Dear Jeff Bezos We are writing to let you and the rest of the world know all about who we are. The intent is for you to see that Turkers are not only actual human beings, but people who deserve respect, fair treatment and open communication.

Bezos



We Want To Say


1
Turkers are human beings, not algorithms, and should be marketed accordingly.
2
Turkers should not be sold as cheap labour, but instead skilled, flexible labour which needs to be respected.
3
Turkers need to have a method of representing themselves to Requesters and the world via Amazon.
Jeff Bezos may run Amazon and he may be a billionaire, but he is very accessible to his customers with an easy-to-find email address, jeff@amazon.com. And when his customers aren’t pleased, Bezos isn’t either.
-businessinsider.com, 10/2013

How to participate

If you are a Turker, send an email to Jeff Bezos at jeff@amazon.com. CC dearjeffbezos@wearedynamo.org (or forward it to us after) to have your letter posted on this site for the public to read (optional). Here are some pointers to help you write your letter:

  • Talk about "key demographics" - how much time you spend turking, pay information (try to go beyond income: how much you make, if that's changed over time, how much you need, what it pays for if that's of note), why you chose mTurk, why you don't have a "real" job, info about your family (dependents, be it kids or parents or disabled family members or...)
  • We definitely think we need to keep it POSITIVE, and make that clear - this is not an airing of grievances, this is an introduction.
  • First impressions are key, and the point is to show we are GOOD, skilled, intelligent people who have chosen this "career" not because we're the "dimmest bulbs" and it's all we can get. Get someone to proofread your email - in fact, if you want help from us on that, just ask! Post on the forum (www.wearedynamo.org/forum/actions/topics/dear-jeff-bezos) and we'll help edit it.
  • If you want to, provide contact information (email, phone, or Twitter) so journalists can find and interview you. You can also optionally ask Jeff Bezos to write back a public response to dearjeffbezos@wearedynamo.org.

Goals

  • Opening communication BOTH ways, meaning we end up with a two-way conversation going back and forth.

  • A response from Mr. Bezos to individual emails as well as a public response to our group email.

  • More resources for Turkers.

  • Presenting to media the truth about Turkers
    • We’re not all unskilled
    • We’re not all making $1.45/hour
    • We’re not all Turking for beer money
    • We don't all live in countries with lower living costs

In the media

What does a union look like in the gig economy?, Fast Company, 2/19/2015
Intellectual Piecework, The Chronicle, 2/16/2015
On-Demand Workers: ‘We Are Not Robots’, The Wall Street Journal, 1/27/2015
Amazon's Mechanical Turk workers protest: 'I am a human being, not an algorithm', The Guardian, 12/3/2014
Amazon’s Turkers Kick Off the First Crowdsourced Labor Guild, The Daily Beast, 12/3/2014
Amazon's Mechanical Turk workers want to be treated like humans, Engadget, 12/3/2014
Workers of Amazon services published open letters to Bezos saying "We are not an algorithm", Gigazine, 12/4/2014 (in Japanese)
Amazon's Mechanical Turkers want to be recognized as 'actual human beings', The Verge, 12/4/2014
Amazon Mechanical Turk workers begin letter-writing campaign, Crowdsourcing.org, 12/5/2014
Amazon Mechanical Turk: Artificial Artificial Intelligence, Rhizome Today, 12/5/2014
The proletariat web accesses the class consciousness and launches its first collective action to improve working conditions, Slate, 12/4/2014 (in French)
Mechanical Turk workers protest, Xakep, 12/8/2014 (in Russian)
Dear Jeff Bezos: Read the letters behind the Mechanical Turk crusade that's unmasked an unknown workforce., Twitter, @CrowdBulletin, 12/6/2014
The proletariat web accesses the class consciousness, Internet ACTU, 12/8/2014 (in French)

Interested in this story? We suggest to contact the Turkers involved, some have provided contact information. You can also contact us at: dearjeffbezos@wearedynamo.org for more information.

Letters

Bezos account Orlando

Hello Mr. Bezos,
My name is Orlando. I am 26 years old college graduate from southern California, with a 4 year old daughter. I found Mechanical Turk through a financial website i visit daily called TheSimpledollar.com. I would like to personally thank you for helping get Mechanical Turk started because it has personally helped me and my family. It allows me the flexibility to work when I want, and not interfere with the time I need to devote to my daughter.

