Amazon sent out emails to all requesters last night detailing their new fee structure. Although in the original blog post “Bringing Future Innovation toMechanical Turk” stated that the commission increase would be a maximum of 35%, they actually raised it to a whopping 40% for academic requesters. Most requesters will see a 20% commission structure but for any requester posting 10 or more HITs they are adding an additional 20% on top of the base fee.
Along with this fee increase, they devalued their “master” workers and reduced the fee from 30% to 25% and with the increase in base fee to 20%, this further reduced the value of this “elite” qualification.
Amazon stated in the email to requesters that the 40% fee is only going to affect .3% of all work published on Mturk. This may be correct, but it is easy to skew that number when Speechpad is posting almost a quarter of a million dollars of HITs in a month and CastingWords is at 44k. What happens to that .3% when you remove almost 300k of HITs posted? What happens to Amazon Mechanical Turk when those two requesters pull out on their own platforms because they do not want to pay DOUBLE what they have been paying for many years?
Amazon raising their fees somewhat is not that big of a deal, but to gouge specific requesters is unconscionable. Survey requesters are not using more resources, nor are they a huge impact on their platform according to Amazon. How is this additional fee justifiable?
Simply stated, it is not. There are a half dozen other platforms available where we can publish surveys for the same price or less.
For requesters who are using Mturk as a source for slave labor and paying workers less than $2 per hour, these rate hikes are insignificant. Decent requesters who value their workforce and support ethical pay, this is a huge amount of money that will have to be accounted for.