When I first heard about Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program, I was pretty excited. I figured I might be able to use it to “fill the cracks” and supplement my income where it needed supplementing. As a freelancer, it’s always nice to know that you have something to fall back on when you’ve completed all client work and you have several productive work hours left in the day.
Mechanical Turk is essentially a site where you can sign up to work from home and find tasks to complete (it’s also called a crowdsourcing marketplace). Some of the tasks pay pretty well, but others are really quick and simple tasks that only pay a little. So you get paid in proportion to the difficulty of the task; more or less.
I decided to sign up to become a worker for them. I didn’t realize that there was a “screening process”, but I was still hopeful that I would be accepted. Alas, I was denied. I had a friend that also tried signing up with the same results. Our theory was that they don’t take Canadians.
So, while I would love to recommend a program like this, Amazon obviously doesn’t accept everyone. I wouldn’t discourage you from trying, however.
So even though it might be a good program for some, I decided to see if I could find any Mechanical Turk alternatives that aren’t as exclusive. I’ve tried a lot of survey type sites in the past, and most of them didn’t really work out, so I can’t really recommend those either.
At this stage, my thoughts remain inconclusive. I am in the process of investigating some MTurk alternatives, so I will list those here in case you want to find out for yourself. If I find that any of them work particularly well for me, I will do my best to let you know in a future post.
Here are the sites I am investigating:
Those sites look the most promising out of the ones I found. If I had a prior experience with any program that wasn’t that great, I left them off of the list completely.
If you are a writer, there are a couple of other sites that are worth checking out:
- InfoBarrel: I have not made tons of money with them, but I have made some. There are other revenue sharing websites like this one, where you write and promote articles and earn a portion of the ad revenue. It’s not a bad system if you have a good handle on online marketing and you feel you can contribute to the site consistently.
- Crowd Content: this is a site where you can take a variety of writing jobs for a set amount of money. It pays about 10% of what I’d normally charge for writing work, so it’s definitely not lucrative, but hey, money is money.