I graduated from California State University Northridge with 2 BA degrees in 2010. I got a job at a small engineering company and was doing security on the weekends. I was working 7 days a week to make ends meet. I graduated college with $25,000 of student debt and a newborn baby to support(which one is the rock and which one is the hard place is up for interpretation). I decided last year, that after 6 years of working 7 days a week, I needed a few days off to spend quality time, with my now, 4 year old daughter. I quit working the weekends, but that also meant losing an extra $1,000 of income each month. After a few months I needed a way to make extra income without losing to much quality time with my daughter. I found Mechanical Turk to be a great alternative than doing other types of freelance work. . Since beginning to work on mechanical Turk I've only made 500 dollars, but to me sir that means a lot. It means paying for 3 weeks of daycare, it means groceries for the month, it means car and health insurance premiums, it means piano lessons, and most importantly it means not missing one moment of my daughter discovering something new about this world.

I know I’m just one person, but I want thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping my family and I. Without your effort to create Mechanical Turk I would still be working 7 days a week and missing my daughter as she grows up. I hope you can read this and know you have affected me very personally. Thank You Mr. Bezos.

Kindest Regards,
Orlando

Dear Mr. Bezos,
I am a Turker: middle age, entrepreneur, university student, mom, wife, reliant on my mTurk income to keep my family safe from foreclosure. I don’t Turk for $1.45 per hour nor do I live in a developing country, I am a skilled and intelligent worker, and I Turk as my main source of income and it is currently my chosen career. I am a human being, not an algorithm, and yet Requesters seem to think I am there just to serve their bidding. They do not respect myself and my fellow Turkers with a fair wage, and in fact say that we should be thankful we get anything near to minimum wage for the “easy” work we do. Searching for work all day isn’t easy. Having to find and install scripts to become more efficient isn’t easy. Dealing with unfair rejections isn’t easy. Being a Turker isn’t easy.

I ask that you look towards not selling us as cheap labour, but instead as highly skilled labourers who offer an efficient way to get work done. Paying each of us less than fairly isn’t the way to save money, but instead using a huge workforce available at any hour of the day is what will reduce costs. Please stop selling us as nothing more than an algorithm and instead introduce those who use your service to the fact we are living, breathing beings who are using this money not to buy beer, but to feed, clothe and shelter our families. If you could facilitate our communication with Requesters somehow, be it through a forum or just presenting our stories to them, I think it would change their perception of us for the better. Remember: the more that they pay us, the more fees you make. The better they treat us, the better the results they get, and the more likely they are to stick around. The better mTurk’s reputation, the more new Requesters will use the service. When Turkers are happy, Requesters are happy, and Amazon will be happy, too.

Thanks for reading,
Kristy Milland,
turkernationforum@gmail.com

Bezos account Kristy Milland
Bezos account Manish

Dear Mr. Bezos,
First of all, I would like to thank you for creating a platform for all of us which has allowed thousands of Turkers to earn a living from the comfort of our homes. In my four years of Turking, I haven’t had a day when I felt that I was bored of working on Mechanical Turk. It’s like a job where you can expect to work on different kind of tasks each day, most of which are quite fun. Working on mTurk has introduced me to some of the nicest and helpful people as well.

My journey on mTurk however has been far from smooth. As a worker from India, I have come across a lot of limitations and obstacles that international workers have to face. Limited work availability aside, the biggest challenge we face is when we have to withdraw our money. Though Amazon does allow Indian workers to withdraw their earnings in the form of a cheque, the cheque is sent through regular mail without the option to track it. In more cases than not, this results in the cheque getting lost. We then have to wait for six weeks before the cheque can be reissued, thus starting a vicious cycle. In the last four years, I have had so many problems getting my cheques that I have considered just quitting.

The second issue I have is transparency. There have been numerous cases of workers losing their accounts, getting warning emails from requesters without any fault of their own. While I agree there must have been cases where those warnings were valid, many times that’s not the case and workers are left with little to no support from Amazon. There needs to be a dedicated support group for the workers which is available either through chat or phone.

Also, we need need better clarification on the Masters qualification. There needs to be a set parameter to gain Masters. Once a worker crosses all the requirements off the checklist, They should be granted masters.

The last thing in my wishlist is upgrading the interface for workers. Amazon has been consistently updating the Requester section of mTurk with new tools which make it easier for Requesters to post their work; the worker section however has been left almost untouched since it’s inception in 2005. A lot has changed since then as far as technology is concerned. Amazon needs to add some advanced toolsets which would allow us to increase our efficiency.

Overall, if I had to sum up all my demands in one sentence, it would be that I want Amazon to start caring for the workers a bit more.

