Since completing university, Paul has worked as a librarian, teacher, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he currently lives in Florida.
What Is Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)?
For those who don't know, Amazon Mechanical Turk, or MTurk, is a "crowdsource" program where you earn money online by performing basic tasks (known as "HITs") for employers (known as "Requesters").
Typical MTurk HITs that you might find on the site are simple tasks, but ones that a machine is unable to do, for instance: rewriting sentences, completing surveys, writing original articles, copying text from scans and photos, or transcribing audio files.
You can be paid either in the form of cash (which Amazon pays into your bank account) or in the form of Amazon gift cards you can spend on their website.
In my experience, Amazon Mechanical Turk can be one of the fastest ways to make money online, and these tips and tricks should help you to earn more, as well as lower the chances of you getting ripped off.
Mechanical Turk has a number of rivals, one example being Microworkers; read my article about the pros and cons of making money with Microworkers for more details
Advantages and Disadvantages of Amazon MTurk
Rather than write a formal Mechanical Turk review, I've listed the main pluses and minuses of MTurk in a pros-and-cons format below.
- You can work from home.
- You can pick and choose the jobs that you want to do.
- It's free to sign up.
- Amazon doesn't regulate it very tightly, so there are quite a few scams and rip-offs and you don't have much recourse or comeback.
- The payments can be stingy (and they seem to be getting stingier as time goes on).
Top 10 Amazon Mechanical Turk Tips
Here are some of the tips and tricks that I have picked up:
1. Watch Out for Scammers
Stay clear of any HITs that ask you for your real email, full name, address, or credit card details. You don't want to end up being spammed, or even worse, defrauded. Genuine Amazon Mechanical Turk requesters won't ask you for personal info. For more details, see my article about how to avoid MTurk scams.
2. Use Forums Such as Turker Nation and MTurk Forum to stay Informed
The MTurk Forums will keep you up to date with what's happening with Amazon Mechanical Turk and you can learn from other worker's experiences. These forums are set up and self-run by Mechanical Turk workers, and though they won't give you any comeback against the rip-off requesters and scammers, they may help you to avoid the worst of MTurk and direct you towards the best requesters and practices. The main two that I've used are Turker Nation and MTurk Forum.
3. Download and Use the Turkopticon Toolbar
This is maybe the most important of my Mechanical Turk tips and tricks. The Turkopticon toolbar will allow you to see how previous Mechanical Turk workers have assessed a particular requester. You can see helpful reviews from other Mechanical Turk workers before you decide to take a hit or not: for example, did the requester reject an MTurk HIT without good reason, and did they pay in a reasonable time. One scam some unscrupulous requesters use to get out of paying is to reject your work on the grounds that it is inadequate.
This tool is worth having if you're a regular Mechanical Turk user, in my opinion, as it really does work. There are toolbar versions for Firefox and Google Chrome browsers on their website.
Read More From Toughnickel
4. Avoid 1-Cent HITs on Mechanical Turk (Unless They Look Like Fun or You're Desperate)
Even if a one-cent hit takes you only three minutes to complete, you are still looking at a pay rate of just 12 cents an hour. That means you'd have to spend an entire day working on Mechanical Turk just to earn a single dollar. The 2-cent Mechanical Turk hits aren't much better. The only way that these hits pay is if all you're doing is clicking on something or copying and pasting a word or phrase.
5. Think Through How Long a Task Takes in Mechanical Turk and the Relative Pay Rate
It's worth looking at whether it's worth it before you get involved with an Amazon Mechanical Turk HIT. Some of them require a qualification test to be passed before you can even begin working on the HIT(s) proper. Some of them have extensive instructions, slowing you down and increasing the chance of you getting your submitted hits rejected. If there are plenty of Mechanical Turk HITs for you to do and the pay's not too bad, it may still be worth you accepting the HIT, but give the matter a little thought.
6. Remember That Surveys Are Often Good Payers
The surveys you find in Amazon Mechanical Turk generally pay better than most HITs, and you are more likely to receive your money, as surveys are often conducted by colleges and universities, rather than virtually anonymous individuals. Some Mechanical Turk surveys will pay you $1 or more for 5 or 10 minutes work, and since I wrote this article, the payment rates for surveys have gone up. Just be wary of the scam hits that sometimes dress themselves up as surveys, e.g. "answer some questions about our website," "fill in this form giving us your personal details."
