Monday, January 30, 2006


Nothing important has happened lately on mTurk. There's been new qualifications of all sorts, some perhaps paving the way for new products that take advantage of mTurk. But most are just people experimenting.

I myself have been experimenting a little bit lately, I'm planning on launching an mTurk powered service for the experience and perhaps some profit...So keep your eyes peeled for that. (But I'm lazy so it probably won't happen for a month or two...heh)

Also I've been avoiding my homework lately...So it might show up on mTurk...Do it well so I get a good grade. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tutorial: Using HIT Builder to Make an HIT

HIT Builder is ready to be used by you. For fun, profit, and freedom from busy work.

Here's how.
  1. Visit the mTurk Requester Site, register using the same email as you use with mTurk. (So that any money that you have in that account, can be used to pay people)
  2. If you don't have any money in your Amazon Account, go to "Your Account" then click "Transfer money to your Amazon account". Follow It's Instruction.
  3. Create an AWS account, after confirming it log in using the provided link in the confirmation email to get your Secret ID and Access KeyID.
  4. Create an HIT-Builder Account
  5. Login to HIT Builder in IE, or in the IE Tab Extension for Firefox.
  6. Click on the "First time building a HIT? -- Click here to try our Wizard Interface" link.
  7. The wizard is very helpful, there's no need for any instruction but to read what it tells you.
  8. After posting, watch mTurk for your HIT(s) to show up. Then wait an excitement for them to be returned.
I sort of just threw this together, I will revise it later. In the meantime, if you need any help with posting HIT's to mTurk using HIT Builder please email me cracell AT gmail DOT com, or IM me aim:Crancell, Msn: cracell AT gmail DOT com. And this will tell me what I need to make clearer in the tutorial.

As well you can get support from HIT-Builder here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sorry About my Experiment

I'd like to say sorry about my little experiment (see previous post). I was testing the mTurk system and got a little carried away with my idea. And unfortunately, I can't get the darn HIT to delete. But it will expire soon anyway.

On the results, first off the experiment was a failure, although mTurk could be used in this way, there aren't nearly enough active users on it for such a thing to work, unless the price was bumped up, costing the requester actual money.

Secondly, Turkers please think before blinding following instructions, email me the screenshot? How on earth could I match a Turker with an email, and it would be pointless with so many. The only point in asking for a screenshot, is to make people think I was going to actually check. While in reality every single person will be approved. In general it was a bad idea, one that I should've thought out when it wasn't late at night. But I got rather excited about whether it would work or not. Such HIT's in general are wrong, and against the mTurk TOS. Mine could be justified by being called an experiment, but still it was a bad way to test to see if my idea would work. I apologize to the digg community who hardly noticed it, and to the mTurk community that may have a lesser view of me now. I promise the future test HIT's of mine will be much more responsible.

In short, I let my curiosity loose and abandoned logic somewhere on the road. I will not let it happen again.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Experiment: Can mTurk Defeat the Digg System?

First off here is what Digg is according to "...With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do."

So here is my experiment, I will post a HIT on mTurk for 400 users to do one time. In which they will digg my story on of this blog post, then email me a screenshot of this story dugg. To show that they dugg it.

In theory this will defeat the digg system of users promoting stories to the front page rather then moderators, without the use of bots or scripts. Simply for 4 bucks.

To Diggers: Please don't kill me, this is an experiment. If it works and catches on and I create some sort of monster....Sorry. But that won't happen. This is simply the testing of an idea, if successful then hopefully digg will be modified to make sure the system can't be abused in such a way. Also please note, I have no ads on this blog, I have little to gain but knowledge. Besides soon after hitting the homepage, moderators will remove the story if this experiment is sucessful.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Von Kempelen enters the Stage

A company called "Von Kempelen" has come out with 3 services powered by mTurk.

1st off we have vk Voice, a text to speech service. Basically they get text via RSS feed, email, web forms etc. And then send it off to us Turkers to record.

2nd we have vk Translator, workers simple translate text from whatever language to whatever language specified.

3rd we have vk Custom, which they state they will help plug your business into mTurk. I assume writing any programs and such the business may need for it.

Right now to start off you have to email them. I haven't seen any HIT's from them and qualifications from them are labeled as the company "Santa Cruz Tech" (the makers of Von Kempelen). So ya we will see how this works out. I can't wait till I can do some text to speech work, sounds fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

New HIT - Mortgage Lookup

Mortgage Lookup HIT's have shown up. In sort they are very similar to the transfer tax HIT's. These come from Enrovia Research. Which I think is another name for "Matthew Haines" (as in the company he owns/works for or something). Anyways, these look rather long and boring for 1 cent. But money is money, that's why we are Turkers.

Friday, January 13, 2006

HIT Builder is Buggy

Last night I spent 30+ minutes messing around with HIT Builder. What I ran into were tons of errors, data not being saved when it said it was, pages not formatting correctly (buttons that should be visible were off page) etc. So I decided to switch to IE. Less problems but still this and that. Once I finally got an HIT together I tried to post and there was an error. Though this could've been an error on Amazon's side. But I have yet to see anyone post HIT's from HIT Builder, so my bet is everyone is having the same issues as me.

In short, HIT Builder is going to be awesome, but has a few things to work out right now. Like firefox compatibility. Thus I'm going to assume that it's an early beta. That truthfully they should've been doing internally and waited longer before making it public, but oh well.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

HIT Builder - No Programming/Scripting Needed!

DPA Software, a new player to the mTurk scene has launched a site called "HIT Builder". It's a very slick and pretty simple tool to create your own HIT's. I played with the options and it all seemed pretty nice. Maybe I'll ask someone to write me a story or something later today.

