Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Currying favour with Google etc through sneaky use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk and ShortTask

After being alerted to the existence of Amazon's Mechanical Turk and ShortTask (both are websites which let you pay people to do small tasks, ie crowdsourcing) I occasionally take a look there to see what drivel people are being paid to do.

Generally you can earn around 5 cents for doing one small task such as leaving a positive comment on a YouTube video or liking a Facebook page.

Here are some of the current ones on ShortTask - I could only find twenty tasks, I wonder if that's because I'm not logged in or because its appeal is becoming more 
  • This one asks you to search for breast growth mco on Google and then report back the name of the website after spending a minimum of 40 seconds on the site.
  • Here's one that will pay you to flag a video on a YouTube as spam. Seems a bit harsh.
Whereas over at Amazon's Mechanical Turk...
  • Possibly the oddest writing gig I've seen - this one will pay $5 for you to compose and publish ten tweets on the general topic of writing, which can include freelance tips and grammar tips. According to the 'project pay' information this works out at 50c per tweet and roughly 0.02c per word - probably not that in line with the National Union of Journalists' recommendations for payscales.
  • There's a rather nicely designed website at 'phlogistoncarnival' however they offer speechwriting (OK) but also the writing of papers (hmm). I suspect their 'AI teacher' page is a bit of a cunning ruse designed to boost their own dictionary / thesaurus - - for their MTurk task they want you to tweet about them from a Twitter or say something on a Facebook account that is not typically used to post commercial tweets or Facebook ads.
  • Sticking with the blogging theme, this one wants you to find blogs about travel and their contact email address. No idea why but it put me in mind of those annoying people that email me periodically asking if they can (a) write a guest post for me or (b) sneak a link to some iffy company or resource page into one of my blog posts. I wonder if there's a complementary task in which people are paid to send a template email to people who write travel blogs asking them if they'll advertise your travel site. Funnily enough I have received one of these requests myself in the past.

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