Amazon Mechanical Turk Review – Scam Or Legit Paid Tasks?

earn money doing micro tasks

Today I’m reviewing a site called Amazon Mechanical Turk, or “Mturk” which is a crowdsourcing site that connects workers and people requesting work for a variety of easy-to-do online micro tasks they call “HITs” aka Human Intelligence Tasks. These tasks cannot be done by a computer so that’s why a human is needed.

As you can tell from the name, Mturk is run by Amazon which is one of the biggest online marketplaces on the web, so obviously you’d assume that Amazon Mechanical Turk is not a scam but a legit way to earn money doing paid tasks. So let’s see if that’s true…

If you’ve ever done tasks on “get-paid-to” sites like Swagbucks then it’s a similar sort of thing.

In this Amazon Mechanical Turk review I’ll show you how they differ from other extra income sites and whether they’re worth your time joining or not.

Amazon Mechanical Turk Review

Name: Amazon Mechanical Turk
Membership Price: Free To Join
My Rating: 2.4 out of 5

mturk worker make money doing simple tasks

I rated Amazon Mechanical Turk a 2.4 out of 5 because they appear to be a legit extra income site run by a very credible company. Amazon and Ebay are like the Pepsi and Coke of the online marketplace arena, so they’re definitely companies you can trust. There are also tons of people on big forums like Reddit and Quora discussing how much they earn every month, so it’s obvious that they pay.

What I’m not a fan of however is their lack of payment options. If you’re from the USA or India then it’s good for you because you can get paid by bank transfer or gift cards. Everyone else can only get paid by gift cards which sucks because it’s not cash. If you want to be paid cash via Paypal then check out these other extra income sites.

How Does Amazon Mechanical Turk Work?

Signing Up / Getting Approved

You can’t just sign up for an account and get straight to work, there is a process that requires someone to review your account to approve your membership. Usually it only takes a few days at most to get approved/disapproved, but some people say they signed up weeks ago and still haven’t been approved.

Sometimes they disapprove memberships due to location or the country you’re in, so if you’re disapproved or don’t want to wait days/weeks to start earning then check out these top “get-paid-to” sites instead where you can join and start earning right away.

Doing Tasks aka “HITs”

Once you’re approved you can start earning by doing HITs which are micro online tasks. Examples of tasks include categorizing pictures, identifying objects in pictures, doing surveys, collecting information/data, transcribing audio into words, rewriting sentences, and so much more. It’s hard to describe what exactly a HIT can be because it really depends on the person requesting the work and what they want.

Here is an example of some HITs that you may see:

examples of human intelligence tasks

There are usually 100s of HITs available at a time, currently in my dashboard I’m see 918 available HITs to be worked on. As a newbie you won’t be qualified to do all of them, some higher paying HITs require certain skills and a high quality worker score before you can do them.

How Much Does Each HIT Pay?

The short answer is not much. The HIT pay varies wildly from $0.01 to $5+ but a large majority of them are around $0.01 to $0.10, but they only take a few minutes to do and you can easily to 10 or 20 of them in a row. The higher paying ones of course will require more skill or amount of work and therefore take longer to do.

Can You Do Unlimited HITs?

Unfortunately no, as a newbie you’ll be on a 10-day probation period where you can do no more than 100 HITs per day. After the 10 days you can do up to a maximum of 3800 HITs per day, which is still quite a lot and you probably won’t be able to do them all.

So you may be thinking how much you can make per hour doing this? Let’s say the HITs you do take an average of 3 minutes and pay out $0.10. Which means you’ll earn a measly $2 per hour, which is not even close to minimum wage. But you can probably earn a little bit more by improving your quality score and gaining access to higher paying HITs.

Worker Quality Scores

HITs are provided to you by people requesting to have the tasks done, and they get to decide if you’ve done a good job or not. You’ll only get paid if they approve your work, they can reject it for any reason and if they do you’ll just have wasted your time for nothing. Obviously this means they can screw you over, but good thing is most people are honest.

