Saturday, January 17, 2009

Web 2.0 + Mturk = Awesome

My student Severin Hacker -- yes, his last name is Hacker! -- has been looking at the Amazon Mechanical Turk (mturk) lately. Many of the jobs on mturk are human computation tasks so I've been following it since its release in 2005. To my amazement, though, Severin told me that even more of the jobs on mturk today are Web 2.0 companies paying people to enter content on their site or list their site on aggregators that can drive traffic to them. A couple of searches quickly reveal this to be the case. For example, below are some of the tasks that come up on the queries "web site" (top) and "review" (bottom):

...and now, it seems that Belkin is paying people to write good reviews about their products on mturk.


  1. It happens over and over again:

  2. I'd say there are two separate threads:
    1. Companies paying for content (e.g. find the web site of a winery)


    2. Cheating by asking to post positive review or vote in competition.

    In the second case people are not so wise. Anyone can call their cheating. I don't spend much time on actual turk, but I always flag the cheating HITs.

  3. I have been experimenting with using MTurk for really boring but vital seo tasks with some decent success. Sometimes you find a contractor across the seas who is very capable and very cost effective.

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