Finally people have a reason to do the 2 and 3 cent Amazon Research question HIT's. They've started up a "Great Answers!" Weekly contest for them. Here's the description:
Every week we will pay a cash reward to the top 10 workers who have received the most number of "Great Answer" votes from answering Amazon Requester Inc.'s Research Question HITs.
* To get a "Great Answer" vote you must work on Amazon Requester Inc.'s Research Question HITs and provide high quality answers.
* Each question you answer can receive a "Great Answer" vote from the person who asked the question.
* Each time you receive a "Great Answer" vote we will notify you via email, which will also include your "Great Answer" stats for the week and how well you are doing relative to your peers.
* At the end of the week we will reward the top 10 workers who have received the most number of "Great Answer" votes.
* The top 10 workers will then receive an email with a token ID which you will need to enter into the appropriate HIT to claim your cash reward.
Weekly Rewards ending Apr 13 2006:
#1 ranked worker - $50
#2 ranked worker - $45
#3 ranked worker - $40
#4 ranked worker - $35
#5 ranked worker - $30
#6 ranked worker - $25
#7 ranked worker - $20
#8 ranked worker - $15
#9 ranked worker - $10
#10 ranked worker - $5
So what Amazon is doing here, is putting up 10 HIT's, that are only relevant to 10 people. I'm going to call this HIT pollution.
Now don't get me wrong, this is a great way to motivate Turkers to do higher quality work on the Research Questions. But here's what they should do, first raise the price of research questions to something reasonable. I consider myself a very skilled searcher, I can find all sorts of things that others fail at, but unless someone is asking "What is the capital of Japan?" I need time to research, and so does everyone else unless they are rather knowledgeable in the field of the question.
And Amazon knows as well as I do, that if you don't pay well on HIT's, you get junk back. Turkers won't work for 10 cents an hour, we aren't starving on the streets, we have some free time and are chillin on the computer. Now if mTurk contacted local libraries, they might be able to setup a Turking for the Homeless program, where homeless people could go to local libraries and try to get back on there feet via Turking. But I don't see this catching on at the moment.
Now if you want to put in a good work rewards system, and can't wait for the mTurk development team to implement it, use something like Amazon Gift Certificates. Then the money stays in the Amazon system and we don't annoy Turkers with irrelevant HIT's.