What: Mechanical Turk asks people to complete “human intelligence tasks” (HITS) for pay so low that no intelligent person would agree

Expected pay: pennies

Husl$core: $

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: National

Requirements: A computer 

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.

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.

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.

Please tell me you have something better to do with your time than work for pennies. (Sorry for using my Mom voice.) 


Almost every work opportunity on SideHusl is better than this one. 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.”

Updated 10/5/2021