The other good payers in Mechanical Turk, if you have writing skills, are the short articles HITs that are often advertised, where you put together a 100–200 word piece for between $1 and $2. Most of the time you can just reword information that you copy from Wikipedia.
7. Remember That if Something Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Unfortunately, the big paying Amazon Mechanical Turk HITs are usually put there by scammers. Generally speaking, nobody is going to pay you $10 in Mechanical Turk just to test their website. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Mechanical Turk requesters who offer $10 or $20 for a 1- or 2- minute task, like wanting you to check if their website is working, are pretty much always up to no good.
8. Read the Instructions Carefully Before You Accept a HIT
This is of my most important Mechanical Turk tips: control your HIT return rate. If you regularly end up having to return an Amazon Mechanical Turk HIT because you can't (or don't want to) complete it, then this will affect your "hit return rate" adversely. Another way to hurt your hit return rates is to complete and submit a number of Mechanical Turk hits incorrectly, then get them rejected, which can be very frustrating, as well as a huge waste of time. This doesn't matter if you do it once or twice, but if you do it regularly, then it will limit the range of Mechanical Turk HITs that you can take.
9. Use the "Sort By" and "Search" Options to Find the HITs You Are After
For instance, if you were looking on Mechanical Turk for a new survey that pays over 50c, you'd type "survey" in the search box and set the hit value to 50c. You can then put the results in order with the newest hits first. Searching like this can save you a lot of time on Mechanical Turk. There are over 100,000 MTurk hits on offer sometimes, and you don't want to end up wading through them one at a time.
10. Link Your Bank Account to Amazon if You Want to Get Paid in Cash
Amazon will keep you posted on how much money you've earned with Mechanical Turk as you go along (though be warned that many Mechanical Turk requesters won't pay you immediately). The Mechanical Turk money will appear in your regular Amazon account in a section called Amazon Payments. You can convert this money into gift card money which you can spend on Amazon. Alternatively, if you want it in cash, then link a bank account to your Amazon account.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can I change my name and mobile number in the Amazon MTurk account?
Answer: Yes. Click on your current name at the top right of the dashboard page, then select "Change your name, e-mail address, or password" under Account Settings. You can edit both your name and mobile number from there.
© 2011 Paul Goodman
ujwalambala on August 16, 2020:
im ready to sell my MTURK ID any one interest ping me firstname.lastname@example.org
OurHitStop on February 28, 2020:
You've been using the wrong mTurk forums. OHS took the majority of TN's most experienced workers with us when we left TN after they pulled the rug out from underneath us back in the Fall of 2018. https://www.ourhitstop.com
ram on May 25, 2019:
Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers in 23 countries outside of the US can now transfer their earnings to bank accounts.
I am spending 15 hrs on my pc and making 250$ per months maximum, now they are transfering to 23 countries. Good news for 23 countries but no use.
I request mturk to don't change india payment method. We are satisfied with this. Lets see what they do after June, 17 2019.
ARUN SAMUEL on April 09, 2019:
any one, bought and give me one mturk id
Judy on March 17, 2019:
Hi, I was trying to change my password and when I signed in with the new password it was a whole new account. All my work gone.
Bob on February 08, 2019:
I've been on mTurk for half a month and getting my feel for it and some rhythm down .. done a few task jobs but mostly studies and surveys. Averaging about $7.00 per day at an easy part time pace .. taking a slow relaxing approach .. 220 submissions .. no rejections, yet and total earnings of about $120 .. so at this pace I'll be estimating about $250 a month without stress.
I use Hit Scraper with integrated Turk Opticon and Overwatch quietly running in background for the two or three requesters I follow. Other than that I just slowly watch for new studies and pick them if they have no red TO indicators .. try to stay green.
Why am I going so slow and careful? .. Mturk for me is covering my Power Bill, Phone Bill and car insurance .. so those bills are gone .. anything beyond that is gravy for me. If can continue erasing those three monthly expenses by Turking ... in the early morning .. and evening .. it makes my life that mush easier. Besides, I actually enjoy most of the studies. hav'a grt day.
