Mechanical Turk enlists freelancers to complete “HITS” — human intelligence tasks — for a small amount of pay

Expected pay: pennies

Husl$core: $

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: Nationwide (remote)

Requirements: None noted

What is Mechanical Turk?

Mechanical Turk is a marketplace where companies can connect with individuals from around the world to perform remote “human intelligence tasks.” These range from verifying data to writing captions and identifying objects in photographs.

How it works

You sign up with your Amazon account. Once registered, you can see “HITS” — human intelligence tasks — offered by Mechanical Turk’s clients. These tasks can involve almost anything — from research to reviewing photos.

Mechanical Turk Review:

The idea behind Mechanical Turk is that humans can sometimes do things better than machines. (Go figure.) Thus, if someone needs to pick the best photograph in a series,  gather details from shopping receipts, caption photos, or detect subtle boundaries in images, they can request the service of a Mechanical Turk and pay you to do the task.

What you’re paid

The problem is that the pay — pennies per task — is an insult to anyone who truly does believe that humans can do things better than machines. A study of 3.8 million tasks found that the median wage on Mechanical Turk worked out to $2 an hour.

No responsibility

Worse, according to Mechanical Turk’s terms and conditions, the site takes no responsibility for the jobs offered on the site, nor whether you get paid to do them. To quote the terms: “We are not involved in the request or the performance of Tasks, and have no control over the quality, safety, or legality of Tasks or consideration for Tasks…or the ability of Requesters to pay for Tasks.”

In other words, you might not even get the penny or two that was promised.

Getting booted

And, if you get booted from the platform for any reason, you lose any pay that’s accumulated in your account.


Please tell me you have something better to do with your time than work for pennies. If you don’t, take a walk. Read a book. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Any and every option is better than working here. (Sorry for using my Mom voice.)

If you want to take surveys for money, we suggest Prolific. It won’t pay minimum wage, but it pays considerably better than Mechanical Turk.

If you want to advertise your ability to write photo captions or other “micro-tasks,” you can advertise your services on Fiverr. At Fiverr, you set your own rates and simply pay the site a commission for helping you find clients.

Product Tube and Ivueit also offer short tasks that pay decently.

You can also check out our blog posts: Easy side hustles and Side hustles that anyone can do.

What Turkers say (from Indeed):

“I began working on Amazon MTurk when I was in college and have been going there every now and again ever since graduating. Once you get into the flow of things, complete your first 1,000 tasks (or hits), and keep your approval score up (99.5% or higher), you’ll start to get more, better-paying hits. The thing to look out for is contractors who will either scam you out of your work by claiming you did it incorrectly, even though you followed all their instructions to the letter, or those who will just simply disappear into the night.”

“Better requester and pay needed. There are hundreds of jobs available, but the pay is merely a couple of cents per hour.”


“There are a lot of very low paying HIT’s that only pay pennies that are fairly brainless but there are some higher paying opportunities of several dollars for a couple minutes. Personally I work a few hours a week and always reach my $100/month goal, many months breaking $150-$250 dependent on work availability and how much I put into it.

“Amazon Mechanical Turk is a very slow, extremely boring way to make money. You make 20-75 cents an hour. I only recommend this site to desperate people.”

I enjoy the flexible hours and mostly do surveys. The surveys are easy but pay very little. The management is not responsive to worker complaints. 

From SiteJabber

While a good percentage of the work on Amazon Mechanical Turk is legitimate, although low-paying, I’ve been encountering scams on the site more frequently as of late. Be very careful about accepting HITs where the base pay/reward is low (usually 25 cents or less) but which promise significant bonuses upon completion. I did this one that involved writing an essay and taking a vocabulary test. It took between an hour and an hour and a half to complete. The base pay was only a penny. But I did it because a bonus of nearly $12 was promised. Well, they paid the penny. But they never paid the bonus.

Amazon randomly suspends accounts because you will be treated as an algorithm and not a human. Also be careful about keeping money sitting in your account. You could get suspended for unknown reasons and lose your earnings. This happens quit frequently. Suspensions happen for real reasons to protect the site but also for reasons unknown with no fault of yours.

Because workers are independent contractors, i. E. self-employed, the US minimum wage law doesn’t apply. So there’s no Turk in countries where a few dollars can be meaningful income, while Americans create all sorts of ways to be successful at working for pennies. That’s the irony.

From TrustPilot

Unless you live somewhere where a few cents are worth something, don’t even bother joining this program. When I realized what it was about, I never opened mturk again, and pretty much forgot about it. That’s until I got an email saying they’d suspend my mturk account as I lied on my location, supposedly on cross check with my amazon purchases since I never logged in again (I did not lie, geniuses, I’m travelling for summer – have you ever heard of people doing that, or is it against your “rules”?). Since I never did any “task” there, I don’t care – but I find it offensive, PLUS it’s super scammy if someone had spent any time on it gathering a few dollars.

This thing isn’t worth anyone’s time. I’m surprised Amazon owns it.

Updated 2/2/2023

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