The real reason I need to stay at home is because baby girl isn’t what I would call portable. She doesn’t love her car seat or driving unless it’s on her terms. Most of the time, her preferred location is right there on my left hip. That makes most work opportunities a little tough.

MTurk Review HITs PageEnter Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). I love Amazon, so this seemed like an ideal first attempt. Plus, I can do all the work from the comfort of my own home.

What is MTurk?

The premise is simple, there are menial tasks out there that computers just can’t do, they have to be done by a human. Those tasks, called Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), are posted on the MTurk site. Turkers, a mashup of “worker” and “Turk”, can choose the HIT they want to complete. HITs average about $0.05, so you’re not going to get rich doing this.

The plus side is most small tasks take a minute or two to complete so you can squeeze one in between getting juice and potty time. The downside is, well, it’s only a nickel.

Getting Started

I applied to MTurk about six months ago (just after baby girl was born), but was rejected. I guess they had too many Turkers at the time. A few months ago, I received an email that said I was accepted.

To really test out the site, I waited until both of the kids were in bed. I allotted myself one hour and did a number of menial tasks, including labeling pictures of planes (I don’t know why) and a couple of college surveys. The surveys tend to pay more, but they also take more time. The highest paying one was a website description I wrote, which netted me $0.85. One hour later, I was $3.43 richer.

MTurk How Much I Made

Bottom Line

Okay, so I’m not going to get rich doing MTurk, but it’s not all bad.

The pluses:

  • It’s available whenever I want, which means I can work during nap time, even if it’s an hour later than normal
  • Pay is almost instantaneous. It takes less than a week to get the money or I can push it into my Amazon account as credit. (This is super dangerous because I love Amazon shopping, so I do not recommend pushing the money to your account as a credit.)
  • You don’t have to talk to anyone. Sometimes I like my quiet time.
  • Some HITs will pay you a bonus if you do multiple HITs for the same client.
The minuses:
  • If you have a couple of hours to work without the kids, this is not worth the money.
  • Some of the tasks are mind-numbingly boring.
  • Other tasks require more work than the money they’re worth.
Overall, MTurk is worth it when you have about 10 minutes to burn and you want to earn a little cash. Emphasis on little. It’s some nice pocket change, but it certainly won’t pay the bills.

The one nice thing is you can do it while taking care of the kids, so a little here and a little there.


2 thoughts on “Amazon’s MTurk: Working From My Couch

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