Can You Make Side Hustle Money With Amazon Mechanical Turk?

Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk)is a legitimate side hustle for people looking to earn extra money from a computer and internet connection.

One of the attractive features is the ability to work when you want. No schedule is needed.

Amazon describes Mechanical Turk as a crowdsourcing marketplace where jobs can be performed virtually by a distributed workforce. MTurk calls these tasks or jobs HITs (Human Intelligent Tasks).

Some of the HITs available to perform as an MTurk worker are:

  • moderating content
  • data deduplication
  • rating photos
  • surveys
  • image classification
  • video classification
  • moderation of an image
  • image tagging
  • audio transcription
  • document classification
  • data collection
  • website collection
  • website classification
  • search relevance

MTurk Income Potential

From what I have researched, people can earn about $1,000 a month doing MTurk tasks. However, setting your sites lower might be a better expectation.

Keep in mind, if you have a computer and internet connection, you don’t need to buy anything to start earning money. You are OK to go.

The MTurk video below isn’t the most exciting but is not full of hype and smoke. The video shows you, someone, actually at work. I’d classify the income she makes in a few minutes as decent.

The secret to ultimate MTurk success would be to grind through the mindless lower paying easy tasks until you increase your worker rating to get approved for some of the higher paying HITs.

In 2011 I wrote a post about Amazon Mechanical Turk, and I don’t think expectations have changed much since then.

MTurk looks like a low stress, lower pay, low expectation work-from-home side hustle that could generate up to an extra $1,000 for some people. Many will earn less; some will earn more.

Swing and a Miss on My First Attempt to Register

I went to the MTurk website to register, and within a day or so, I received a rejection email. Clearly, it is not us; it’s you situation. The email said:

Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,

We have completed our review of your Amazon Mechanical Turk Worker Account and you will not be permitted to work on Mechanical Turk at this time. Please note that Customer Support is unable to change this decision and cannot share insight into invitation criteria. If our criteria for invitation changes, we may contact you to complete your registration in the future.

Thank you for your interest in Mechanical Turk.

Amazon Mechanical Turk

But Wait – Approved!

Amazon Mechanical Turk Income Opportunity Review.

Amazon Mechanical Turk did approve a friend of mine.

Here is what I learned.

According to the approval email, there is some important information to know.

  • The person requesting the task has 30 days to approve or reject the work.
  • Your work quality is important. Follow the instructions and do a good job on your three-minute tasks.
  • If you see a posted task that looks sketchy, report it. This would include any task that requests your personal information or requires you to register on another website. Those are not allowed.
  • New MTurk workers can only do a restricted number of daily tasks until they prove themselves. Workers must complete at least one task daily for at least ten days before initial payments are approved for release.
  • This is good to know, so I’m going to quote this directly, “Amazon Payments does not charge a periodic fee, ATM withdrawal fee, cash reload fee, ATM balance inquiry fee, customer service fee, inactivity fee, dormancy fee, disbursement fee or any other sort of fee for use of its Amazon Payments account, which is necessary at this time for US Workers to disburse their earnings.”

I’ve asked some people to register and try Mechanical Turk to give us feedback on their experience.

Why Are Some People Rejected and Others Approved?

Who knows. It’s an Amazon ball; they can put it in play or take it home anytime. There is no way to know the policies to accept or reject someone.

Another person that registered and was rejected and I are also Amazon FBA sellers. Not sure if that played a part in the rejection.

If you are rejected and have a different email address, like your Amazon shopping account, try registering with that one.

Stay tuned and subscribe to the email updates to stay in the loop.

13 thoughts on “Can You Make Side Hustle Money With Amazon Mechanical Turk?”

  1. Hi there! So Mechanical Turk never came through for me. I got the invite within a couple of days of the initial application, was able to log in and start setting up the Amazon pay account. After that, it told me it would take about 24 hours for an identity check and then I could begin doing HITs. (That was about 3 weeks ago)
    I never received anything back about the verification; each time I log onto Turk, the same status shows up that my account is under review and I will be contacted via email when it is approved. I’ve checked my spam folders to make sure I didn’t miss anything-there shouldn’t be any reason or problem with an identity approval on my end, either. So unfortunately, it turned into a dead end.
    On the flip side, I’ve been plugging away at Swagsbuck and Survey Junkie and accumulating a modest amount there…nothing that’s going to alleviate much financially, but enough to help with grocery expenses a little.

    • Thanks for the update. We made it through to the next step with Mechanical Turk, and all that will be coming up in future updates. It’s a slog and not making much. The initial tasks are frustrating, and I would safely say most would be disappointed with the progress.

      On our side, the identity check took about 24 hours. I could never get approved. I got a it’s you, not us email with little actionable information.

      Can you share more information about Survey Junkie and Swagbucks returns compared to time and effort?


      • Hi Steve!
        Apologies for the delay in responding.
        So, at first, I almost kicked Survey Junkie to the curb. (Taking surveys rapidly becomes monotonous VERY quickly!) And when you look at the point system, where 100 points = $1.00 and most surveys are around 20-40 points apiece and take anywhere from 10-45 minutes…yeah. When I first started trying them out, it was a constant battle of frustration, as I would start a survey and either get an “oops, this survey filled up, here’s 1 point for trying!” or actually get started and then get disqualified and receive 3 points for the effort.
        Survey Junkie won’t let you redeem points for cash (via PayPal) or gift cards until you reach a $5.00 minimum, so I knuckled down and devoted about an hour(ish) each morning. It’s been about almost 3 weeks, and I’m now at an accumulated total of $30, and just completed a bonus opportunity for an extra $5 that will show up on November 1rst, for completing 3 surveys day worth 20 points or more for 8 consecutive days before October 31. I’m not sure if the algorithm starts to change the more you try, but I’m having better luck completing surveys more frequently. It’s still a slow process, unless you can stomach survey-taking all day. I’m still devoting about an hour, sometimes two each day. They also sent an email with tips to earn $100 for extra holiday spending by setting goals, like taking at least 3 surveys a day, and watching for bonus opportunities like the one I mentioned. It’s not really “extra income,” but it can be put towards groceries or topping off the gas tank. I’ll talk about Swagsbuck in another reply.

