Monday, April 24, 2006

MTurk Market Forces

I realize blogs are not expected to be fact checked. I've made some assumptions that weren't true on this and my other blogs I'm sure. I just wanted to point out a nitpick in an otherwise excellent blog entry by Erica Sadun about the Mechanical Turk.

The blog entry states "Early tasks that started at 75 cents, soon dropped to 65, and from 65 to 60, and from 60 to 40, all the way down to the current rate of about 1-3 cents per task." This statement is somewhat misleading I feel, since the earliest hits did pay 75 cents, but required a good deal of work on the part of the Turker doing the work. These hits involved doing product write-ups, usually on auto parts. The price paid on these dropped gradually, but not all the way down to 3 cents. The hits that paid 3 cents or less were the Image Adjustment hits or the Artist Title hits, which took considerably less time.

I do agree that market forces are in play on the Mechanical Turk. The Casting Words hits are a perfect example of this. It's my opinion though that market forces were not having much effect on MTurk in the heyday soon after it's SlashDotting. I think Amazon was simply setting prices on a whim to see what they could get away with.

1 comment:

chrismalinao said...

"I think Amazon was simply setting prices on a whim to see what they could get away with."

But Amazon gets 10% no matter what price is set. Won't Amazon get a bigger cut if the prices were higher? I think there really are market forces at work here, but not on Amazon's whim.

Having said that, I wish Amazon could raise rates paid to turkers so the turkers could buy more Amazon gift certs:)

That would be good economic forces at work!!