The Mechanical Turk Strikes Again

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk ( and some of the potential I saw in it to get stuff done on the cheap. Well, since that day I’ve been running multiple HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) on the Turk and I’ve been getting some great results.

If you’ve got a blog or any kind of website, chances are you’d like for people to be looking at it, right? Well, one great way to do that currently is to promote it on social media websites like Digg,, StumbleUpon, Facebook; the list is seemingly endless. You could spend entire days creating accounts at each of these sites, write a small review of your site and post the link, and in the end you would probably see a small gain in traffic. However, what if you could accomplish all that for 50 cents? Without spending any time on it yourself? Would you do it? I sure would. In fact, I did.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m currently in the process of launching a new webstore sand as such I’ve been trying my best to find ways to promote it. So I created a HIT on Amazon’s web services (Mechanical Turk) asking people to bookmark my site on their favorite social network. My HIT looked something like the following:

Bookmark the URL

Using one of the following sites:

Include in the title or description one of the following terms:
digital picture frame(s)
digital photo frame(s)
digital frame(s)
wireless photo frame(s)

You may use either the singular or plural version of the keyword.
Please provide the URL of the bookmark in comments to receive payment for the HIT.
You can complete this HIT up to 5 times if you use a different bookmarking site each time.

So you can see I tried to make things as easy as possible for the turker to complete. Most of these people already have accounts at one or another of the social networks, so all they have to do is login and link to you. I offered 10 cents for these, only because I wanted a bunch in a hurry. 10 cents is actually a decent price for a HIT such as this. For another site, where I was more patient, I only offered 1 cent per bookmark, and I still got good results, though slower. As such, it is important to decide on your budget. It is worth taking the time to figure out if you only want to spend 25 cents promoting your site, or if you can actually afford a full $2.00. The choice is yours.

So I’ve basically given you a blueprint here for one way to get as many hiqh quality backlinks to your site as you want from the social media sites. If you want, you can specify only Digg links, or whatever you value. The great thing about this is the search engines love social media right now, most of the sites have high PR, and you get a link to your site that typically includes the keyword phrase of your choice. All for a few cents.

What’s not to love about that?

EDIT: I just got some article HITs back from Mechanical Turk and two of them were so good that I wanted to award a bonus to the authors. FYI – here’s how to do it. In the Manage HIT interface, where you see their unique ID number, beside the HIT results, click on that number (it is a hyperlink) and a pop down menu will appear. You can then award a bonus of any amount you wish through that link. I just felt bad paying 50 cents for these two great articles, so I doubled it for them.

I know, I’m a big spender. =)

One Response to The Mechanical Turk Strikes Again
  1. Bookmarks about Mturk
    August 18, 2008 | 6:15 am

    […] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by vealshanks on 2008-07-28 The Mechanical Turk Strikes Again – bookmarked by 2 members […]