      • Okay, so Swagsbuck is also somewhat frustrating, with a lot of their point-earning potentials also relying on surveys, and basically doing a lot of clicking around the Internet from their site. There can be more opportunities if you’re willing to sign up for several websites and meet requirements, but many of them often require some type of investment or purchase to obtain the Swagsbucks. I’ve been avoiding those, as they defeat the purpose, I’m currently trying to remedy by making extra money. There are some opportunities, too, playing games to earn points, and not all of them are the bingo/casino types that require you to deposit money to play. I chose to play Yahtzee and managed to reach the maximum required level after a couple of weeks, which earned me 6500 points total.
        I’ve been on Swagbuck daily for almost the entire month, and after some pending points coming through next week, I will have around 10k in Swagbucks that can be redeemed for gift cards or via PayPal. At last check, I think that amount of Swag can get me at least $50, maybe a little more (give or take.)
        This site does make it a little easier, as they have a daily goal requirement that resets each day and is usually around 75ish Swag point to reach. You earn bonus points for maintaining consecutive streaks and can then collect your accrued Swag points at the start of the following month. I’m currently on a 27-day streak and will let you know how much my bonus earning were next month.
        Similar to Survey Junkie, I spend about an hour usually in the morning, sometimes less depending on how quickly I can meet the daily goal. I haven’t actually redeemed or cashed out on either site, yet, but will also follow-up to let you know how reliable the process is.

        • Thanks for the feedback.

          Pam has started testing, and none of these survey sites seem fantastic. I feel they can lead the unsuspecting person to a situation where they signup for something they don’t need or want or accidentally give up too much personal information.

          I’m getting the vibe you might feel similarly.


          • Agreed! There have been a few surveys and “deals” I have backed out of. That’s one advantage with Survey Junkie-it’s solely surveys. (Though I am still leery of what personal information goes out.)

            One thing I did forget to mention with Swagsbuck is the cash back options for shopping online with them, anything from groceries to furniture and the like. I’ve not attempted it, but have submitted some receipts for a few extra points.

  2. Hi Steve!!
    I just tried Rakuten today, hopefully you got the referral! I needed to order some groceries from Safeway this afternoon, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it. I earned 2% cash back on my order, plus qualified and received the $30 referral sign up bonus! Easy peasy! (Now I just have to make sure I have Rakuten activated on my extension when ordering online.)

    I also cashed out my current Survey Junkie stash via PayPal, and earned $40 in about 4 weeks. (That was only with putting in about an hour a day, plus a $5 bonus for completing a challenge.) I’m in the midst of another $5.00 challenge, but I’m happy to report that the PayPal credit was instantaneous and is now available to transfer right into my bank account.

    And also today, I cashed in a chunk of my Swagsbuck points into 2 $25 PayPal cards-these were not instantaneous, and the order request says it can take anywhere from 2-10 business days to process, so we’ll see. I still have a small point balance leftover, too.

    Just wanted to say hi and keep you up to date, and thanks for the Rakuten recommendation!

    Oh, and I FINALLY got my approval for MTurk, but after reading your dismal experience, I’m not sure I’m going to go forward in trying it. If I do, I’ll report back.

    • Hi Jenn,

      I saw the referral come in. Thank you. If you use a cash-back card for groceries and then get the additional 2% on top of that, you can get 5-7% off an order and that’s not nothing. For anyone reading this, here is the code again.

      I’m using Chrome, and the Rakuten extension seems to be popping up with every opportunity. I’d heard others talking about it and I never used it but now I’m a raving fan.

      The home survey opportunities seem to have a place but based on your feedback and our testing, they all look like about a $ 1.25-an-hour gig. It’s better than nothing, and every little bit can help, but it will not replace much income.

      Keep hunting, and let me know what you come up with. Until proven wrong, I think we can safely assume that the survey hype and small task income hopes of Mechanical Turk help add to the grocery kitty but won’t pay the mortgage.


      • Hi!

        Agreed…even if I devoted more hours per day to surveys, it wouldn’t net a great deal more. I haven’t logged back in to MTurk yet, either. I also installed the Rakuten app on my phone, as I occasionally shop from it when I don’t feel like getting on the actual computer. I haven’t done any major purchasing yet, but am earning small amounts of cash back, and accruing club card rewards at the same time.
        Yes, every little bit does help, especially when you’re running on fumes, but the hope of any of these options working to replace income is pretty much dashed at this point. I wouldn’t say it isn’t worthwhile, but definitely not a lifesaver, either. (And some are more of a hassle than their worth.)

        • Damon and I were recording some videos today, and we did one where I mentioned your experience and feedback. Damon accidentally referred to MTurk as Mechanical Turd, and that’s probably a pretty close slip.

          Club card rewards stacked with Rakuten and any card cashback is a great strategy to reduce the price further.

          • Just watched it!! Just to add a bit more-in a month and about a week, I also cashed out $110 from Swagsbuck. Definitely not income replacement, but combining with what I earned from Survey Junkie, (and Rakuten cash back) it gave us some grocery help and a credit card payment.
            Based on your wife’s frustrations with MTurd, I’m not even going to attempt it.
            Loved the video!! Hoping you and your families have a happy Thanksgiving!

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