative article, thanks and keep it up!

  2. comment number 2 by: Kon Sama

    I liked this post. I find it helpful to see others’ experiences at attempting to make money online. For a time I had this idea that I could make money online easier and more conveniently than in the outside world. However this dream came to a surprising end when I invested $220 dollars in a pre assembled business package that never arrived.
    To summarize a little, I searched for ideas that could be turned into businesses with little or no investment. I found a website that promised commissions from affiliate marketing and paid surveys. There were three options to choose from, $49 for a three month trial, $99 for a whole year and $220 for a pre assembled package and website for life. The people managing the sale conveniently wrote “In addition to our 24 hour support, we will guide you to through the whole process, just seat back and leave it to us.”
    I wasted my time and money. Some $220 and a two weeks of no response I tried to contact them but their phone number had been disconnected. The following three days the website was disconnected.

  3. comment number 3 by: Tammy

    I discovered it was important to diligently research all money making opportunities before putting time or money into them. My philosophy is not spending money to earn money (unless it is for your own website or something you have total control over). Visiting forums is a great way to find out if a site really pays out, how long it takes and what others have experienced. When I first started, I lost out by participating in a couple of sites that never paid out and promised myself I’d never make that mistake again. Now I take a few minutes to research money-making opps before I dive in.

  4. comment number 4 by: Ireland5

    Very interesting! I agree it is very beneficial to read about real experiences.

  5. comment number 5 by: Rod Mayberry

    Right now I am focusing a lot of my attention on social media marketing services. They have really taken off in the past quarter.

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