Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Hidden Online Workforce at Amazon Mechanical Turk

In light of a recent article I read on the web (I won't pay it homage by providing a link) regarding how much to pay the on demand workforce that frequents Amazon Mechanical Turk, I find it necessary to offer a different view for wanna-be requesters. In the article I just read, yet another requester suggests that the available online workforce be paid no more than 6.00 per hour. The author also stated that 4.00 an hour is okay depending on the task.

Well it's not. There are so many things wrong with this thinking. Never mind that this is a cheap, greedy and immoral mindset; I'm not even going to go there. What I will ask you to consider is that paying your workers low wages may not be the best business strategy.

Surely the belief held by requesters that they can pay people (yes, we are people) as little as 4.00 an hour must have to do with the incorrect perception that people who use Mturk to make money are stupid. After all, who else would work for that? But what many requesters don't know, what you probably don't know if you're a new Mechanical Turk requester, is that there is a whole community of talented turkers thirsty for work....and they're hiding from you.

By offering low wages, you're never going to have access to these talented turkers. They are a highly intelligent, full-time online workforce with a lot of experience and stellar work ethics - and they won't work for next to nothing. You'll never get to use them if you don't treat them right.

Offer a fair wage, and watch your HITs disappear faster than Houdini could shake a straightjacket under water. Pay a low wage and your HITs could sit for a while. Even if they don't, you're certainly going to experience low-quality results from inexperienced workers and complete rubbish from those trying to game the system. How's that going to help your bottom line?

Are you going to see contradictory information when you do random searches on this topic? Yes, you definitely are. But keep the following in mind. Most of the people doing penny HITs are not the best the platform has to offer. You can add qualifications to your HITs in an attempt to avoid poor results, but you really can't afford to set the bar too high when you're not even paying a decent wage.

If you want to build a rapport with the elite online workforce that makes a living on Mechanical Turk, visit Turker Nation. If you have any questions about your HITs and whether they are fair or not, you can ask the on demand workforce directly. These turkers will not be shy about giving you their opinions whether you ask for them or not.

There will always be fly-by-night requesters who want something for nothing and who don't care how they go about it. That's not who I'm trying to reach - it can't be done. It is the new requester that wants to do the right thing that I'm hoping will read this message - loud and clear.

You really do get what you pay for.

If you're a Mechanical Turk worker or requester who has something to say, please feel free to leave your comments.

Because every little bit helps...

Carole Tee

Friday, April 6, 2012

What Can I Use PayPal For?

What can I use PayPal for? Absolutely anything if you know what to do! That's what I told a friend who recently asked me when she found out that she must have an electronic payment option on the eBay auctions she intends to list. She didn't want to take PayPal because she was afraid the money would be "hard to get at". My friend was mistakenly under the impression that she would only be able to use the money online at places that accept PayPal. That's just not true.

So, what can you use PayPal for besides shopping online? If you don't want to use your PayPal funds to purchase goods on the web, you have two other options. You can withdraw funds to a bank account, or you can get the PayPal Mastercard debit card and have instant access to your money.

While it is true that withdrawing funds from a PayPal account can take anything from three to five days before the deposit actually makes it to your bank, using the debit card is a much simpler and faster way to "get at" the cash. You can use it immediately after receiving an instant payment for your eBay item.

You can use it like a credit card anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. Or you can use it as a debit card and get cash back at the grocery store. You can also use it at the ATM machine, but you'll incur a PayPal fee as well as an ATM fee, so I don't recommend this as a practice. Good to have in a pinch, though.

The PayPal Mastercard debit card is not a credit card, so it's pretty easy to get, and there is no credit check. There is no charge to get the card and, if you like, you can also order a card for another person, so he or she also has access to your funds. You can cancel the second card at any time.

PayPal also offers a student card for the teenagers in your household. The PayPal student debit card can only be opened by a parent, who can also monitor all activity on the account. Students can't spend more than what the parent puts into the account. I have no experience with this particular card so I can't vouch for it, but I will tell you that I love my PayPal Mastercard debit card.

Some words of caution though:

Be careful using the card at gas station pumps. Gas station pumps are typically designed so that they place an automatic hold on your card (this amount can be as much as 75.00), so if you charge 20.00 worth of gas, it could tie up an additional 55.00 in funds for several days. Or, if you don't have 75.00 in the account (even if you only want to make the 20.00 purchase that you do have funds for), the card will be declined. Both of these things can be avoided, however, by going inside and paying the cashier.

