Outsourcing is the lifeblood of any outgoing business. No business how large or small can survive without some sort of outsourcing. If you think you’re hoofing it all alone, you’re not. Where do you get your electricity from? Your TV? Your internet? Your Webhosting? Your food? A lot of what we take for granted today is really outsourcing.
So, what is this magical mystical Mechanical Turk by Amazon? Think of it as a more data oriented version of Get A Freelancer, ODesk and Elance. MTurk allows you to post a job (they call it a ‘hit’), and this job will be done by X amount of people. Where X is the amount your specify. So, in reality Amazon Mechanical Turk is not mechanical, nor a turk. It’s just freelancers willing to do jobs for various prices.
BUT here is where Mturk differs from all other freelances sites: YOU set the price. And the lowest you can go is 5 cents. Yes, you read that right. $.05 USD, 5 American cents. You’re thinking, no one in their right MIND would do a job for 5 cents. Look at this (slightly cropped and reshaped to size) screenshot (click on it to see the full size version):
I put out hit at 5 cents per job, that will take less than 1 minute to do. What are the results?