Because I don’t know the level of experience people have with Mturk, this MTurk guide includes stuff for those that haven’t started, just starting and those that are more advanced.
Please just skip over any parts that may not apply to you. Usually, that means starting at the General Tips and tricks
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, or MTurk as its best known, is the biggest and most well-known of the crowdsourcing and microtasking platforms.
For those looking to earn some extra money online, it can offer one of the better opportunities to do just that. But finding the right groove and making Mturk be worth your time can seem confusing and like it may not be worth your effort.
This MTurk guide is designed to help those just starting out on the Mturk platform as well as those who have been on it for a little while but feel they aren’t earning as much as they feel they should.
What is MTurk?
Want free money?
Mturk is a crowdsourcing platform. Requesters post up a varied form of tasks that they need you to do.
Tasks include, but are not limited to, surveys and academic studies, data lookup and entry, categorization, voice recording, transcription, and much more.
For each task you will get paid the amount specified on the HIT description.
Requestors may also offer bonuses for your work, which is sent to you at a later time to your Mturk account.
Signing Up for MTurk
To get started, go to https://www.mturk.com/ sign up for a worker account. It will take up to 48 hours to find out if you are accepted.
Mturk accepts most US based applicants who are 18 or above. There are some periods that they initially reject applications.
Don’t fret if that happens.
When spots open again they will send you an email approving you.
Please note, if you are outside of the USA, you most likely will not be accepted. MTurk occasionally accepts Canada, UK applicants, and very rarely other countries. If you are outside the US and do get accepted, you will only be able to use your earnings to buy things on Amazon.
Payments with MTurk
Mturk only pays through Amazon Payments. After you are accepted you will have to open an Amazon Payments account.
They will take about 24 hours to try to verify your identity. If they can’t verify you may be asked to provide proof of identity such as a state-issued ID, a utility bill with your name and correct address or some other form of identification.
You will also have to link a bank account to your Amazon payments account.
You can choose one of two ways to receive your earnings. The first is deposited directly into the linked bank account. Or you can have your earnings transferred as a credit to your Amazon account.
The First 10 Days of MTurk
For the first 10 days on MTurk you are limited to 100 HITs accepted per day. Your goal during the first 10 days should be to reach 1000 HITs by the time you are out of the 10-day probation period.
Doing higher paid survey HITs versus lower paid batches is the best way to maximize your time during your first ten days.
You should also start installing the scripts recommended later on in this document. This will allow you to get a feel for them. Most scripts are fairly straight forward in their use and you should be able to get used to how they work in your first 10 days.
Don’t get discouraged. The first few days can feel like it’s not worth the time or it’s not going to work for you. As time goes on and you find your rhythm, your earnings will increase.
MTurk Tips and Tricks
MTurk takes time: Understand that Mturk starts slow for most people. You want to work toward completing 500, 1000, 2500 and 5000 HITs. Those are the main milestones that open up more work. A few HITs might require 10000 but they are rare.
Focus on surveys: I find that surveys offer the most for my time. But you may prefer batch work. Try a combination of both to find what you like doing and works for you the best. If you like surveys, take a look at the highest paying survey sites here.
Consider batch work: Batch Work isn’t for everyone but finding some safe batches to do early on to get your numbers is a good idea. This also helps guard against the occasional rejection.
Always be watching for qualification hits: Qualification Hits are when requesters are looking for workers to do batch work but they don’t want to leave it open to everyone. Some of the most lucrative work I have done on Mturk has been from closed qual batches.
Queue HITs: This is something I didn’t find out until I was working on Mturk for more than 3 months. You can accept more than one HIT at a time. Say you see two survey HITs, both with 60 min timers. Grab them both. Then work on one, submit and then work on the other. There are days I have 5-10 HITs in a queue. Just watch your timers so HITs don’t start expiring on you.
Use HitNotifier: This accumulates all the HITs posted on the various Mturk forums and posts them in a nice list. You can quickly go through the list and see what you can grab and then PANDA (see PANDA crazy script below) what you missed.
Use Turkopicon: Turkopticon is a website where workers can review Mturk requesters. There is also a script you can download to be able to see it while you are working. The best way though is as part of the Mturk Suite extension listed below.
Check requesters “TO” to see if they pay fairly, reject unfairly and communicate well with the people that work on their HITs. This allows you to make better choices in deciding which HITs to do.
Anyone who makes decent money on MTurk uses scripts to help them. But please don’t mix up scripts and bots.
Any program that Is designed to somehow complete the HIT for you are not allowed by Mturk. But scripts that help you catch HITs and perform other functions are completely legal.
Here are the scripts I use.
This is a series of 3 scripts that work together to help you find and catch HITs that have been posted.
This link is a tutorial and documentation: http://pandacrazy.allbyjohn.com/
The script looks complicated and confusing but it’s actually pretty easy. My earnings would be cut in half or more if I didn’t use this particular script.
The first thing you need to do after installing Panda Crazy is open a new browser window (PC needs to be on a separate window to run correctly) and go to this URL to run the script.
Once that is open you can start adding HITs. If you are using Hitnotifier like mentioned earlier, or are frequenting any of the various Mturk related forums, you should now see buttons on the HITs that say “panda” “once” and “search”
For survey HITs just press the “once” button and it will automatically add it to PC and the script will start searching for that HIT.
If it finds it, you will hear music and see a browser notification. It will place the HIT into your queue and you can work on it from there. But don’t go crazy adding too many HITs.
The script cycles through them about 1 a second. If you add 50 HITs for PC to search for, then each HIT will only be looked for about once a minute. Most people keep it at 10 or below. Going above 20 is not advised.
Once you get established you will probably find that you accumulate a list of favorite requesters.
You really like doing their HITs or you got their qualification for batches they put up.
The overwatch script allows you to watch for certain requesters or keywords and will alert you when they are posting,
After installing the script, go to here and start adding the names or keywords you want to have the script watch for.
One tip: If you clear your cookies it will lose your word list. Make sure you back up your list if you need to clear your browser cookies.
This simple script just adds some additional stats to your dashboard.
You can see info like how many rejections you can get before falling below 95% approval and a few other stats that can give you insight into your account.
Mturk Suite is a browser extension that combines multiple scripts under one umbrella. It also includes a Hit Finder and Hit Catcher that some prefer over Panda Crazy.
The best thing about this suite is that it includes an easy way to track your earnings as well as a HIT database that will allow you to check your past work to see if you have already done HITs for a requester.
Overall, it’s an incredible resource in many ways.
MTurk Guide Summary
It’s true you can make money with Mturk. However, you won’t get rich.
You should use it in combination with other ways to make money from home.
If you wanted to see other ways to earn, you can check this awesome list of ways to make free PayPal money.
I hope this helps you in some way. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all, or if I can be of any other assistance, please feel free to contact me at any time.