The Amazon Mechanical Turk marketplace - Amazon Mechanical Turk

The Amazon Mechanical Turk marketplace

Mechanical Turk uses the requester and worker terms to describe the two participants in the marketplace. When you post new tasks to Amazon Mechanical Turk (Mechanical Turk), you are a requester asking workers to complete your tasks in exchange for the reward amount you offer. Workers can go to the Mechanical Turk marketplace to find and accept tasks.

As shown in the following image of the marketplace website, workers can see a list of available tasks, along with details about each task. Workers can review the title and description, reward amount, and time allotted to complete each task before accepting and working on it. In many cases, workers preview a task prior to accepting it, which allows them to decide if they want to work on it.

Submitting tasks to the Mechanical Turk marketplace does not guarantee that workers will complete them. If workers don't believe that the reward amount is reasonable for the effort required, or the work isn't something on which they want to work, they skip it and move on to other tasks. For this reason, we recommended that you put thought into how you describe your task so that workers can make an informed decision.

After workers complete your task, they submit their response and move on to additional tasks that you've posted or tasks from other requesters. You can review a worker's submission shortly after they submit the task. You have the option to approve or reject their submission. If you approve the work, the reward amount is distributed to the worker. Note that if you neither approve nor reject a task submission, it is automatically approved after a set time.

Marketplace rules

Prior to submitting tasks to Mechanical Turk, you should review the Acceptable Use Policy to ensure that your task adheres to the rules of the marketplace. Prohibited uses cover a range of activities such as violating the privacy or security of workers or others, abusive behavior, or any illegal activities. Violating these policies results in removal of your tasks from the Mechanical Turk marketplace and may result in the suspension of your account.

The sandbox marketplace

To experiment with Mechanical Turk without spending money on the Mechanical Turk marketplace, you can use the sandbox environment for requestors and the one for workers. This is a mirror image of the production environment, but no money changes hands when work is completed. Many requesters create tasks here first and complete them themselves so that they can validate their task interface and ensure they get the results they expect back. You can find more information on using the sandbox in Using the sandbox.

Note that there is no financial incentive to complete work in the sandbox marketplace, so you shouldn't expect tasks you post in the sandbox to be completed unless you do so yourself.