Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Like Video Games, But Less Fun

Have you heard of Amazon MTurk?  It's this thing set up by Amazon (obviously) where people post tasks they want done that can be completed on a computer (data looked at, links clicked, surveys taken, etc.), and then other people find them and do them.  For money.  Very little money.

I read an article on the Wall Street Journal website that some guy made $10,000 doing this to supplement his income, and how he thought it was a fun way to goof off.  A couple hours ago, I signed up.  I don't need the extra money, but it sounded intriguing.

[Keep in mind, by the way, that if you include my commute I worked a thirteen-hour day today.  Before signing up with MTurk.]

So there were all these little jobs posted, all for just ten cents or fifty cents or whatever, but they were quick and trivial.  I took surveys about environmentalism, I searched Google's Australian site for a dress shop, I wrote a few sentences about my last trip to the grocery store... Nearly two hours passed by without notice (except for pain in my right hand.  I need a more ergonomic computer setup).  I racked up points for doing almost 20 jobs, points that, once approved, will turn into money.

How much money?  Drum roll... $3.49.  Enough to buy the latest episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia on iTunes and still have change leftover for a gumball.

For comparison, when I first finished grad school, I tutored high schoolers in physics for $30 an hour.  An hourly rate SEVENTEEN times greater.

How did someone make $10,000 at this?  Is he just a rotten liar?  If so, I'm sure there are some fascinating psychological surveys he should take.

Anyway, I have no idea why this felt enjoyable and semi-addictive, and now my hand hurts...  But I kind of want to see if there are any new jobs posted.  Maybe I could earn another buck.


  1. Just checking in. Glad to see you still evaluate cost by number of gumballs potentially purchased!

  2. Ha, I didn't even think about how long I've been doing that. I guess it still seems sensible.

    Also, OMG, I didn't realize you'd put the recipe for your mom's incredible cookies online! I need to get on that!