Robert from West Texas on January 28, 2019:
About the one cent Hit - I was able to receive better HITS once my account had over 5,000 completes. Got lucky and found the Amazon branded requester that had an easy two click skirt batch and completed 877 hits within several hours. Each hit took 6 to 12 seconds. If you have a wired internet connection someone could complete them faster. I used a script from Turkerview to view the time.
Gail Ray on February 19, 2018:
When Installing Turkopticon. What does a "script manager and the script itself" mean ?
Eastward from Bangkok, Thailand on January 20, 2018:
I've had a good experience using Amazon. One has to have a good strategy to make it worthwhile to be certain. I didn't know about the Turkopticon toolbar. That's a new one to me!
Mr. Dollar Turk on January 05, 2018:
The sign up process can go from 2 weeks to 6 months. They do not accept new sign ups from india (too many could colapse the system due to lowering pay rate) and you can make 30 dollar a day with 3-4 hours but somethings take a little bit longer. you have to use scripts, tricks, and programs made by third party. for is a good side income .
Vadivel on December 13, 2017:
Not able to sign up mturkCan any one suggest me the tips to signup with mturk in india
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 11, 2017:
Been keen to get into this Turk thing I have been reading so much about. Fingers crossed that it works out the way I hope. Thanks for the hub.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 11, 2017:
Good hub, i like a first hand users point of view. The two links you have listed in " You'll find Turker Nation here and MTurk Forum here." don't work.
LS on November 20, 2017:
I had a very bad experience with Mechanical Turk. I had 75 $ in my account and it was suddenly closed. I never received an email or a notification. I called to them, I wrote lots of emails and never received an answer. I lost all of my hard earned money without any explanation.
The pay is low and there are some scammers, they take advantage of your time and effort.
Don't lose your time with Mechanical turk.
CW on November 17, 2017:
Kobe, it takes a long time to get approved, months. Does it give you a reason for decline? If you have a secondary e-mail address, try with another e-mail. Amazon can be really vague about why you arent being accepted.
Kobe on November 15, 2017:
I've been trying to sign up at mturk but everytime I get declined can anyone tell me what the problem is.
Stephen on January 16, 2017:
Great article - thank you!
However, it seems very odd that mturks just denied me. I found the process very strange, when I went to apply it simply asked me to log into my Amazon account, which I did, and then it asked no other information about me.
All that they know about me is that I've purchase 10s of 1000s on their site in the last few years... and, that I recently cancelled Amazon Prime.
There's apparently no means to contact them about this (see full text below). Any suggestions?
Thank you for your guidance! :)
Full email text:
Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,
We have completed our review of your Amazon Mechanical Turk Worker Account. We regret to inform you that you will not be permitted to work on Mechanical Turk.
Our account review criteria are proprietary and we cannot disclose the reason why an invitation to complete registration has been denied. If our criteria for invitation changes, you may be invited to complete registration in the future.
Thank you for your interest in Mechanical Turk.
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Micah on December 05, 2016:
Honestly I don't know what some of you all are talking about, I just looked at MTurk and some of those HITs surveys are about 5 dollars! When I get accepted I'm going to work extremely hard, Christmas is coming up, and a new computer has my name on it lol.
Jeff Darling on November 18, 2016:
I just got approved to be a turk worker. Also since I'm a developer, I was curious to see what the other side looks like as a requester so I also got a requester account, deposited some money and created some sample HITS. I've started learning that people tend to look at a HIT, decide its boring or too difficult and move on. I look forward to learning more about using Amazon Mechancal Turk.
Matabel Ogana on October 24, 2016:
Do they accept people from kenya?would wish to try it.
Kindly let me know
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on August 31, 2016:
Paul, this is a very good review of things to watch out for with mturk requesters. I tried it a few times just to see what can be accomplished. I like the fact that the money earned can be moved to Amazon so it can be allied to future purchases.
I did run into a few requesters that seemed to be asking for too much personal info and I avoided them. Now that I read your hub I realize that I probably was right about those few. But as you said, there are many good ones there.
Just a heads-up: the hyperlinks you gave to the resources marked "here" don't work?
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 11, 2015:
I'm constantly learning about these money making sites on Hub Pages, and to be honest this was a new one on me. I'm still debating whether to check it out or not, I've wasted a lot of time rating phone calls, transcribing, etc., and the payoff was just not worth the time and effort. Thanks for sharing these tips.
