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Amazon's Mechanical Turk  (View post)

Andreas [PersonRank 0]

Friday, November 4, 2005
14 years ago

Finally. Just a few days ago I thought about what happened to CHI and why it hadn't caused more "buzz" when you first published it. Well, maybe someone at Amazon took notice.

By the way, from the Amazon site: "Amazon Mechanical Turk collects a 10% commission on top of the amount you (the "Requester") have paid someone to complete your Human Intelligence Tasks ("HITs"). The minimum commission charge is $0.005 per HIT."

That sounds like the minimum fee Amazon gets is $0.005, not the minimum amount to pay the workers.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

You are right, I changed this in the text. (Does that mean the minimum fee to pay a Worker is $0.05 then?)

Andreas [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

There are already (Amazon) HITs that pay only $0.03, so either Amazon doesn't apply the same rules to its own HITs or the minimum worker fee is lower than $0.05.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Now when I'm logged into my Requester account and try to change bank account details or transfer money to my Requester account, I'm presented with an XML error message after my password has to be reconfirmed...

...
<ErrorMsg>
Your request has one or more parameters missing. Please check and retry.
</ErrorMsg>
</ProductInfo>

This service seems pretty broken at the moment – more like Alpha than Beta. Yesterday, a lot of URLs were up and down or went missing. Oh well, more time to read the documentation first :)

Andreas [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

All I get is "We're sorry, an internal error occurred while accessing the payment management system.". And it hasn't even been slashdotted yet :-).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I've submitted it to Slashdot yesterday, still "pending"...

I'm still looking for my "AWS Access Key" and my "AWS Access Key ID". Those seem to be both necessary to construct valid REST requests to the Mechanical Turk. If anyone else wants to chat about getting this to work in PHP5, please email me philipp.lenssen[put at-character here]gmail.com or post here.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

(REST, or SOAP, that is.)

Justin Pfister [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I have all the AWS Access Keys and I use them lightly for one of my Apps.. I'm still confused what can actually be done with this.. I'm also confused if it's possible to make a descent income as a "worker".. I should really do a test and focus myself on HIT to see what my avg $/hour would be.. Maybe! We'll be able to quit our jobs.. heheha

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I was thinking maybe this service could become more popular in countries where the dollar would buy you more (e.g. some Asian countries).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Justin, I have an AWS Access Key, of about this format: A1234E3AJAJAJ. However Amazon says I need an Access Key ID and an Secret Access Key (the secret access key is used to create a signature hash for the REST API calls).

David Flanagan [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Once you get past the interesting technology, Mechanical Turk is a pretty creepy thing. And it will accelerate the race to the bottom for outsourcing and workers rights.

davidflanagan.com

Andrew [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Agreed. Here come bio sweat shops.

Olivier Armand [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Does any one why I find nearly no results about this new service when searching with Google, whereas there are many results found when using MSN Search?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

MSN was quicker to pick up the new site this time and rank it high in relevance... so was Yahoo, it seems...
If you search Google News though you'll find some info.

Annette Partida [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I don't know anything about CHI or outsourcing workers and turning writing or checking code into sweatshops. But if this is the new school way for corporations to line their pockets, it's important to know. I have a radio show and would love some input for a segment: annettepartida[put at-character here]gmail.com

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

14 years ago #

I think this way of outsourcing mustn't be bad as long as all people around the World Wide Web know how much they have to get for the labor.

For example I think that $ 0.03 to tell Amazon if the picture of a store front is nice or bad is enough while other tasks are much to cheap(Less then one dollar to write a product description...).

Please excuse my bad writing, english isn't my native language and I haven't the time to practice enough.

Arno Brevoort [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I've played "worked bee" for a bit, just trying to understand what this does – I was intrigued by the concept. At this moment I feel ripped off, but hey, it's my own fault if I'm willing to work for pennies an hour right? No hard feelings, but I'll try explain why.

What gives?

The $ 0.03 a piece for judging the photo shoots seem like a nice brainless exercise. Click around and see what you get. I've worked on Las Vegas.

My theory of how this works, is that they've mounted a video camera on a car, kept the GPS coordinates for each of the shots. Now, the trouble is that you need to convert a street address into a GPS coordinate to be able to match up a photo with the business. These conversions exist, but are not always accurate. If you're unlucky enough to hit a street that does not have accurate streetnumbers-to-GPS-coordinate mappings, your photos won't match up.

So you'll get Sahara Avenue 2100, and the photo's you see are way off – you'll be shown some photo's around Sahara Avenue 2500.

There is no match.

And lo-and-behold: Amazon does not pay for "no match".

(It didn't say that. It said: you are paid for each HIT / click. I did not get paid for the "no match" clicks. I'm not happy.)

I've done my hour of clicking around and learnt my lesson. Working for 27 cents an hour might not even be tempting for sweatshoppers.

eas [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

You can set as low a reward as you'd like, as low as $0.00, but amazon won't take less than $0.005 per transaction. So, it might be more accurate to say their fee is the greater of either 10% or $0.005.

As for not getting paid for "no match," I suspect a few things are going on. First off, the site is in beta and it shows. Second, if you read the API docs then you see that they suggest that developers (presumably including their own) might want to handle approvals differently depending on conditions, so, some might be approved immediately, for example if two or more people give the same answer, while others might end up being reviewed before being approved.

Robin Allenson [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

But I think the 'non-approval' for a lot of micro-tasks equates to task requirements error. Workers need to factor that in. What would be useful is
   – a 'requester-qualification' e.g. how many of their HITs have been paid out.
   – a bidding system for paying for groups of tasks
This would create a fairer market.