The ability to make your own qualifications is coming soon but not implemented yet. The service is currently free, but their FAQ says that may change once HIT Builder leaves Beta. It's got tons of "Getting Started" tidbits everywhere and it all around seems like a great product considering it just launched. I'm looking forward to seeing HIT's coming from people using it.

If your interested make sure you go get a requestors account and put some money in your Amazon account.

Edit: I had a little bit of difficulty figuring out where to find my Secret ID and AccessKeyID. So here's where to go to get yours. You signup for an AWS account there, then they email you and there's a link in the email.

Pheromone Trail Advertising

A new type of HIT called " Instrumentation" from Amazon pays you one dollar to put one of their badges on your site. Personally 1 dollar isn't enough to justify polluting this blog. Though I wonder what's to keep people from quickly making a site or blog and doing this to it. Heck it says "You may perform this HIT for as many websites as you like." I have probably 100 or so abandoned websites. It would be a bit of a pain butwould be well worth 100 dollars. Of course almost all of these have no traffic and suck. So ya, the modules themselves show where people come to the site from and where they go to. So interesting, but no thanks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Little of This, Little of That

The qualifications page has been updated to have a "Pending Qualifications" page. As well a few oddball HIT's have popped up, like "Draw a Picture" from Aaron. I haven't been able to view one, but sounds interesting.

Lately we've had Research Questions (some for paying 20 cents), Rank Your Top 3, and Data Extraction HIT's. That's about it, no real news. I've seen several miscellaneous test HIT's, which I'm guessing are signs that we may soon have many HIT's from some new requesters. As well there have been a few podcast HIT's but not many. And as far as scripts/helper programs, nothing of much significance has shown up.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Get Paid to Take Photos!

Matthew Haines has posted up a new test HIT entitled "Take photos of properties in 10027.". Inside it says

Coming Soon! $2 per HIT!

For the address below, please take three photos. The first photo should be a direct shot of the building in which the top, bottom, left, and right side of the building are all visible and about 10% in from the edge of the photo. The second shot should be a closeup clearly showing the street number of the property. The third photo should be a shot of the street signs at the nearest intersection showing the name of the street and the name of the intersecting street.

Set your camera's resolution so that the longer edge of the pictures is between 900 and 1200 pixels across. If there are trees, cars, or other obstructions blocking the house or building from clear view, move side to side on the sidewalk to get the clearest view possible. Choose the time of day according to where the sun will be so that you get good exposure. Overly dark pictures will be rejected.

After you take the pictures, upload them to Each time you upload a photo the server will give you a token. (A token is a 12-20 character identifier for the picture.) Put that token in the appropriate text input box below.

For anyone in New York the given address is "205 West 123rd Street, New York, NY 10027" (but this is a test HIT paying 0 cents)

Now 2 dollars isn't half bad, if you live a couple streets over. And despite my personal estimates (I could be totally off) of their being 6,000 active turkers. I doubt many photos will be taken. If I ever see one for my town, I will defiantly go across town rather pointlessly to take pictures. Just because it'd be fun to do once or twice. But I can't see this taking off. Though I am rather curious as to what exactly these HIT's are for.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A9 Is Back!

Just a followup to the new A9 Qualifications, here's the info on these new HIT's Yellow Pages : Business URL Matching

Please visit the web address provided and determine if it is a highly relevant website for the business specified in the HIT. You should answer "Yes" if: * The website is the primary website for the business in question, even if the address isn't a perfect match. * The website is a subset of the broader business listed (e.g. if the website is that of a teacher's, but the business listed is the school's name.) * The website is a superset of the business listed (e.g. if the website is for the corporate parent but the business listed is for an individual franchise.)

Can I say sweet? Ok so maybe they won't put too many of these HIT's out. But let's say they put every single business name matched website, on there for 2 or 1 cent. Awesome. My bandwidth is going to die. But tons of work to do. And easy fast work at that. I'm so drooling.

Qualifications Attack!

Wow, I just peeked at the Qualifications and it's crazy. Two automatic (you just ask for them and you get them) Qualifications from A9 yellow pages. A New Power Podcaster Qualification (also a ask and receive) And that's it.

Just a reminder, the reasoning behind Qualifications, that don't require you to do anything but ask for them (to get them) is that rather then saying you can't do their HIT's based on your total rejection rate. They can use just the rate you have with their HIT's.

I am quite interested as to what we will be doing with A9 Yellow Pages, I'm not really sure. Technically, Block View Image Adjustments have to do with the Yellow Pages, but I don't think they are coming back.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Santa Cruz Tech Starts Testing

Santa Cruz Tech, the company behind such websites as BlogShares. Has got a test qualification up. Here's the description

"Authorized users will receive a code to use in this qualification, so they can complete our test HITs."

I'm not sure if this means general turkers will have a chance to apply to do their HIT's in general, or their test HIT's. Or maybe their own employees (like the guys at Turk Watch) will be able to do them. I have yet to see any information on what Santa Cruz Tech's HIT's are going to be, I assume at first it will be something to do with their current sites, then eventually perhaps a whole new site, like what happened with CastingWords. But who knows, till we start to them popping up.

Edit: I just want to bring light to the comment left by the owner of the qualification

The qualification is so I can put up test HITs without 'the world' performing them, for a couple of reasons I cannot disclose at this time. :)

Once testing is complete and we're ready to go (as little as a few days, could be a bit longer though), while we may require other qualifications, they will be available 'to all'.

I hate it when people have secrets...I feel so left out. Heh.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Acris HIT's are coming, I can feel them.

Matthew Haines (the creator of ACRIS HIT's) has put up a qualification for ACRIS HIT's, my assumption is this is going to be a growing trend of using Qualifications as a checkpoint to make sure people aren't totally stupid. As well I think they should be used as tutorials because that would make things simpler for us workers but oh well.

And a Happy New Year to Everyone!