What is Mechanical Turk (by Amazon)

In between jobs or pay is not enough to cover your living expenses? Learn What is Mechanical Turk by Amazon and how it can help you earn ~$30-$100 a week.

What is Amazon Mechanical Turk

Maybe you are in between jobs and looking for alternative ways to make money while waiting for an interview. Or maybe you are a single mom who needs extra income. Probably a student who needs to pay off your student loan. Whoever you are, one thing is for sure. You won’t say NO to extra income!

You have probably been searching online on “How to Make Money Online” but quickly realize that there are two categories on Making Money Online. One is a scam while the other is legit but it would take years before you earn your first profit. Unfortunately, neither of those two words for you but don’t worry. Today, I will introduce to you Amazon Mechanical Turk. 

What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?

Amazon Mechanical Turk according to Amazon is,

“a crowdsourcing marketplace that makes it easier for individuals and businesses to outsource their processes and jobs to a distributed workforce who can perform these tasks virtually.”

Amazon Mechancial Turk

How Does Mechanical Turk Works?

You already know that MTurk is a crowdsourcing marketplace. 

People who need to earn money goes and registers to MTurk. Once registered, they can log in to see all available tasks. They pick the tasks that they are interested in and completes it. After completion of tasks, they will be paid as per the task’s payment.

Where did these tasks come from? 

Developers or requesters who need workers to complete use cases such as microwork, human insights, and machine learning development turn to MTurk. They submit the work to MTurk which MTurk will post it on their site. 

How MTurk Words?

What Kind of Jobs Are Posted?

Jobs that are posted in Mturk are known as Human Intelligence Tasks (HITS). They are called HITS because these are jobs that a computer can’t handle or processed and it needs human intelligence to complete it. 

Examples of HITS that you can take at Mturk are the following  

  • Data validation and research
  • Survey participation
  • Content moderation
  • Transcription of files 
  • Identifying photo
  • Transcribing of 

Overview of Amazon Mechanical Turk

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Who Is Amazon Mechanical Turk for?

If you are looking for an online gig that will replace your 9 to 5 job, then MTurk is not for you since MTurk is designed as a source of extra income not a source of primary income. 

I believe that MTurk is best for the following people:

  • Highschool Student
  • Job Seekers
  • Minimum Wage Employees
  • Stay At Home Moms
  • Determined and Patient People

However, I am NOT saying it is not possible to make a lot from MTurk. There are people (scroll down) who managed to rake up a decent amount of income from MTurk and luckily they also mentioned some of the tricks they did to achieve the feat. 

Can You Make Money with Amazon Mechanical Turk?

There is no doubt that you can make money with Amazon Mechanical Turk. The real question is how much?

If you noticed in the section above, I am only recommending the Mechanical Turk for those who are either okay with minimum wage, to those who desperately need money right away or for people who are determined and patient people who don’t mind doing the work.

Making a lot of money with Mechanical Turk is hard because each HIT (human intelligence task) only pays 0.01cents to just a couple of bucks. If you want to get paid more, then either you have to work fast but accurate or prove to Amazon that you are a good worker by working long enough to get access to a higher-paid HITS.

How Much Can You Make On Mechanical Turk?

Many users reported being able to make $6 to $10 per hour. Someone also claimed that he is making about $150 – $300 per week (which is comparable). Of course, there are those who think MTurk is not paying enough

Also, take note that there will be some days where there is a lot of high-paying HIT and other days when you will not get a decent income/ hour.

Anyway. I will include links below on case studies that I think will help you make a decision on whether or not MTurk is for you. Enjoy!

Erica (theatlantic.com)

“Erica spends 30 hours a week filling out personality questionnaires, answering surveys, and performing simple tasks that ask her, for example, to press the “z” key when a blue triangle pops up on her screen. In the last month, she’s made an average of $4 to $5 an hour, by her calculations. Some days, she’ll make $7 over the course of three to four hours.”

