Some years ago Amazon needed to figure out colors for clothing. Is this dress blue or black? Computers suck at that, while a human can tell you in a flash if that dress is black or blue. So Amazon started its Mechanical Turk, named after the supposed robot that could play chess, but actually had a chess grandmaster hidden inside. The link is mturk.com. Amazon calls the task “Hits”, short for Human Intelligence Tasks.
Companies pay to list micro tasks on the site – the pay ranges from a penny to several dollars. I usually do the studies – you can set parameters in the search – I type in the keyword study and list the minimum payout at 50 cents. If the time allotted is too long – the survey instructions say the survey will take 20 minutes, but only pays 50 cents, I pass. Another good keyword is writing – the jobs tend to pay better. You can make a few bucks for typing out a couple hundred word article. If you have to do some research, it’s usually not worth it. If you can knock it the writing out off the top of your head, then you can average $8 – $12 an hour in my experience.
If I need money badly, I search by “most hits first”, with a minimum payout of 4 cents. Most hits I end up passing on, but there can be a few gems in there that I can knock out in a minute or two, and collect the dime. Don’t fall into the trap of constantly looking – just try one hit, see if you like it and can finish it in a reasonable amount of time considering how little you’re getting paid for it. After a few weeks you’ll get a feel for the various jobs and how fast you can knock them out.
After the job is approved by the requestor, which can take a couple days, the money is placed in your account. When you reach $1.00, you can transfer the funds to an Amazon giftcard, credited immediately. When you reach $10, you can request a dispersal to your checking account. It usually takes 2 business days for the money to show up in my account. One trick I’ve found is to request the money on a Friday night – the money shows up in my account Monday morning.
You won’t get rich, but I’ve made a steady $25 – $50 a week when I applied myself to it. Even now, I still use it to get books I want off my Amazon wishlist.