Monday, February 27, 2006

Visit a Site HITs

Visit a Site HITs have been floating around for a while, and today I got a chance to do a little investigating on them. To be plain, these appear to be click-fraud, using mTurk to get users to click ads. When the ads are clicked the advertiser pays them so much for each click. Here's the HIT I am going to break down.

It takes you here, where it wants you to click on one of two redirection URLs. Which are redirected by an Advertising agency, whose affiliate program's TOS states
".12. You agree not to artificially inflate the number of clicks, impressions or other activity, nor to permit others to do so"
Using mTurk to inflate the numbers is clearly a violation. Now all of the questions in the HIT simply allow the scammer to figure out what pays the most, and whether you actually clicked on the ad or not (the IP request).

Now on mTurk's side, it doesn't appear to be a violation of the TOS. But obviously advertisers don't pay people to pay others to pointlessly click on their ads, they pay you when people who are interested in the product click on their ad, not when you pay people to click on them.

So here's basically what Phillip Tattum has setup, a Turker clicks on ads on his website, the advertising agency pays him so much for every time an ad is clicked, he then pays the Turker 5 cents of this. So the Turker profits, Phillip profits, and the company that paid for advertising gets scammed. Not Good. I've forwarded this to Web Gains so they can take a look.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mechnical Turk Utilities

I'm not sure how long this has been around, but I though I'd pass it along. From Erica Sadun, it's a page of mTurk Utilities, which allow you to do basically everything a requestor would want to do, similar to HIT Builder, only not wrapped up into a product.

I'm currently sick, and haven't gotten my head clear enough to check it out well, but it sure looks like a handy tool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Finding Queries with mTurk

These HIT's seem interesting..Though time consuming if you want to return good results for the one cent. Here's the instructions

Find good queries for a URL.

Query Finding Guidelines

I want three queries that characterize
the given URL. One query per text-box, please.

  • Queries should be such that if someone were to search on it, the URL in question would be a reasonable result.
  • Queries should be at least two words long.
  • Let's review. QUERIES MUST BE AT LEAST TWO WORDS LONG. How many words does a query have to have? At least two. Two or more shall be the number of words in the query, and the number of words in the query shall be two or more.
  • The query shouldn't be too generic. "Money", "Success" and "health" are BAD queries, because they are too generic. The queries should be SPECIFIC to the given URL.
So what I get from this is that they are trying to find keywords to target on search engines...By using potential users. Which is a great idea, but paying 1 cent isn't going to get them much more then what's on the top of people's heads. I'd say up it to 5 cents and they will get a lot better results. Oh and for those who are curious here is a sample url from the HIT's . Overrall this is an interesting idea...but appears like it will need some tweaking.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

New HIT: PC Game Review

I assume this is a test from Tony Austin, because I am certainty not going to write a PC Game Review for 1 cent, that has to be at least 500 words long.

On the idea of using mTurk to write reviews for a website, it would only really work for already released games, for newer ones you'd want to have the review out before the release of the game, thus you need to actually have a reputable name reviewing the games so that you can get your hands on them early. But still an interesting idea.

New HIT: Community Created Content

A new HIT from Vinay P Vaidya, what's you to create some content for this site,, in exchange for a dollar. I would try it out but alas I know nothing of Bangalore City. Here's the instruction from the HIT:

" is an attempt to build
community generated content for Bangalore City. You can create
community listings for Tourist attractions, Restaurants, Neighborhoods
and Blogs. All you have to do is go to and
create listings. After you create 5 listings, specify the names
of the listings in the following text box. If your listings are
considered as valuable by the review board, you
will be paid $1. What are you waiting for, share your knowledge,
opinions and impressions of bangalore with others and earn money !!"

Sounds kind of fun...If you actually knew the city...Researching online might work but doubtful you'd easily find anything not already on there.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Image Den

Image Den is a service that a few things have been flying around about. I've avoided it...Because it's mine.

Image Den is my hobbyist venture into being an mTurk requester. I will do my best to not self-promote here, or allow it to affect my writing at all.

So what is Image Den? Quite simply it's the answer to all of anyone's image needs....In theory. In reality, I am building a photo retouching service, and if that gets going good I will add on. A lot of the building of this site has been done by Turkers, because I like to outsource my work. (Especially scripting...I hate syntax) So look forward to seeing some of these, and kick me a couple times telling me to hurry up and get finished building it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

First vk Translator HITs Up

This morning there were a few vk Translator Spanish to English HITs from Von Klempen. They seem to pay decent, I wouldn't know since I'm not fluent in two languages. But for the amount of text that was there, if I simply retyped it, it would go pretty quick for the 1 dollar that the HITs were paying. So if you have one of the vk Translator Qualifications, keep your eyes peeled for more of these. And if you don't and speak two pretty standard languages, go look around in the qualifications for the right test to take.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Adsense Powered by mTurk from Amazon

Rumors are floating around, that Amazon plans on launching an ad network that would rival Google's Adsense. So where does mTurk come in? Adsense claims to check over ads for TOS compliance and approriateness in general. mTurk would be a much cheaper solution to this then salaried employees. As well Amazon could offer a service in which mTurkers would write the ads for clients. Simply provide a link to your website, choose the ad type, and mTurkers design your ad for you. You approve it and bang, minimal effort, high quality, cheap advertising. Heh. Someone needs to create a "Powered by mTurk" logo, for websites to proudly display.

In short, I hope this is more then just a rumor, for more mTurk work (possibly) and an end to Google's dominance of web advertising (which scares me because Adsense is everywhere).

Crikey Guru Launched!

Crikey Guru's Beta started today. What is it? A simple way to make HIT's from the Casting Words Crew.

Here's the official description:
Ask your question, set your price. We have thousands of people ready to answer your question, do your task. Get one answer or get a thousand. Harness the wisdom of the crowd. Conduct a poll. Get someone to take a picture of the house you grew up in. Ask for people's opinions on anything and everything. The sky's the limit!

Right now it only supports simple instructions and then a text box for the answer to be returned via. Then you enter your email, and they send you the results. Pretty sweet, for more answers to your curiosity check out the FAQ.

Edit: I got my answer. Bob Kane created Batman...I should've thought of something harder.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

HIT: Lookup Folio Number

A new HIT in testing from Enrovia Research has the user go here. And look for the Lot described by some data. Here's the description from the one I got

Eww. That's kind of nasty. I was unsuccessful in finding the Folio Number...But I didn't try very hard.

mTurk Down

This is the first time mTurk has been down for maintenance in a long time. What does this mean? I'm betting updates! Sweet. Perhaps now the error page, horrible math, and broken HIT's will disappear. Or maybe that's my wishful thinking.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

mTurk File Storage?

I'm not sure what this is, maybe someone can enlighten me. But two podcasts are up that have in the url for the podcast. Neither have any relation to Amazon. So can requestors now upload files to mTurk for users to view/download directly?

And if so is it a good idea considering the effects on your bandwidth? Or could you bypass your server and have the user upload it directly to mTurk's server?

Usually I try to provide answers here and not questions...But this just seems odd. I don't see any updates on the documentation or anything on it. Perhaps a new feature in testing?