Mechanical Turk is a marketplace to access a cost-
effective, scalable, global workforce of over 500K
Workers in 190 countries.
The ability to integrate an on-demand, scalable
Workforce via API makes Mechanical Turk a solution
of choice for all types of businesses worldwide. As a
utility model, similar to the electric grid, it delivers what
you need, when you need it, on a pay-for-what-you-
use basis. As a result, businesses are shifting human-
intensive, routine workloads to Mechanical Turk at an
unparalleled rate vs. hiring more FTE’s, outsourcing,
or staff augmentation.
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk allows businesses to get fast, accurate
work results without long term contracts or minimum
commitments, helping to turn fixed costs into variable
(see diagram). The primary use cases include:
data training (i.e. building up sample data to test algorithms)
data collection (i.e. categorization, moderation, time stamping, tagging/annotation, authoring, translation,
transcription, research/surveys, sentiment analysis, more).
Requesters are typically seeking to fix / accomplish / avoid the following business goals via Mechanical Turk:
Reduce cost, transform fixed costs to variable expense
Improve scalability or elasticity (i.e. bursting up & down) in line with workload type (i.e. on-demand)
Improve quality / accuracy
Requesters are typically in one or both of the following situations:
1) Seeking to supplement, or shift from, using FTE’s, staff augmentation, or traditional outsourcing to perform routine,
2) Seeking to train/test their algorithms by quickly developing large sets of data
Requesters seeking to strategically add Mechanical Turk can accomplish the following:
Turn fixed costs into variable: Transform fixed [human] capital costs into variable expense, by either
shifting/supplementing internal FTE or outsourcing models to an on-demand, pay-for-what-you-use model.
Scalability: Like cloud, scale up/down for the human capital needed to avoid waste, meeting your capacity
requirements in-line with workload types (on/off, fast growth, backlog, variable & predictable peaks)
Accuracy: Drive fast, accurate work results at competitive prices without long-term contracts or minimum
Speed & agility: On-demand access to a scalable Workforce and results-based productivity.
Focus on business: Where FTE’s are being utilized for human-intensive tasks, redeploy towards core business.
Cost of Ownership
A Requester’s cost of ownership in the marketplace is comprised of i) Worker fees, and ii) Amazon fee. Amazon Mechanical
Turk collects a 10% commission on top of the reward amount you set for Workers. For example, if a HIT reward is set to
$0.20, Amazon Mechanical Turk collects $0.02 for each assignment. The minimum commission charged is $0.005 per
assignment. When you grant a bonus, Amazon Mechanical Turk collects 10% of the bonus amount, or a minimum of $0.005
per bonus payment. If you choose to send HITs exclusively to Photo Moderation or Categorization Masters, an additional
20% fee applies.
Thousands of businesses power their solutions
through the Mechanical Turk Workforce, either
accessing the marketplace directly, and/or via
one of our many Partners. See below for your
options on how to Connect, Engage and get
Support, while following Best Practices to
1. How to Connect:
Manual via WebUI
Automate via API
2. How to Engage:
3. How to get Support
Approved Partner Network
Mechanical Turk blog Mechanical Turk ecosystem - equivalent of cloud stack
Begin with a project
Break it into tasks and design your HIT
Publish HITs to the marketplace
Workers accept assignments
Workers submit assignments for review
Approve or reject assignments
Complete your project
Mechanical Turk Ecosystem
How it Works
Begin with a project…and define the goals & key components of your project. For example, your goal might be to
clean your business listing database so that you have accurate information for consumers. The sub-components of your
project might be to categorize the businesses by listing type (i.e., restaurant or service) and verify that the related
address and phone number are current.
Break it into tasks and design your HIT…so many Workers can work in parallel and faster. For example, if you have
1,000 listings to verify, each listing could be an individual task. Next, design your Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) by
writing crisp and clear instructions, identifying the specific outputs and inputs desired and how much you will pay to
have work completed. Calculating reward is a function of defining a competitive effective hourly rate, prorating based on
task completion time, competitive marketplace rates, and throttling your cost/accuracy/productivity levers relative to your
target performance metrics.
Publish HITs to the marketplace…hundreds, thousands, even millions at a time. For example, each HIT can have
multiple assignments so that different Workers can provide answers to the same set of questions and you can compare
the results to form an agreed-upon answer.
Workers accept assignments…for special skills, you can qualify the Workforce. For example, if Workers need special
skills, specific geography, or specific marketplace rating to complete your tasks, you can require that they pass a
Qualification test before they are allowed to work on your HITs.
Workers submit assignments for review. When a Worker completes your HIT, he or she submits an assignment for
you to review.
Approve or reject assignments…you pay only for approved work. When your work items have been completed, you
can review the results and approve or reject them.
Complete your project…Congratulations; your project has been completed and your Workers paid!
We recommend setting up and agreeing to an evaluation roadmap, to help guide us through discussions, to proof-
of-concept, to scaling; following is an example:
Strategy & Governance
•TBD: Initial diagnostics on business + use case(s) objectives
• TBD: Map to Mechanical Turk capabilities, deliverable: Updated Goals Summary
• TBD: Requesters confirms GO - NO GO to further evaluate
Planning & Design
• TBD: Requester evaluates & selects WebUI/API/partners
• TBD: Discuss and define pilot/POC; review details including scope, use case,
deliverables, cost, schedule, success metrics (cost, accuracy, productivity)
• TBD: Launch pilot, measure results against target success metrics
• TBD: Requester defines crowdsourcing is a viable solution GO - NO GO
• TBD: Requester selects engagement model of choice GO - NO GO
• TBD: Reference check/contracts for supplier of choice
• TBD: Use case campaign Start
• TBD: Monitor performance, iterate & scale