Hope you have a great day,
Manish


Response:

I’m Jonathan Norberg of Amazon.com’s Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your email and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about improving the Mechanical Turk experience for workers. We’re always looking for ways to get better, and we appreciate customer thoughts on how we can do so. I’ve shared your email with our Mechanical Turk team, and they’ve assured me they’ll take your feedback into consideration as they work to enhance the Mechanical Turk program.

Thanks again for writing to us.
Regards,
Jonathan Norberg Executive Customer Relations

Dear Mr. Bezos:
Thank you for giving home based workers a platform. Mechanical Turk is truly a Godsend to thousands of people who either need extra income, or can't get out into the 'regular' work force. Having said that, I'd like to present you with a challenge.

Challenge to Mr. Bezos:
Be an Undercover Boss. Feel free to call in the media for the publicity, but spend some time working on Mechanical Turk. Since the first 10 days are very limited, I'd like you to start the challenge after that point. I encourage you to join some forums. Rub shoulders with the people who do these tasks. Find out why they do them and what makes them willing to work for the wages that are offered. I think you will find this an eye opening experience.
The group of workers that you have are highly skilled and educated. Most employers would jump at the chance to have the skills that some of them possess. Unfortunately, many of them are treated as second-class workers who only work on Mechanical Turk as a “gift” to Amazon and to Requesters who are looking for free or cheap labor; without any support or backup from Amazon.
I hope you will seriously consider this challenge. Perhaps, by having a taste of the crowdsourcing platform that you helped to develop, you will get an idea of the frustrations and challenges Mechanical Turk workers experience.

Thank you for your consideration,
Sheila

Bezos account Sheila
Bezos account Clay

Dear Mr. Bezos:
I’ve been a worker on Mechanical Turk since July of 2012. I live in upstate New York with my wife, our son, three dogs and two cats. I work full-time on the Help Desk of a regional healthcare system and that job has enough down-time to let me “Turk”, as the workers call it, between calls and make between $20-$30 per day, usually.

That money pays for heating oil for my family in the winter and funds vacations in the summer. This past summer the money I made on Mechanical Turk paid for me to spend a weekend in Rhode Island to attend the Rhode Island Air National Guard Airshow, a weekend in Ohio with my Dad and son attending the Vectron Airshow and the Museum Of The United States Air Force, and a full week in Missouri visiting my family. Every cent spent on all three of those trips was funded by the work I make on Mechanical Turk and I’m very grateful for it.

However, I (and my fellow Turkers) think there are some things with Mechanical Turk that need to be looked at and possibly changed. For example:

1) Implement a formal grievance process that workers can bring against requesters and take action against requesters who are scamming workers. Instances of requesters rejecting honest work with nothing more than an “x” for a reason are far too common and if workers have to have a standard, why don't requesters?

2) Require that a requester respond to emails they receive. Nothing is more frustrating more than sending a requester a contact asking for clarification on a rejection and being met with crickets. This is completely unacceptable.

3) Be more transparent with worker standards. For example, in May I was given the Masters qualification and, to be honest, I don’t know why. I know workers who have a higher approval percentage and have completed more tasks than I do that don’t have it. What aspect of my work prompted Amazon to give me Masters? And what is Amazon specifically looking for when they decide to either allow me to keep it or take it away? It's very difficult to make sure your work is up to snuff when all you have to go by is your approval rating. Which leads nicely to my next point:

4) This morning I received a warning email that said “We write to alert you of a decrease in the accuracy of your HITs. If your HIT accuracy continues to fall, you may lose your Masters qualification.” I responded to the email asking what aspect of my accuracy has decreased, since in the past 45 days I’ve completed 4210 HITs and have had three rejections (or an approval rating in the past 45 days of 99.9993 percent) and the response I received was obviously a “cut and paste” type letter advising me on how to contact requesters about rejections. It didn’t address my concerns at all and was obviously a “cut and paste” form letter. I’m concerned I may lose my Master’s qualification without being told why and this, to me, is unacceptable.

5) Clarify when a block counts against you and when one doesn't, and give workers the means to see who has blocked them, why they've been blocked and which blocks are counting against them. Why do some blocks trigger a foreboding email warning to be sent, while others you don’t even know about until you attempt to accept a task by a requester that has blocked you? A requester should NEVER be allowed to block a worker without the worker knowing why. For example, earlier this year I received notice I had been blocked by a requester (workers refer to those as “hard blocks”) and when I emailed the requester to ask why he proceeded to hard block me a SECOND time. That kind of action is, to me, unacceptable.