Arno Brevoort [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

Right.

So I did get paid for some of the address-doesn't-match-the-picture HITs now.
Approval just takes longer. Still pending 150 HITs.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

It seems so far, only Amazon is using the service as Requester. Being in Germany, I am not allowed to use it – and Amazon MTurk service ignored all my questions from last week relating to the service, too.

sidekick [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I didn`t get any response for my feedback either. It's a pitty you can't use the amazon gift certificates you get on amazon's international sites (amazon.de in my case).
Other problems are that there is no way to see why a hit was rejected and there isn`t a deadline for the "pending" hits (50% of my hits are still pending).
Did someone already find/create a discussion board for the "amazon mechanical turk" topic?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Interesting you mention that, because I suggested a discussion forum to Amazon in one of my mails. If there's interest, maybe someone here can open up one?

Alex [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I have made $6 so far just in my spare time. It is kinda a neat waste of time for a rainy day.

Alan [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Almost half of my 700+ hits submitted are still pending. I've only done image adjustment hits so far and my rejected rate is running about 15%. I started a blog to keep up with some of my observations if anyone is interested in reading. It's on blogger at mturkey.blogspot.com

sidekick [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

On Wednesday I just tried to work on hits I am absolutely sure that they are right. But my rejection rate was unusually high. So I stopped working b/c I thought it's just unfair – you have no chance to prove that your hits are ok. Today I got an e-mail from amazon.com that this was an error. They apologized and put a 5 dollar gift certificate code in the e-mail. Maybe I give them another try....

Sandoz [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I did a little test earlier this evening. I find that you lose time while you wait for the pictures to load. I am lucky enough to have 2 monitors. So i setup a page on each monitor.. i would complete a hit.. click the accept next task.. and let it fetch that page.. move to the next monitor complete that hit.. click the accept next tack.. let it load and move back to the other monitor.

Using this method I was able to complete 393 HITs in one hour. I have an accepted rate of 84% so...

393 hits * 0.84 = 330 * $0.03 = $9.90 / hr.

Not huge money but not exactly terrible. I'm sure that is higher than minimum wage in any state.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

$10/hr is not bad at all! In some countries, this salary would be totally exceptional!

Justin Pfister [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

There's no slacking for this $10/hour.. KEEP CLICKING!!!, says the Turk MAster.

cobaltgrc [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Here's a mturk forum for those who are interested: youngturk.proboards76.com/inde ...

sidekick [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

the link is not working

sidekick [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

has anyone ideas how to get the money (out of your account) if you live outside the us? when you buy something at amazon.com the shipping fees to europe are quite high. but if the price is higher than 22 euro you have to pay duty for it. when you sell f.e. the dvd then on ebay you have to pay fees once again. so you lose much to much.
i wish they would offer gift certification CODES on mturk.com. the selling would be much easier then.
is there a possibility to get a free online us bank account from outside the us? i guess not....
is it allowed to sell something on ebay a little cheaper than amazon.com and then send it via amazon.com?

sidekick [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

(to a us citizen) with amazon's free shipping.

Justin Pfister [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I'd be interested in setting up some sort of cash transfer option for SideKick. He could buy the item.. Ship it to me.. And I could ship it to him Duty free.. Or we could setup some sort of Ebay selling arangement to avoid all those ugly fees. Just a thought. None of this seems too illegal. I love finding loop holes in the mesh of our financial worlds fabric.

Rachel [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

How do you find your secret access key? I've looked all over the site and can only find my AWS ID.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Rachel, I asked that same question to the Amazon support, but they never replied...

Zac [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

There have been many complaints about doing work for less than minimum wage using mturk.com. Some critics have called it Webshoring. But there are a few javascripts that speed up the A9 blockview HITs. Some people at www.turking.com have turned higher than $15/hr using these scripts.

El Gigi [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Excuse my english, not my first language...

I asked Amazon about "pending" HIT's on MTurk and how long it's a reasonable time for wait to be approved or rejected. They answer me that if a task lasts 30 days without revision, they just approve it. I'm working on it while browsing and i'm making 200 a day. I'm from Chile so i can't get the cash payment, so i asked for CD's and DVD from amazon with the gift certificates. So far it worked, i'm waiting for a couple of dvd's...

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

14 years ago #

I "work" on it sometimes just for the fun of it, it's interesting to see how US cities look like and sometimes there is a lot of interesting stuff for foreginers. For example I watched an original Desperate Housewives ad which looks different in the US then in Switzerland.

You can use your earned money to set up some new HITs for other people. I plan to save my money until I've got an idea what kind of HIT I would give to the crowd.

Frank [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Why not just become a data entry clerk and work for 12 dollars an hour and do 1/4 of the mind-numbing work? its amazing what people will do for easy money.

Alex [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Hey latley there have been not HITS at all. I was just wondering if anyone had any information on this and when they would get there hits back up to normal. Does anyone know the times that they post them?

Edward van Kuik [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I'm also looking for my Access ID and Secret Access Key. Does *anyone* know where to get this? I'm looked everywhere on the site.

Edward van Kuik [PersonRank 1]

14 years ago #

I found it! I found the Access Key and Secret Access key. Log into aws.amazon.com and hover the mouse over the "My Web Services Account" image. It's just below "Sign Out" on the right next to your name. A little menu pops up. Click on 'View Access Key Identifiers'.

jude [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I would like to make rotating ring using servo motor how to assamble eassly

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