What Is Microwork and Can You Make Money Doing It?

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There are lots of ways to make money on the internet, but some ways are more rewarding than others. Microwork is but one of these ways to earn some income, and people around the world use it to earn some cash. But what is microwork, and is it worth your time and effort?

What Is Microwork?

Microwork, as the name suggests, is when a company posts small, bite-sized tasks for freelance workers. Usually, these little pieces of work are small chunks of a much larger project. As such, everyone partaking in microwork help to build a much larger project.

Microwork is usually done online. There are hubs where companies post small jobs that they need doing, and interested workers can put their name forward and begin work. The company sets a budget for the work, usually based on a flat rate measured by total work done.

Microwork is great for companies that want to bring people on board to do data-entry or analysis jobs, but without going through the lengthy hiring process and giving people benefits. The companies post a job, and the workers do it for an agreed-upon fee.

Microwork is often pretty easy to do. It doesn’t demand a lot from you in terms of education, and the tasks are simple enough for you to perform. This makes them an attractive way for people to make money online, especially if they have no prior experience in doing remote work.

There are lots of microwork platforms out there, but the biggest and most famous is Amazon Mechanical Turk. It’s a huge marketplace for employers and workers to help get work done. It’s different from Amazon Work-From-Home, which hosts full and part-time job offers instead of individual tasks.

Related: How to Grab Amazon Work-From-Home Jobs Today

What Kind of Tasks Do Microwork Employers Ask For?

There are lots of things that a microwork poster can ask people to do, but the jobs you’ll find on a microwork website typically land in one of two categories. They either require a personal opinion or they’re jobs that a computer can’t do in batch.

For the former category of work, a company may want to gauge if its product or service is relevant for people. To do this, they publish surveys that ask for some personal information, alongside the survey taker’s opinion on specific questions. The employer can then use the information the workers give to shape their product and pay the survey takers as a reward.

Related: Legit Survey Websites Where You Can Earn Extra Cash

​​​As for the latter, there are some tedious jobs that a computer can’t do accurately. Do you know those captchas that ask you to click on all the cars or other objects? Those keep out spambots because computers can’t recognize concepts and shapes as well as we can.

Unfortunately, when companies want to churn through lots of concept-based data to better their business, this flaw is a real problem. That’s why they need to pay human beings to go through the data and sort it properly.

Jobs may include snapping images of specific things, sorting things into their proper place, or clicking on things on a website. It’s not difficult work by any means, but it’s just hard enough that the company can’t use a PC to do the work for them.

Advantages of Microwork

Microwork fills a specific niche in the business world, and there are some advantages to working with a microwork website.

1. Microwork Websites Have Low Entry Requirements

Because microwork typically doesn’t demand a lot from the worker, it’s pretty easy to get started with a platform and get work done. There may be a few checks to ensure you can do basic tasks, but after then, you’ll be free to begin doing work and building your reputation.

Related: Coding Isn’t for Everyone: Tech Jobs You Can Get Without It

2. Microwork Assignments are Pretty Simple

Because of the low entry requirements, microwork jobs are typically not very demanding. This means you can earn some cash without having to do anything too intensive.

This makes microwork websites a great way to earn some extra cash when you have nothing better to do. Just get a few tasks done during your downtime to earn some more money toward that next planned purchase.

Disadvantages of Microwork

Unfortunately, microwork gigs aren’t perfect. There are a lot of downsides you need to take into account before hopping into the world of microwork.

1. The Pay Isn’t Great to Start (if It Ever Is)

When getting into a microwork site, it’s worth gauging how much you’ll get per task before sinking your time into it. You’ll often find that the jobs you get to start with will only pay you between a few cents and one or two dollars. As such, it makes for a poor get-rich-quick scheme.

Some websites will have a reputation system for their workers. If someone does a good job with their assignments, they may be given access to bigger, better, and higher-paying jobs. However, the pay will still not be amazing, and you may find it’s a better side-gig than a main job.

2. You May Not Get Paid for a While

Microwork jobs aren’t great for a fast turnaround. Some websites have set payment dates where you’ll get what you earned, and others will have a minimum payout amount that you need to hit to trigger a payout. And even then, the payment process may ask you to wait a few days for the money to arrive.

3. The Work Can Get Pretty Shady

How do you feel about people paying you to click a thumbs-up button on YouTube or post a fake positive review about a product? How about surrendering your personal information on a survey, or posting product links on a forum? If this makes you feel uneasy, you may find some microwork websites hard to work for.

Microwork websites are perfect havens for this shadier avenue of work. If a company wants to boost the reviews on their product, or need some help getting their product links past an anti-spam countermeasure, they can post a job and get people to do it for them. And because microwork websites work on an international level, the company can get people from all over the world to boost their products online and give a false air of legitimacy.

4. Microwork Websites Attract Scammers

Oftentimes, microwork websites put the employers above the workers. This means the employers have the power to scam users from their already pretty small pay.

For instance, someone may write a small piece for a company, which then rejects it on the basis that it’s “not good enough.” However, the company may then use the piece anyway without needing to pay for the work. And if the writer isn’t keeping tabs on how companies use their work, they may never notice.

5. Performing Microwork Assignments Can Feel Draining

While the work is easy, and you will be paid for it, make no mistake; for the majority of the employers on the website, you’re nothing more than a cog in a much larger machine. There are rarely any personal greetings, meetings with managers, or any sort of connections; you accept the work, get on with it, and get paid if it’s good enough.

As such, performing microwork jobs can feel cold and isolating. You may feel as if your work doesn’t make a huge impact on the world, or that nobody values the work you can do.

Is Microwork the Best Choice for You?

While microwork does have its pitfalls, it can be a great way to earn some extra income as a side-gig. Every time you need to save for a new game, or you just want some extra beer money, doing some microwork can be an easy and simple way to earn some cash.

As for a serious career path, it’s not for everyone. People have reported they can earn a living wage with the platform, but you should see those people as the exception instead of the norm. They’re usually very dedicated and put in a lot of time to build their reputation with the website.

At the very least, performing microwork can be a good way to build up a portfolio if you don’t have any work experience under your belt.

Microwork: Another Way to Make Money Online

Microwork platforms aren’t for everyone. However, if you’re willing to put in the time, or you want to make some cash on the side, you may find value from these websites. Just keep the cons in mind before getting too involved, and keep an eye out for remote work jobs that pay better than microwork tasks.


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