What I’m asking isn’t unreasonable, I think… I enjoy working for Mechanical Turk and enjoy the income it brings me but at the same time the lack of support workers receive make it rather stressful at times and actions such as those I listed would be very helpful in eliminating that stress and enabling me (and other workers) to focus more on the work we do for Mechanical Turk and its requesters.

Thank you,
Clay

Dear Mr. Bezos,
My name is William and I have been working on Mechanical Turk for 3 years. I am Canadian, married and a father of 2.

In today’s tough economic environment, it is often difficult to make ends meet. The supplementary income I receive from Mechanical Turk has been a blessing. It has enabled me to ensure my children are properly outfitted for school and can enjoy a nice Christmas. It has helped me replace aging appliances and other household goods that I would otherwise not have been able to afford.

For that, I thank you. Unfortunately, working on Mechanical Turk can be extremely cumbersome as a worker. There is not much functionality to assist us with finding and completing work, and there are many hindrances.

Mechanical Turk could be a world leader in Crowdsourcing! If you were to invest in this platform, it would be a boon to Amazon and to all the workers who help to complete tasks. It would be a win-win for all us. The potential to capture the market is huge. Please help Mechanical Turk become the premier, go-to crowdsourcing platform that it has the potential to achieve!

Thanks for your time,
William

Bezos account William
Bezos account Carolyn

Dear Mr. Bezos,
I am 68 years old with a Ph.D. I am retired. I have been a worker on Amazon mTurk since 2011. I found Amazon mTurk when I read a favorable article in the New York Times. I joined mTurk to relieve my loneliness after my husband died.

The platform does add to my pension income, but that is not the most important reason that I am a member. Some tasks are very difficult. I welcome those tasks with open arms to keep up my mental acuity. Amazon mTurk is a wonderful vehicle for people like me. I try hard to get my friends to join.

I also belong to a wonderful forum called Turker Nation. We are a very friendly helpful group. We share help for Amazon Turk and very often personal help. Mr. Bezos, you have done a fine thing supporting Amazon mTurk. Please keep it up.

Sincerely,
Carolyn

Hello Mr. Bezos,
My name is Robin and I am a 45 year old mother to 4 children. My husband and I own our own small business, but 3 years ago my daughter who is severely handicapped graduated from high school and I was left with her at home needing total care so we decided that the only person we trusted to that task was me. So I gave up our business to stay at home with our daughter and make sure that she was safe, but this also put a big burden on our family financially, so I have sought desperately to find a way to be able to find a way to work yet still provide proper care for my family. Your company has provided me with a way to do that for my family, and I would like to give you a heartfelt thank you for that. I've been turking since Sept. 16th and in that time I've managed to bring in just over $1,000 to help my family. It really has helped us a lot, and I appreciate that chance to help my family out in every way possible. I pray that I will be able to continue working with your company for many years to come.

Sincerely,
Robin


Response:
Dear Robin,

Thanks for your feedback! We always like to hear from our customers, and we're glad you took the time to write to us.

We hope to see you again soon.

Regards,
Vijay Kumar
Executive Customer Relations
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com

Bezos account Robin
Bezos account Rochelle

Mr. Bezos,
I’m writing to you on behalf of Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, to tell you about what workers do and about the realities for many workers.

I wanted to let you know a few things that you might not realize about a lot of MTurk workers. A lot of workers depend on MTurk as a primary source of income. Many support their families with it. It’s not just something to do in their free time or something to passively interact with, doing a few HITs here and there, to make some money for fun. A lot of workers I talk with on a regular basis complete hundreds, if not thousands, of HITs each day. Many are American citizens trying to pay their bills. They are not all unskilled workers or people living in developing countries. Academic research shows that a large percentage of MTurk workers have Bachelors or Masters degrees. Many have chosen to be MTurk workers because it allows them to work from home with a flexible schedule to be able to care for children or grandparents.

I’ve personally been involved in the development and growth of some of social support communities to take the place of what seems to be a lack of support from Amazon for workers. Forums, IRC channels, Reddit subreddits, Facebook groups, websites, wikis, and other social networks have been developed to provide information about how to be a MTurk worker and to provide ongoing support for workers. This includes sharing of information about safe requesters to work for, great HITs to participate in, how to communicate with requesters, and much more. We have poured hours into training new MTurk workers, educating them on best practices, and helping them when issues arise.