Research (Cornell University)

“A growing number of people are working as part of on-line crowd work, which has been characterized by its low wages; yet, we know little about wage distribution and causes of low/high earnings. We recorded 2,676 workers performing 3.8 million tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our task-level analysis revealed that workers earned a median hourly wage of only ~$2/h, and only 4% earned more than $7.25/h. The average requester pays more than $11/h, although lower-paying requesters post much more work. Our wage calculations are influenced by how unpaid work is included in our wage calculations, e.g., time spent searching for tasks, working on tasks that are rejected, and working on tasks that are ultimately not submitted. We further explore the characteristics of tasks and working patterns that yield higher hourly wages. Our analysis informs future platform design and worker tools to create a more positive future for crowd work.”

Mike Naab (thehustle.co)

“Since 2013, Naab has completed 95k HITs and earned $45k working part-time on MTurk. In a typical 30-day period, he completes around 4k HITs (many of which take just a few seconds) and pulls in $1k. 

To be sure, this isn’t a big-money side hustle — and he still has to pay taxes on this. But it’s a meaningful supplement to Naab’s daily income.

It’s also relatively passive. Naab Turks during short gaps in his day: A 30-minute lunch break may mean a few $1.25 Stanford studies. A 10-minute lull between meetings is a $2 psychological survey on chocolate. A 30-second stretch could net him $0.08 for a 1-question poll on the effectiveness of candle scents.

“Most of it is just filling in empty [space] in the day — time I’d probably be wasting otherwise,” he says. “If you’re not doing anything anyway, it’s just bonus money.” “

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Mechanical Turk Hacks

1. Find HITS during office hours

One of MTurk’s best practices is to find HITS during office hours because there are a lot of high-paying HITS the get posted during this time. This should be no problem if you are in between work but a little more problematic for those who have work. 

What some people do is they do their MTurk HITS during breaks, or while waiting for a meeting to start. It doesn’t matter when but one thing is for sure! There are lots of opportunities to do this especially since MTurk HITS only takes a couple of minutes to complete. If you are working and wants to try MTurk, then maybe you can do MTurk instead of scrolling your social media every break or spreading rumors or talking bad about your boss with colleagues on downtime (peace! but who doesn’t do that)   

2. Finish 5000 to 10000 HITS

There are lots of decent-paying HITS in MTurk but usually, they are inaccessible unless you have completed 5k to 10k HITS. Maybe this is a requirement from them to ensure that the workers taking their HITS are legit and proven Turkers. 

3. Download Browser Extensions 

There are a lot of browser extensions that aids Turkers and it is mandatory to download and use it according to some. Below is a list of extensions that you can use to improve your R.O.I. from MTurk 

4. Connect with Other Turkers 

One amazing thing with MTurk is it connects people. Most MTurkers are tight with their income and don’t really have another option to make money which is why they turn to MTurk even if the pay is low. However, this community banded together in forums to help each other by letting others know what are the best HITS to take, when there is high paying HITS available, etc. 

Here are some of the forums that you need to join if you are thinking about doing Mechanical Turk: 

5. Pay Attention 

Requesters, to see if the workers are actually paying attention to their work, give a specific direction on how they want to complete the task. Be sure to follow them because you will be disqualified if you don’t. You also don’t want to get a flag as someone who just “shotgun” the tasks because you will have a harder time finding a well-paying task. 

6. Be Selective

Not all task provides a decent R.O.I. or money for the time you have spent doing it. Do not just take any task. If you see one be sure to do a little bit of research first before doing it. Eventually, as you gain experience on MTurk, you will be able to easily separate good HITS from the bad. 

Alternative to Mechanical Turk

  • CrowdFlower
  • Clickworker 
  • Toluna
  • Fancy Hands 
  • iSoftStone
  • Microworkers
  • Onsepace
  • Rev.com 
  • Short task

Pros and Cons of Mechanical Turk

Okay. So let me summarize what we know now know about Amazon Mechanical Turk through pros and cons 😀


  • Flexible; no minimum or maximum hours and no schedule
  • Instant source of income
  • Average requester pays $11/hr
  • Great for people who are in-between jobs, college students, stay at home moms 


  • Some requester pays <$11/hr 
  • Some requester post-task that take longer to complete
  • Each employee are treated as independent contractors thus the minimum wage is not applicable
  • Competition for good-paying HITS is high
  • Not for those who are desiring to work from home

Any Feedback/Advice?

That is all I have for MTurk. If have you used it, have a question about it, or you have tips on how to make money from it please don’t hesitate to share it in the comment section so the whole Wealth-Builder Tips community can learn from you too.

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