Robert Morgan from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert AZ on July 11, 2015:
Paul, maybe I missed it, but is mturk still a good deal? Thanks for your articles.
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on December 14, 2014:
Hubpages pays MTurk workers to assess the quality of newly published hubs.
Emilia Riera from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 14, 2014:
Mturk was listed on my hub traffic data. Not sure why they came to my hub, but at least I now know what it means! Thank you for this info.
Hope Centre on November 28, 2014:
I tried to sign up with Mturk and they simply denied me...It doesn't make any sense to me...why?....any idea??
AOkay12 from Florida on July 03, 2014:
I started using Mturk the beginning of this year. The first few months, I was really that in to things, since the pay is so low for most HITS. After spending more time there, I have learned how to find HITS that pay more for the time that I spend there. The money is not enough to pay major bills, but it is nice to have a few extra dollars to buy lunch or some coffee.
not impressed on June 22, 2014:
If your Australian don't bother trying to sign up, they just reject you stating rubbish about not being able to tell you why and when I googled it there were a lot of other Australians out there that were rejected too.
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on April 26, 2014:
Very useful and informative. I will check it. Thank for your super post.
Brittney Michelle Oliver on April 02, 2014:
Hi is there any one out there that can tell me how to get the master qul so am able to do more of the better paying hits or what it takes
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on December 01, 2013:
Bonuses are usually paid in my experience. Pay rates have been drifting downwards for some time - mainly because it's international and people who live in poorer countries with lower living costs will work for less money.
John Coviello from New Jersey on November 30, 2013:
Thanks for this article. What about the M Turk bonuses? Do some of the Requesters still pay bonuses? How are the pay rates now compared to the past?
muthu on July 14, 2013:
register in mturk is not possible
i need to register
doubled on June 27, 2013:
hey man I appreciate all of your help... beings that you DO have a life outside of the interwebs.. I think im gonna give it a go!!!
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on April 06, 2013:
No idea what you are talking about, sorry! Most of the tests for specific HITs you can only do once, if you fail it, that's it!
r on April 06, 2013:
will u pls tell me classification accuracy I am having 80 whether I am allowed to retake the test again when it come. or only once. Pls clarify
Bill Ashworth from Charlotte, North Carolina on March 28, 2013:
Thanks very much. I appreciate your help.
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on March 28, 2013:
There are different types of HIT, but where you have to click on a link to start, I would recommend this. Accept the HIT then leave that (Windows) page open. Right click the link to start and select "open in a new window". Complete the HIT in the new window, then copy the completion code over to the old window.
Bill Ashworth from Charlotte, North Carolina on March 28, 2013:
I have tried Mechanical Turk and seem to have considerable problems finding my way back to the original HIT page in order to enter completion codes. Several times, that has meant not getting credit for performing the HIT. I was hoping you might be able to help me. Thanks.
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on March 27, 2013:
It sounds like you've failed the test for the qualification. You will have to find another HIT to do, if that is the case.
mohamed raffi on March 26, 2013:
I am having qualified for only 80 instead of 85, not able to work in Amazon requester (browser classification). when I click it shows, you cannot retake the qualification again.what is the meaning of this ? It means hereafter I should not request the qualification or what? Pls comment.,
Josh Lorg on March 23, 2013:
I would advise everyone here to try CloudCrowd. It's much better than Amazon Mechanical Turk in many ways. Once you start working, you'll see the difference.
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida USA on March 20, 2013:
I personally have never had any problems of this nature.
Power Ball Pythons from Mobile, AL on March 20, 2013:
I've heard about accounts being suspended and the money taken away when a person builds a large amount. I just ALWAYS withdraw as soon as I hit $10.00. I have been several hundreds over the past couple years and have never had a problem. It's still making money on the internet, so there's always a risk. Try to minimize by taking money out as soon as you hit the minimum payout.
Brea Vee on March 19, 2013:
I have worked on MTurk site and have something to say that is not good. I built up a good amount of money and suddenly my account was suspended and I was not allowed in my account to get my money. Basically I have been ripped off. They suspend you and take away access to all the money you earned. Everything I did that I was waiting for payment for is gone too. No reason given, no answers to my emails as to why. I even called and can get no where with getting access back. So Beware.