Did you know Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) can simplify your small business tasks through the use of crowdsourcing?

This process was introduced in Part 1, How To Harness The Power of Crowdsourcing to Grow Your Art Business. However, in today’s post you will learn how to put Amazon Mechanical Turk to good use. Marketing expert/photographer Todd McPhetridge shares his tips for using MTurk, and the power of crowdsourcing.

Wikipedia: Crowdsourcing is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. This process can occur both online and offline. The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific body, such as paid employees.

Tips for Using Amazon Mechanical Turk to Build Your Business

Now that we know the basics, let’s talk about a few tips to give you the best use out of this program. As mentioned in Part 1, using Amazon Mechanical Turk can seem a bit daunting at first, but once mastered MTurk can be a vital tool for small businesses – the budding or veteran artist or photographer. 

todd-mcphetridge-winding-mountain-roadTHINGS YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

Make your HITs interesting. Workers will want to complete a HIT that is worth their time, so make the tagline something that will draw in their interest. You must also make sure that your instructions on completing the HIT leave no room for interpretation, and that the goal of your HIT is clearly stated, allowing for the results you need. It is a good idea to let a friend proof read and try your HIT before making it public.
Pay attention to your compensation. Although workers expect to get paid in cents, you want the HIT you have created to be worth the time a worker spent on it. If you pay too little, and your HIT is more extensive, workers may become bored and not feel it is worth their time. Be wary of spammers, who are people who will try to complete your task as fast as possible without putting any effort into it. Offering a higher price will attract more spammers.
Amazon MTurk
Treat your workers like employees. In other words, be nice to them, and be prompt with their payments.
Time allotment per HIT
You will be asked to set a time limit to how long a worker can work on your HIT. This can be helpful if you require a worker to answer questions quickly and not think about things too deeply. Other than that, set it to whatever you want, although the default is what is recommended.
When adding in keywords, using your company or artist’s name as such is an important way of identification. You can also throw in tags that describe your artwork, which will draw in interested parties.
My Personal Template:
Here’s how I personally set-up my “art description” template for MTurk, you may find a quicker more effective way for yours.

  • Title: Writer Needed for 100 word description of art / photography
  • Description: Write a 100 word post for the image and keyword provided
  • Time Allotted Per Assignment: 1 hour
  • HIT expires in: 3 days
  • HIT Approval Rating: Greater or equal to 95% AND location is United States
  • Reward per assignment: .40

Here is what my actual HIT description looks like:

I’m looking for a brief description to sell art / photography (try to make it between 75-150 words if possible). I will be using this as a description for my art on my blog. I am looking to create emotion to get someone interested in buying my art. Keep it uplifting and empowering.

Don’t write in first person (stay away from using: I, me, we, us). Think emotion and descriptive 🙂
Here are 3 examples of descriptions I have used in the past:

  1. A landscape print, by Todd, that evokes the feeling of nearing the end of a long journey home. Todd’s black and white landscape prints capture more than an image; his works capture a moment, a feeling that speaks to the viewer. Todd’s ability to do so in his landscape art adds a singular touch to his art.
  2. An example of photographer Todd nature artwork, “Dirt Road” is a blend of nostalgia, with a nod to the present. We could be traveling this “Dirt Road” by horse and buggy, 150 years ago…but no, the modern road sign betrays our imaginings.
  3. Whether you live in the city or the country, an upscale suburb or urban row house, if your heart aches for the great outdoors, and you are looking for something to add to your wall decor, contemporary landscape photos may be the answer.  Todd offers photos for sale, with rustic country landscape images magically captured by his camera. Original, one of a kind, photos of mountains, creeks, trees, and dirt roads will fill your heart with longing for the great outdoors.

A few more tips:

  • This image is called: ${printname}
  • Please try to use this keyword 1-3 times in the description: ${keyword}
  • ${image}
  • Notice how I used the name of the image and my name, “Todd McPhetridge” in the desciription.
  • Please use correct grammar and spelling. Must be your own unique writing and not copied from anywhere else online.
  • Be creative and have fun with it!
  • This description MUST NOT be the same description as any previously submitted HIT assignment or appear elsewhere on the web. Otherwise, the almighty Google will hate my site and we don’t want that. 

You can create a profile and start posting your HITs at Amazon Mechanical Turk – https://www.mturk.com .
You may want to search the HITs that are already posted to get ideas for your own HIT. You can see what others are offering for similar jobs, which will help you price your HITs to be rewarding on the MTurk market. You’ll be required to fund your account (easy to do with most major credit cards) as a good-faith show that you are legitimately willing to pay for the services rendered.
These are only a few examples of what MTurk and its workers could do for you.  The sky really is the limit for this type of crowdsourcing.  If you can think of a task that is simple though you have a lot of it, why not ask thousands of workers to complete small portions of it for you at a rate of 5 cents per completed task?  Though this seems like such a small amount there are plenty of workers who will jump at the chance to do these tasks!  MTurk is full of things like surveys, search rankings, and web site usability tests.  There are many artists and photographers using this site for the aforementioned tasks such as website usability tests, photo tagging and organizing, and even the creation of original content!  There really is no reason to not try out MTurk, think of all the time you could gain!
Now that you know your way around, what are you waiting for? Get to it!
Guest author/artist: Todd McPhetridge is a Fine Art Nature Photographer signed by Winn Devon. He is a marketing ninja with a refined taste for all kinds of music. His omelets are noteworthy and his sense of humor is twisted. Point your GPS at North Georgia and you will find him hiking the mountains and spending time with his son.
*Thanks again to Todd for sharing another great guest post! Meanwhile, let’s meet on Twitterand Google Plus, Pinterestand join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page! Please checkout my art too LoriMcNee.com. ~Lori