Friday, June 20, 2014

Mturk No Longer Accepts International Requesters

Edit #2- Please read this new post on how to have your hits published using Amazon Mechanical Turk. BOOKMARK IT FOR NEWS AND INFORMATION
http://internationalrequesters.blogspot.com/ 

Website is live, mturkdata.com




Edit: 7/18/14
It has been confirmed that it is impossible for anyone who is not a US citizen to get an Amazon Payments account. 
There are no workarounds for this as stated in comments.

First Amazon banned new international workers, now Amazon has essentially banned all international requesters from Mturk.
This is the form letter that was sent this past week. . .

Dear Mechanical Turk Requester,

In connection with an update to our business practices, Mechanical Turk will require you to purchase prepaid HITs through Amazon Payments Personal or Business accounts. This requirement will go into effect on July 27, 2014.

Amazon Payments Personal accounts require you to provide your legal name, physical address, birth date and Social Security Number (SSN) to register. Amazon Payments Business accounts require you to provide your company name, physical address and company EIN to register. If you are registering for a Business account as a sole proprietor, you will be required to provide your date of birth and your Social Security Number instead of an EIN.

If you already have an Amazon Payments account, you can check the status of the account by visiting the following pages:
Personal - https://payments.amazon.com/overview
Business * https://payments.amazon.com/paymentsProfile
You can create an Amazon Payments Personal or Business account by visiting these pages:
Personal - https://payments.amazon.com/personal
Business - https://payments.amazon.com/premiumaccount
Please note that the verification process may take 48 hours to complete.

If you would like to refund your Mechanical Turk balance or have additional questions, please contact customer service here: https://requester.mturk.com/contactus

Best regards,
The Mechanical Turk Team
And this is a screen cap from the requester website...




Without the social security number or EIN, international requesters will no longer be able to publish HITs. International companies can only publish hits if they have a US based address and an EIN. Requesters are required to pay workers using Amazon Payments. No other form of payment is allowed. If you are unfamiliar with Amazon Payments, that's no surprise. For years it was a side project that really never gained traction because other forms of payment were easier to use and accepted by a majority of online businesses. But now, Amazon Payments is a money making machine that Jeff Bezos is pushing into a war with PayPal for market share.With the new Amazon 3D smartphone scheduled to be released, Amazon is expanding into markets where they could make a huge impact and Amazon Payments is at the heart of it all.

This could be a major blow to Amazon Mechanical Turk. This is going to force international requesters into publishing HITs through a middleman. Academic requesters can contact US based universities and possibly reach some kind of an agreement with them to publish HITs, but for non-academic corporations, they will have to go through other channels. CrowdSource, Smartsheet and others will charge a fee on top of the Amazon standard fees to publish HITs. This means that international requesters will have to increase their budgets and workers will only receive a fraction of what the original payment was intended to be. Lining the pockets of middlemen is never a good business model. These middlemen do have something to offer though. They have the knowledge, experience and established presence that will help with a smooth Mechanical Turk experience, but it comes at a high price.

Another problem with this change is that Amazon is no longer the only player in the game. There are at dozens of crowdsourcing platforms available like Clickworker, microWorkers, oDesk and a host of others, all competing against Mturk (which is still in beta after 10 years.)

Is this the death of Mturk? Probably not, but it is another hinge on the coffin that is beginning to close.

4 comments:

  1. I've posted instructions on TurkerNation.com for international requesters to be able to work within the new rules and get a new/keep their old account. They're in the requesters only area of the forum, so if anyone wants to see them they'll have to sign up and ask for access.

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  2. Thanks Spamgirl. I will take a look and update.

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  3. The forum referred to is a closed access forum for requesters only. Please email turkernation admin for access.

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  4. If you need access, please sign up for Turker Nation and reply to the private message titled "URGENT! PLEASE READ!"

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