I have made money over the internet by various methods for a while now. Some work and some do not. Before I got into cloud sourcing, I have tried content writing sites and mystery shopping. The mystery shopping was not always practical, because there was a very limited amount of work available every month, and it inevitably meant traveling to different locations.
I inevitably gave up on mystery shopping and I tried cloud sourcing with Amazon Turk. It did not require any travel, and there was always a pool of work available. The constant availability of work suggested a good deal to me initially, simply because it meant I did not have to get up at 5 in the morning in order to scoop up decent quality articles.
The basic concept is that rather than writing a 400 or 500 word article, the worker picked small tasks that could be completed in a few seconds to less than a minute. It sounded like a great idea, since a fast computer user could make a substantial amount of money if they were fast and efficient enough.
It did not take very long until I discovered its limitations. Tasks that paid only a few cents sometimes requires a decent amount of time in order to complete. If a person tried to do the same job many times over in a factory manner, they might be lucky to make 3 or 4 dollars an hour. It was especially bad for me, because I was using a wireless network and there was lag between actions.
To give a good idea on how to make money completing micro tasks, the minimum wage is $7.25. If a person wanted to earn at least minimum wage, then they would have to accomplish a task worth about 12 cents every minute. 7.25 divided by 60 minutes is about 12 cents. It if takes several minutes to do one of those 12 cent tasks, then the worker is earning substantially lower than minimum wage.
A bit of research reveals the market reality of micro-tasking. The people who are most heavily involved in this type of labor are living in India or Southeast Asia. Since people in developing counties are willing to accept only a few dollars an hour, it tends to drive down the overall market price substantially.
People working in the US have a few advantages. Tasks that require a knowledge of the United States is more easily fulfilled by a native of that culture, and some tasks are only available to North American workers. Native language speakers can perform written tasks better, although many people living in India are in fact fluent English speakers.
The best way to earn cash through Amazon Turk seems to be specialization and qualification. If a person becomes efficient with a particular type of task, it makes sense for them to do it repeatedly, in order to maximize earnings. Experience teaches which requests are likely to be time consuming or too stressing. Leave the lowest paying work for Asian workers. Turk workers have the option of taking qualification tests. Passing them might grant access to larger projects or to better paying work.
Decent paying projects require high standards. If standards fall below the requires level, which is determined by customer acceptance, then they cannot do work for that company any more until they bring their score back up. Perhaps the hardest thing about Turk is psychological fatigue. Completing complex tasks many times over can be stress on the mind and requires frequent breaks.
In some ways, it is like a self-imposed sweat shop, and some business leaders have criticized it as that. My strategy is to do Turk a little every day, and then combine that with other tasks.
Juliana is an associate at webhosting company InMotion Hosting based in Los Angeles. InMotion is a company well known for it’s VPS Hosting for more advanced web pro users. If you are interested in content exchange, SEO ideas, or advice, please feel free to reach out to her @JulianaPayson on Twitter.