Another thing to be aware of when using this Mastercard debit card is that if you have it linked to your bank account, your bank account will work as an overdraft of sorts. However, instead of withdrawing whatever the difference is between the available amount on your card and the purchase price, it will bypass the card entirely and take the entire amount from your bank account, something you may not have intended.

All in all, the Paypal Mastercard debit thing is a great thing to have. Especially if you don't have a credit card.  You'll also get 1% cash back when you use it to charge purchases.

Because every little bit helps,

Carole Tee

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Using Mechanical Turk - Turker Nation Can Help

Turker Nation Knows The Best Ways For Using Mechanical Turk.

People have so many questions when they first start using Mechanical Turk that I thought I would post some information about a wonderful resource (besides my short ebook) that can help you make money. The resource is the Turker Nation forum.

This forum is a community of workers who help each other understand how Mturk works, and I personally have found it an invaluable tool in my turking endeavours.

While Turker Nation is a forum for the turkers, they are not the only ones who can benefit from membership. Requesters can also get quite an education. Requesters are encouraged to communicate with the forum's moderators if they want to reach out to their workforce.

The features of Turker Nation include a requester's boardroom where you can find information about and communicate with some of the most popular requesters on Mechanical Turk and a special survey area where people post links to the most popular surveys of the day.

While you can gather a ton of information on Turker Nation, you should know that access to all areas of the forum is not instantaneous. You are required to participate in the forum (by posting) before you get to the best stuff. The site's mods won't tell you how many posts you need to make before that happens, but I will tell you that it's well worth it.

The only thing I'd caution you about is that you may find the site so dang entertaining that you're distracted from working, so put on your best work ethic hat when visiting.

Hope this helps you make lots of money using Mechanical Turk.

Because every little bit helps,

Carole Tee

Sunday, April 1, 2012

eBay Has Jumped The Shark

eBay, just a few short years ago, was an unfathomable concept. Born in the 1990's, along with just a handful of other Internet marvels, eBay started as a simple forum for Pez collectors.

It wasn't supposed to be for you and me (unless you happen to be a Pez fanatic) but it eventually grew into a place where any John or Jane Doe could auction off the entire contents of the garage. And it was a blessing for any collector who suddenly had access to his perception of the Holy Grail, whatever that may be.

For a while, eBay could do no wrong. That was when it was fun. That was when it was a good time. That was then. Now eBay has "jumped the shark".

Today, I have mixed feelings about eBay and I'm pretty sure those feelings are mutual. I used to think (maybe falsely so but who cares?) that eBay truly valued their multitude of small time sellers....the ones who helped put them on the map. But in the last few years, it has become clear that eBay wants to fit in, rather than stand out.

Rather than continue the natural progression of its own unique destiny, somewhere along the line, eBay took a 180 degree turn towards a more traditional business model. It's pretty obvious that eBay, catering now more to big box sellers, wants to be another With this ambition, eBay has lost its charm.

I miss the eBay of yore. I still buy and sell on ebay but unlike before, I don't always have good things to say. It is still good for finding bargains if you can stomach the hunt. For sellers preferring the auction format, there is no eBay alternative. No other venue gets as much traffic, so eBay maintains it's stranglehold on those of us battling inner auction demons.

Of course, there are worse things than eBay... like famine...and flooding.

Wanna discuss the good, the bad and the eBay? Leave a comment!

Because every little bit helps,

Carole Tee

How To Receive Money On PayPal Without Incurring Fees

How To Receive Money On PayPal Without Incurring Fees

Receiving money on PayPal is easy and you can do it without incurring any fees, even if you have a business account. You will incur fees if you sell an item through eBay or if you send someone an invoice for goods but if someone owes you money for something, request that they send personal funds. Send them these instructions if you have to.

1. Log Into PayPal.
2. Click the SEND MONEY tab at the top of the page.
3. Type in the PayPal email address in the TO field. (the address of the person that
the money is to go to)
4. Type in the Amount in the AMOUNT field: (i.e. 30.00)
5. Scroll down and click on the PERSONAL tab.
6. Select OTHER.
7. Click CONTINUE.
8. Review your payment information and click SEND MONEY.

You will get your money and no one will be charged any fees. Hope this helps you when receiving money on PayPal. PayPal is owned by eBay, and as far as I am concerned, they already get way too much of my money and are about to get more with their new scheme (see last post). Stay tuned for how to print a label from PayPal (and save money) even if there was no PayPal transaction.

If you have any questions, please drop me a comment!

Because every little bit helps...

Carole Tee