In an effort to keep you updated on the latest in available technologies to assist your business, I’m letting you know about a new service provided by Amazon call Amazon Mechanical Turk. This service is being pegged as one of the most radical inventions in online outsourcing. According to the site information “Amazon Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence. The Mechanical Turk web service enables companies to programmatically access this marketplace and a diverse, on-demand workforce. Developers can leverage this service to build human intelligence directly into their applications.”
I’m not positive about all of the features or usefulness for the very small entrepreneur but it certainly looks promising. It seems that large companies can also benefit from the system. Apparently, it allows you to outsource tasks to other human beings for pennies. Amazon Mechanical Turk is great for all those tasks that aren’t quite highly paid enough to bring on a real outsourcer, but are still too complex for a computer to handle.
So what kind of tasks are appropriate for use wtih Mechnical Turk? A few examples are:
- Look at a picture and determine if it’s uplifting or depressing.
- Look at a name and determine if it’s a man or a woman.
- Look for any words in this picture.
- Look at an advertisement and determine what the core message is.
- Look over a Yellow Pages scan and identify all the phone numbers.
Basically, these are all tasks that you would want a person performing rather than a computer. Amazon calls these “Human Intelligence Tasks” or HIT for short.
To know how HIT’s work, well, you set a price for each HIT to start. For example, let’s say you want someone to look at a picture of a person and determine if they’re male or female. You might set the price at 5 cents apiece. You figure a human being could do one task per 15 seconds and earn 15 cents per minute or $12 an hour. People who can work faster than that can earn even more. For a lot of outsourcers, this kind of work is a dream come true. For many businesses, paying a few pennies for data is much more cost effective than developing software to perform the task.
Setting up a task is said to be pretty easy. Begin by setting up one of the pre-made templates provided by Amazon to use as a base or you can create your own template from scratch. You then upload your data sheet. This contains all the data that you want to sort. For example, let’s say you’re having people look over your list of emails to determine if the names are male, female, undetermined or if they look like fake emails. You’d start by creating a template with four options: male, female, undetermined or fake email. You’d then upload your list of email addresses. Mechanical Turk will present outsourcers with each email. The outsourcer will be awarded with a HIT every time they finish sorting an email for you. Once you’re satisfied with your results, you can pay all your outsourcers at once.
It’s said to be that easy! If you have tasks that need to be performed on a mass basis and you don’t have the software to do it, consider using Amazon Mechanical Turk to handle all your Human Intelligence Task needs. Find out more about Amazon Mechanical Turk at the website. It could be a great way to get some help in marketing your business. Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can get more information to share with NACWIB members during one of our monthly coaching calls.