Media and Bloggers often pan the crowdsourcing of work as exploitive to the worker and detrimental to specific industries. The most vocal detractors are often the people whose industries are being turned on their heads by this dislocating technology. Least heard from seems to be those people who’ve chosen to become part of the crowd workforce. So, we decided to give them the microphone and make their comments instantly available to the world.
How did we do it and what did the workers have to say?
We asked 200 people that do work on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to fill out the following crowdworker survey. It was a random opt-in approach that spanned all global working hours and a full weekend. We paid them 10 cents, their answers were anonymous, and after they finished the survey, they could see their answers live along with everyone else’s that had finished before them. You can peruse the crowdworker’s answers yourself.
Here’s what we took from the results:
5 Primary Crowdworker Sentiments
- The people that choose to do this kind of work are very grateful for it
- It is typically a supplemental form of income or spending money
- They like the control they have over when and how they work (their own boss)
- They hope that those people asking for work grows faster than those people looking for work so that payment amounts will rise.
- They are confident that the market for getting work done via the crowd will grow significantly
3 most common pieces of feedback workers have for those seeking work done via the crowd.
- Be clear about what you want - write explicit instructions
- Pay a fair amount for the volume and complexity of work you are requesting
- Stop scamming workers with efforts to get them to sign up for things or getting their work and then not paying
Here are some basic statistics from the survey. Respondents did not have to answer each question, so some of the totals do not add up to 200. And, there has been no attempt to assess the validity of independent responses by cross-referencing components of their answers (ex: did someone with a Phd also log themselves as Under 21).
We invited 6 other paid crowdsourcing vendors to participate in the survey by sending the survey link to their workforce. Half of them expressed interest, but ultimately, none could overcome corporate inertia enough to actually participate. Honorable mention, however, to the folks at oDesk that re-Tweeted our request for crowdworkers monitoring their Twitter alias to participate.
There is plenty to be gleaned from the workers free form comments as well as some of the correlations between statistics in the survey. Feel free to download the data and draw up your own assessments. Or, run your own survey by crowdsourcing it with Smartsourcing.