Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing an MTurk blog: A look at the best ones

Sustaining an MTurk blog isn’t always easy.  Like most turkers, I suspect, my enthusiasm for MTurk ebbs and flows.  There are periods where I do a lot of turking, periods where I do just a little each day, and periods where I do no turking at all.  The reasons for this are varied.  Sometimes there are HITs on MTurk that I enjoy and pay reasonably well, so I spend more time on MTurk to exploit them.  Sometimes I am forced to spend more time on MTurk purely because I need some extra money.  Other times, I have other things happening in my life and I haven’t the time, need, or motivation to be on MTurk.

I have been looking at other blogs recently, principally ones that are written by turkers and aimed at other MTurk workers - there aren’t actually that many active ones around, it seems.  The official Amazon MTurk blog, for instance, tends to focus more on the needs of requesters and programmers, than the requirements of turkers.

Judging by some of the other MTurk blogs out there that I have managed to find, many turkers start out with the notion that they can make enough regular money off MTurk to sustain themselves for a long period of time.  Then they gradually become disillusioned if this doesn’t happen and some get angry with being poorly treated, or at the quality of some of the HITs.  Some of the most entertaining and informative writing comes from disillusioned turkers, although their blogs are often short-lived.




Mechanical Turk Blog” was clearly motivated to write an MTurk blog in order to highlight what he saw as the scams and injustices of MTurk, of which there are many.  I think it is a continual source of disappointment to all of us that Amazon can appear unwilling, or unable, to police the posted HITs better when they are clearly aimed at gathering workers’ contact details for spamming purposes, or worse still, are aimed at collecting personal info to be used for identity theft.  These sort of HITs appear regularly on MTurk, sometimes masquerading as a “survey” or a “website test”.  Other times, turkers are being asked to perform tasks that are of questionable ethics, and/or legality.



Having made his point, “Mechanical Turk Blog” now seems to have melted back into cyberspace.

Turk Lurker’s blog has some entertaining and informative reads in it!  He has a dry sense of humor, referring to Mechanical Turk as the “Slave Yard” and giving his blog the url: “MTurkey”.  Strange that his posts suddenly stop in 2007 and then suddenly reappear in 2011, but these things happen, I guess – maybe his wife had a baby or something?

Eric Cranston wrote an interesting turker blog, but unfortunately it petered out in 2007 after 2 years of posts.

There are many blogs by people on how to make money from home which refer to MTurk in passing, but it they generally just write a single article and they often don’t give you much more information or insight than a general introduction to MTurk for beginners.



Anybody know of any more interesting MTurk blogs?

16 comments:

  1. I think in the early days MTurk was a good way to make money from home. I just think there are other methods which work better now.

    I put a job up on MTurk once and it was pulled because it broke the rules. I had no idea what I did wrong and was sent a standard email saying "Your job has broken one of the following rules..." and then they listed 20 possible rules I might have broken.

    It seems many of these sites link those who want work with those who will do the work, but they are becoming impersonal and will ban you at the first offense. For the genuine worker who wants to do the right thing, it's difficult to follow all the rules of the many websites.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been okay with MTurk. Early on I made the mistake of messing up 10 HITs, which I paid for later in terms of a bad approval rating. I almost never get rejected now though.

    I think the problem for me is more that wages seem to be constantly driven downwards and it seems harder and harder to get decent paid jobs.

    There are other ways to make money, you are right, and some of them will pay you better in the long run. It might take you months, however, in some cases. The great thing with MTurk is that you get the money very quickly.

    I am using all my MTurk money at the moment to save up for my wife's Xmas present! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Paul,

    I just recently started up a blog on mTurk as well. I'll be posting the best paying HITs I find each day. It's slow going so far, while I am testing the layout, and you know, with traveling for the holidays and all. I plan on ramping it up once I'm back at the house in early December.

    I'd be willing to put up a link to your blog as well if you want.

    Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think:

    http://hitsworthturkingfor.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just started last night with mturk, and have made 13.00-I've been out of work for awhile and no luck on the job front. I spent months filling out surveys for Global something or other with nothing to show for it, so I think this is going to be much better :) If I could do this daily for 2 weeks I'm hoping to order my sons xmas present with the gift card. I like your blog, I hope you haven't decided to quit on it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Justin - interesting idea for a blog, reviewing individual hits!

    @Trish - Good luck with saving for Xmas. I am using MTurk for the same purpose at the moment. I got my wife's gift from Amazon, next it's my daughters! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Paul, starting to ramp it up now. Changed my goal to show people how to make a quick $5 each day. Glad to know others are blogging about the mTurk experience too. I've enjoyed reading through some of your rants, ravings and remarks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey, Paul-- thanks for the useful tips! I'm a new Turker and just want to write what I see along the way. We'll see if I end up burning out on it, but it's fun so far.

    Justin, Paul-- I added both of your blogs to my "links" list.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Keep up the good work, Cervantes!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey Paul,
    Nice writeup. I have come across few other sites particularly microtoilers.com. Do you have anything to say about it ?

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