Ever since the recent increase in pricing for requesters, its been harder for me to find decent work. And by work, I mean surveys. Ive recently discovered Mturks as a nice way to make coffee money on my downtime and I can barely break $5/day where I use to be able to pull in $15-$20 with half the effort I do now. Lets look at the politics of Mturk and the recent drama.
The biggest news for Turkers is the recent increase in pricing for requesters. This created lots of issues for us, the workers. Requesters are now charged more for posting hits(work) and this extra cost means less hits and the extra cost being passed down to us workers in the form of lower pay. I used to be able to search and filter hits for $.20 and bang them out one after another. Now, I have to snipe these hits fast or they’ll get picked up by another worker. Theres also noticeably fewer hits available. Many requesters have dropped Amazon Mturks as their platform. A big one, Crowdsource has left to form their own platform.
Amazon Mturks is not a particularly advance platform. The navigation is confusing and intimidating for beginners trying to work. В Everything is archaic. Its very difficult to sort through requesters and use the platform as-is. In order to get the most out of it, you have to download and install scripts in your browser such as Turk Opticon and Hitscraper. Amazon already has a rating system for the products they sell. Why didnt they implement this into Mturks? Their Hits listing is laughable. Heck, Craigslist is better than than Mturks! Hitscraper allowed me to quickly find and sort through the trash and increase my productivity. В Im very grateful for the developers making these scripts and building a community of reviewers but lets cut the fat. Why should they? Why dont Amazon just hire more programmers to develop this service that we need? If were more productive, they make more money! I guess Amazon isnt satisfied with fucking over its own employees. Its cheaper to let us do the work for them!
Speaking of fucking its own employees, that NY Times article I linked above really hits home. Especially the part about ambulances waiting outside their warehouse in waiting to treat heat-exhausted selectors. Im a warehouse selector myself. The job is hard, unfulfilling, and soul-destroying. I found myself changing in the years Ive been selecting. I used to be happy, positive, and optimistic. While selecting, I noticed myself being short-tempered, angry, and constantly exhausted. Ive also lost much of my creative spirit. Theres one thing about being a selector/picker that we all share. We have relationship issues. If youre married, expect a divorce. Girlfriend? Shes cheating on you. Ive heard stories about guys coming home to their wives fucking some dude in the car. 18 years of providing hard-earned income and she wants a divorce out of the blue. And the child support. My god the child support! I would say 95% of selectors are having serious relationship problems. What can you expect when you work 12 hour shifts literally breaking your back whileВ getting treated like a dog. Its only natural for you to bring that negativity home. Most people will focus on the blue-collar stories but try to keep in mind the hard-working laborer in the warehouses. They are people that handle your products. They have stories too.
Mturks has not changed in any way for us workers. The platform is the same, except the money isnt there anymore. In my experience, I shared that I am a selector. 2 of my last 3 jobs were Fortune 500 companies. They’re all the same. The shit trickles downwards. Some bigwig CEO needs a new yacht so they turn up the performance. This means we, as selectors, need to work harder in order to make 100% rate. If we dont make rate, we go through steps that ultimately means the end of our employment. Ive seen this happen many times. Orders that use to take 50 minutes are now 40 minutes. That means you have to do 125% more work to hit 100%! Does this increase of productivity go to our pockets? No, of course not. It goes up the ladder. All warehouses do this. All big companies do this. I know most of you may not be able to relate but keep this in mind. We are the grunt workers on Mturks. They want more money, and in the end, pass that cost onto someone. In this case, its the requester. They then pass that cost onto us, the workers. Its physics. The Law of Corporate Greed: Shit flows downhill while money flows up the ladder.
While I am a worker on Amazon Mturk, I’m also a customer. I’ve spent thousands on Amazon and their service has been fantastic. This puts me in a strange place. Although I do love Amazon for providing goods at an excellent price, I can’t agree with how they are treating their employees. Turkers are contractors so I would consider us workers too. So what’s the solution? Or rather, what’s my solution? Amazon is like the Wal-Mart of online retail. It’s hard to ignore them. I’m going to make a conscious effort not to do business with them. This will mean more hassle for me. Ill have to find another site or buy things through the companys site or by patronizing a brick and mortar. The only power this lowless turker has is money and Im voting with my dollar. This will be hard and to be honest, most people wont bother. Its sad to read how Amazon is treating their employees but people wont care until it affects them directly. As turkers, its affecting us directly. Right now, Amazon has this new era of internet piece-work locked down but it will only be a matter of time before more companies see the potential and compete. I hope Crowdsources platform does just that.