Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is an excellent platform for businesses and individual sellers that seek human input for the processes and jobs that Amazon’s internal systems cannot perform.
In other words, MTurk is Amazon’s automation solution for sellers and businesses to get the tasks done that require human intelligence without hiring a workforce. Although, the sellers will have to pay for their gigs to get done.
MTurk enables you to post Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) that an onboard HIT worker can complete. That is, you become a requester. But how to post a HIT request? In this post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of getting started on Amazon Mechanical Turk.
7 Steps on How To Get Started on Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program is specifically designed to provide outsourcing solutions for sellers. Amazon has ensured that it is straightforward for a seller to avail of the benefits of Mechanical Turk.
Here is what you need to do to get started on Amazon Mechanical Turk:
Step #1: Create An Amazon Web Services (AWS) account
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Therefore, you will have to first create an AWS account on Amazon.com. Go to the signup page or click here to create an AWS account.
You will also need to confirm your phone number via a verification code. Next, you may go into the AWS account to generate reports, check account activity, and manage your credentials.
An Access Key ID and a Secret Access Key comparable to a username and password will determine what your credentials look like. You’ll need these keys every time you use an AWS SDK to sign a programmatic request. The same set of keys can be used in production and sandbox environments.
You can also use your root credentials for AWS to access MTurk API. However, it will benefit you to develop an IAM user and then use its associated credentials to access MTurk API.
Step #2: Register Yourself As A Requester
You will have to create an Amazon MTurk Requester Account to access and use the Amazon Mechanical Turk. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting yourself registered as a requester:
- Go to the ‘Requester’ page on MTurk.com or click here.
- Now locate and click on the ‘Create an Account’ button
- Type an email address and follow the prompted steps to complete a requester account sign up
- Finish the registration process by accepting the Amazon Mechanical Turk Participation Agreement
Step #3: Connect Your Amazon MTurk Requester Account With Your AWS Account
After you’ve completed the AWS and Requester registration processes, you’ll need to connect your Requester Account to your AWS account. This will allow your AWS account to use your Requester account via the MTurk API. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to the ‘Developer’ page on your Requester account or click here.
- Now locate and select the ‘Link your AWS Account’ option, and log in with your AWS account’s root credentials; as simple as that!
Step #4: Creator IAM User
The Identity & Access Management lets you control secure access permission to AWS resources and services for the users. To access Amazon MTurk API, you can utilize IAM credentials instead of root AWS account credentials. MTurk, on the other hand, does not allow IAM role credentials.
Your IAM credentials will support API authentication and action-level permissions. You cannot utilize IAM credentials beyond authenticating MTurk API requests. Note that you also cannot use the credentials to log into your MTurk Requester Account.
However, IAM credentials do not support website authentication, resource-level permission, tag-based permissions, role or group authentication, and federated user credentials authentication.
Here’s how you can build an IAM user:
- Log in to the AWS website or click here
- Select ‘Get Started with IAM Users’ and then ‘Add User.’
- Now go to ‘Set User Details’ and type your username. You can also add numerous other users by clicking on the ‘Add another user’ button; the access permission and type will be the same as earlier.
- Go to ‘Select AWS access type’ and select ‘Next Permission.’ While doing so, be sure that ‘Programmatic Access’ is chosen.
- Select ‘Attach existing policies directly’ from the ‘Set Permissions’ menu.
- Select either the ‘AmazonMechanicalTurkFullAccess’ or ‘AmazonMechanicalTurkReadOnly’ policy. This will depend on the amount of control you want.
- Click on ‘Next: Tags’ to proceed. However, there’s no real requirement to add tags, and you can click on ‘Next Review’ too.
- Now review your selected settings and click on ‘Create User/ Users’ to add the user(s).
- Click on ‘Download.csv’ to download the new user’s credentials that can be used with SDKs.
Step #5: Create Your Developer Sandbox
The Amazon MTurk Sandbox facilitates a challenging environment to test your HITs. It will help you ensure that your HITs work the way you expected them before finally publishing them in the MTurk market.
The sandbox creates a testing environment in which you may work on your HITs to test them and identify any areas that need to be corrected. Sandbox creates requester and worker sandbox websites that mimic the working and functioning of the original versions.
You will, however, need to build a Requester and a Worker account on the sandbox version of the Requester and Worker websites. You can view and work as a worker on the HIT you posted using the Worker sandbox website.
It is recommended that you test the sandbox HIT on all the prominent internet browsers to ensure that your HITs work flawlessly on all the browsers. Also, if you include a link to a picture or video, make sure that the images and videos open on all the browsers. It will also help if you verify whether the format of the submitted answer is acceptable.
Step #6: Build Your AWS SDK
Establish a connection with the MTurk Developer Sandbox and verify the account balance as described previously. The balance in your Sandbox must always be $10,000. To link to Mechanical Turk Developer Sandbox, configure the API endpoint in your SDK to https://mturk-requester-sandbox.us-east-1.amazonaws.com.
Step #7: Activate AWS Billing Or Prepay For The HITs
You must pay in advance for your developed HITs in order to be able to post them; otherwise, you will not be able to use Amazon MTurk’s production version.
Make sure you have enough in your Prepaid HIT account to post the HITs to the workers. For prepayment of HITs on MTurk, Amazon accepts credit and debit cards. You may also charge your HITs through AWS and view the costs and benefits for your HITs on your AWS Account’s AWS Bill.
If you have been considering hopping on Amazon Mechanical Turk, you should have a good understanding of how to get started with this amazing yet sophisticated service. Besides, setting up an account and integrating it with various Amazon platforms can take the very best of even a seasoned Amazon seller.
That said, Mechanical Turk is ideal for businesses to automate small tasks that would mean negative ROI if they were to do those themselves.
As for the workers or service providers, if you are expecting to earn a full-time living from completing the MTurk HITs, it’s possible but not likely; you can earn as much as $50 a day on MTurk, but it doesn’t have the respect and career ladder that a more typical job does.
That said, it’s an excellent side-income source and should be looked at like that, for the most part. All in all, Amazon Mechanical Turk is tailor-made for small tasks, and you should know what to expect before you start.
What Solutions Does Amazon Mechanical Turk Offer?
#1 For Businesses: The MTurk service gives access to a vast network of human intellect and takes care of technological efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
#2 For Software Developers: The MTurk web service overcomes the challenge of developing apps that previously failed to function properly without human intelligence.
#3 For Freelancers: MTurk finds employment for those who want to make money in their free time. You can perform MTurk tasks anywhere and anytime you want, utilizing simple human talents.
How Can A Requester Endure That The HIT They Posted Has Been Completed Appropriately?
Requesters can approve HITs in various ways, including auto-approving them without actually seeing them, auto-approving them when they get two matching replies to the same HIT, and manually approving some or all completed HITs.
What Kinds Of Tasks Can You Post On Amazon MTurk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk was created to assist with unique internal data processing difficulties that required human input and intellect. It’s an external web service that allows Requesters to build their own creative apps with human intelligence at the core.