If you consistently submit high quality work you can improve your worker quality score on Amazon Mechanical Turk and gaining trust as a valuable worker, therefore gaining access to more higher paying HITs.

Achieving “Master Worker” Status

There is a level called “Master Worker” which is a level you attain by consistently doing specific types of HITs (such as categorizing, photo manipulation, etc) and doing them well. After achieving Master Worker status you’ll be qualified to do those specific tasks that require masters qualifications, these tasks usually pay higher. 

There’s no set qualifications on how to become a Master Worker, but it’s advised that you do at least 1000 HITs and maintain at least a 99% approval rate. After that all you can do is hope that Amazon Mechanical Turk gives you Master Worker status someday.

Getting Paid Earnings

When it comes to payments this is where Amazon Mechanical Turk drops the ball. For such a big company you’d think they would provide a lot of options, but there’s very few. For USA and Indian workers you can get paid via bank transfer and gift cards, but for everyone else we can only get the gift cards and no cash.

The good thing is that minimum payouts start very low, you only need $1 to request a payment and you’ll usually get it within the next day. But the gift card payment option is a problem for many international workers, and if you’re from Canada, UK, Australia, etc. and you want to be paid cash, then you’re better off joining a site like Swagbucks instead where Paypal is a payment option.

The Good

  • Free to join and anyone around the world can sign up. Although if you’re from certain countries your membership may get rejected
  • Amazon is a big company and has excellent trustworthy reputation
  • 100s of tasks available to be worked on at any given time
  • Most tasks require no skill and almost a monkey can do it
  • Easy way to earn some extra income

The Bad

  • Membership requires an approval process that can take a few days
  • 10-day probation period for newbies where you’re limited to 100 HITs a day and you can’t withdraw earnings in that time
  • Very limited payment options, especially for workers outside the USA and India
  • You can earn maybe $2-$3 per hour which is way below minimum wage

Is Amazon Mechanical Turk a Scam?

Amazon is a very reputable company and is trusted worldwide, their Mturk platform is definitely a legit way to earn some extra cash. You can find proof of payments everywhere online, and so this is 100% scam free.

But nothing is perfect and the biggest issue with Amazon Mechanical Turk is that their tasks are very low paying. $2 an hour is the type of wage earned by people in third world countries, so it’s not a full time income opportunity for people in Western countries.

Their payment options are also lacking, and who the hell wants to work for gift cards? Also even if you’re from the USA you may be someone uncomfortable with uploading your banking information which is required for a bank transfer. So I really prefer sites that offer payments via Paypal.

Overall Amazon Mechanical Turk is worth joining, but I’d recommend you join better extra income sites like Swagbucks instead where there’s more ways to earn and has more payment options including Paypal.

If working for $2 an hour is not for you then check out my #1 Recommended Way of Earning Money Online where I’ll show you how to make $1000s a month by building a profitable web business using affiliate marketing.

Do you have experience with Amazon Mechanical Turk? If so I’d love it if you share it down below in the comments section! Also leave any questions or comments as well, I always reply to everyone.

My Final Rating:

  • Earning Potential
  • Money/Time Ratio
  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Receiving Earnings

2 thoughts on “Amazon Mechanical Turk Review – Scam Or Legit Paid Tasks?

  1. Danny says:

    Great article! I do agree with you that it’s pretty stupid for a company to pay people in gift cards. I, personally, don’t understand who would want to waste their time doing that, because gift cards can’t pay the bills. I also would be uncomfortable forfeiting my banking information to a company, because there’s always a risk when it comes to that nowadays.

    • Author - Kent Leung says:

      The only way for non USA members to get cash is pretty much use their gift cards to purchase an item, say an iPhone or something, then when they receive it in the mail go on to craigslist or somewhere else to sell it for cash. But that is pretty damn annoying. But where there’s a will there’s a way.. but personally I’d rather skip that dance and just go with Swagbucks instead since they pay cash through Paypal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *