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Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a Scam? – What You Should Know


Amazon Mechanical Turk reviewAmazon Mechanical Turk, aka MTurk, is a freelance marketplace that hooks up workers with easy tasks which you can complete to earn money. The upside to the job is that can work from anywhere and work as much as you would like, but is it really worth your time and effort? Or is Amazon Mechanical Turk a scam in one way or another?

These are important questions that need to be answered before moving forward. There are lots of different “make money online” opportunities out there that just are not worth anyone’s time and that you should avoid. But is this one of them? Well this largely depends on what you are looking for and how much you are looking to make. In this review I’ll be going over how MTurk works, what types of tasks/jobs you will be completing, how much you will get paid, complaints and more.

Amazon Mechanical Turk Review

Amazon Mechanical Turk (at MTurk.com) is it a “marketplace that requires human intelligence” and yes, they are run by the e-commerce giant Amazon. What they do is provide a marketplace for simple online tasks that cannot be completed accurately by computers. Believe it or not computers cannot yet completely replace human intelligence on many different tasks and this is the purpose of the site.

Clients, a.k.a. requesters, will come to MTurk and post jobs that they need done. The job/tasks will be added to the list and workers will be able to browse through them in choose to complete them if they so desire.

As I said, the upside to working for MTurk is that you can work as little or as much as you want to, and whenever you want to, but the downside is that you will not make much money, as I will go over.

This site is very similiar to PicoWorkers and MicroWorkers if you are familiar with them.

What Type of Work Will You Be Doing?

There or lots of different types of work available in the marketplace. Some of the more common tasks that you will see include the following…

Transcribing Audio – This is when you listen to audio recordings and transcribe them into written documents. There could be all sorts of different audio files that you would need to transcribe here, such as lectures, phone calls, conference calls, etc. (If interested in only doing transcription you can check out Scribie and Rev Transcription)

Identifying Things in Pictures/Video – Computers are not very good at identifying objects in pictures and tagging them appropriately, so you will find these types of jobs list on the site. You might have to just tag objects found in images, or you might get tasks that require you to review a set of images and choose which you think is the best.

Researching Data – All sorts of different tasks could be included in this category. One task might require you to verify business details on a website (phone numbers, business hours, etc.), turn in unstructured mass of data into structured list, find duplicate content and remove it, and so on.

Research – You will also find tasks that require you to do research. These could include things like writing content for a blog/website, researching and answering questions that were asked by customers on a website, reviewing legal documents for specific information, and so on.

And these are just some of the different tasks that you can expect on MTurk. There are also a lot of oddball tasks you might find.

How It Works

As you know, clients come to Amazon Mechanical Turk when they are looking for help completing tasks. They post their job listings on the site and then they are available for workers to browse through and pick up with the desire.

As a worker you will be able to browse through all the available jobs that you are qualified for. You will be able to search for specific types of tasks, sort by highest paying, oldest/newest, time given to complete, and more. What you will find is a list of different tasks that will give you the pay, time allotted, and a few other basic details. You will be able to click on any task to see what all is required before committing to anything

amazon mechanical turk listingsSome of the tasks may require you to pass a series of screening questions before hand, while others may require you to have already completed a certain amount of HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks), which is what the tasks are called, before you are able to complete. The ones that you do not qualify for due to lack of completed tasks you will not even be able to see in the listings. So the more tasks you complete, the more will be available to you as you gain experience and get some notches under your belt.

But anyway, you will complete the work as outlined in submit it. Then you will have to wait for approval from the requester. Once your work is approved you will get paid.

If you live in the US or in India you will be able to get in Amazon gift card or even have the money deposited into your bank account. For direct deposits you will transfer the money via Amazon payments and then to your bank account. If you live in other parts of the world you will only be able to get in Amazon gift card with your earnings.


I always like to read over worker reviews when I am looking into a worker at home opportunity like this. It is important to see what other people are saying so you really know what you’re getting into. I found lots of reviews on sites like SiteJabber.

Rejection for No Reason – One of the big problems with MTurk, he and other similar sites, is that they give too much power to the clients, a.k.a. the requesters.

After completing your work you will have to wait for the requester to approve of it. Sometimes they will disapprove of it and give you little to no reason why they disapproved. You might think you have done everything correctly, and maybe you did, but they still disapprove and this means you don’t get paid.

To make matters even worse, Amazon does not even have an appeal process. You are able to reach out to the requester, ask them about it, and possibly work things out, but this doesn’t always work and is a major complaint.

Low Pay – The pay will really vary a lot as you will see. Some of the tasks will pay pretty good, such as $10 or so just as an example, but many will pay extremely low. You will find many that will only pay a couple cents and are not really worth anyone’s time.

Not As Good As It Used To Be – I have no knowledge of what Mechanical Turk used to be like, but I have read complaints from workers who have been with them for a while saying that it has went downhill. This is probably due to an increase in available workers which means that clients can pay less to get their work done and workers are more disposable than ever.

No Benefits – Of course one of the complaints is that there are no benefits. You aren’t going to get health insurance or anything like that. This is something you probably already know and are okay with, but it is a complaint from some

Upside Vs Downside

There are some upsides to the job. You get to work whenever you want in this means that you can do it on the side or around your busy schedule. Another upside is that it is very easy to become a worker here. It’s not like you need previous experience, a college degree or anything like that.

The downside of course is that you get paid very little and you certainly don’t get much respect. On a freelance marketplace like this you our nothing more than a disposable number.

Final Thoughts – Worth Your Time?

Well first off, there is no way that Mechanical Turk is a scam. I’m sure there are clients that use the site to scam people by getting them to complete tasks and then disapproving of them for no good reason, but Amazon does try to filter out these clients keep the marketplace clean. As for Mechanical Turk itself, it is a legitimate marketplace and does offer a legitimate tasks you can make money with.

Is it worth your time? Now that is a different story and is largely dependent on what you are looking for. If you are looking to replace your income then this is definitely not worth your time, but if you are looking to just earn a little bit of extra money on the side in your spare time than this might be something worth considering.

The fact of the matter is you will get paid extremely low if you do end up becoming a worker here. So just don’t expect much.

Another Suggestion

Since you are looking to make money online in your spare time, you might be interested in doing what I do. I make a living working online for myself and what is nice is that I can work whenever I want and however much I want. I’m not going to get into detail here, but if you want to learn more you can click the button below…

Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂 Also, if you have your own review of MTurk I would appreciate it if you left it below. I’m sure it could benefit other readers of my blog here.

About the Author

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I hope you found this article helpful! I'm Kyle, the creator of this site, which is probably pretty obvious after seeing the name. Like most, I've had my fair share of difficulties and a pretty bumpy road while trying to find success online, which is why I put togetherthis guide so that others can get started right the first time around.

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