We’re requesting your support. We need to ensure that workers are paid a fair rate and are treated fairly by requesters. As it stands right now, there is a power imbalance that we need your support to fix. We would like to work together to help change the system to be mutually beneficial for Amazon, workers, and requesters but we cannot do this alone. Please let us know how we can accomplish this together.

Thank you,
Rochelle
Twitter - @Rochelle

Mr. Bezos,
You don't know me, but Amazon is something I think about daily. I'm an Amazon Top Reviewer, a member of the Amazon Vine program, and one of my books printed through Amazon CreateSpace reached #2 in its category on Amazon U.K. As someone with health problems, I'm very grateful for the opportunities Amazon has given me, and how it has enriched my life.

What I wanted to write to you about today is Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Even though I graduated magna cum laude with a BA and was encouraged by a professor to get a PhD and become a college professor myself, I'm unable to pursue further education or work outside the home, so I appreciate having the opportunity to earn money through online work. Though everyone is an individual, many of the Mechanical Turk workers I have run across are intelligent and hardworking.

Knowing the story of the original mechanical turk, I realize that we're meant to be an anonymous workforce. But that anonymity can create an atmosphere where requesters don't treat us respectfully. As an example, some requesters don't pay us fairly for our time, or assume we're acting as volunteers. There is little recourse for unfair rejections of completed work, and at times I'm additionally unpaid for my work because a requester posted a broken HIT that I cannot complete and submit.

There are plenty of lovely requesters who use the website, but there are just as many who repeatedly break the Terms of Service (with little recourse for workers to report them--the report button never seems to erase the HITs), or treat workers as though they don't matter since there are always others in the workforce to take their place.

My request to Amazon would be to have at least some US-based (not outsourced) direct communication with the workforce. Find out what workers need, and work to fill in those gaps. If Amazon would appoint someone to be more involved and to pay attention to what workers need, it would improve the site immensely. A good place to start would be to find out what workers want as pay per hour. Though the requester site has a suggestion to consider how much one is paying per hour (and gives $6 as an example), you'll find few requesters who follow it. We realize we'll probably never make minimum wage, but there are some tasks on the site that won't even yield $2 an hour. Worse, workers really have little way of knowing which is which, and plenty of unpaid time is spent just looking for work. In fact, I can work an entire day and make as little as around $10.

With the original mechanical turk, a chess master was hidden inside. The "automaton" was praised, but it was the person behind the scenes who did the real work. I hope Amazon and requesters alike will grow to understand that this unseen workforce is important. Without it, neither the original nor current Mechanical Turk would be anything but an empty shell.

Mills


Response:
Dear Mills,
I'm Jonathan Norberg of Amazon.com's Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your email and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about improving the Mechanical Turk experience for workers. We're always looking for ways to get better, and we appreciate customer thoughts on how we can do so. I've shared your email with our Mechanical Turk team, and they've assured me they'll take your feedback into consideration as they work to enhance the Mechanical Turk program.

Thanks again for writing to us.
Regards,
Jonathan Norberg
Executive Customer Relations
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com

Bezos account Mills
Bezos account Kristy Milland

Hi again, Mr. Bezos,
I've told you who I am, and I've also told you how much mTurk means to me. I've also brought up the fact that I want to work hard to promote the service and make it the best it possibly can be. I would like to suggest an idea to you which could help mTurk become a platform which is great for workers, Requesters and Amazon itself.

I propose a workgroup made up of Turkers, Amazon employees, and Requesters who have a interest in bettering the platform. We could meet virtually to discuss how we can improve mTurk in the future. The discussion could centre around improvements to the platform, ways to build communication between the parties involved, how to market the service externally, or individual concerns with the service. I think it would be a great way to brainstorm ideas that could continue to make mTurk the best platform for crowd work available.

I know that mTurk is your brainchild and that you would love to see it become more prosperous and well respected. Let's make this happen together!

Best,
Kristy Milland
turkernationforum@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Bezos,
I was a surgical technologist by trade, but am unable to work in my profession after a major surgery left me unable to lift what is required for that position. I found Mechanical Turk four years ago, and have been working full time on the platform ever since. I was grateful to earn the three masters qualifications about two years ago. I have also gained employment outside of mTurk thanks to requester connections I have gained from the platform. I have even worked for professors at Harvard Business School thanks to these connections. I do not believe I would have ever obtained these connections if I never worked on Mechanical Turk. I am very thankful to you for the opportunities I’ve been given, but I also can not ignore the problems that exist on the platform.

The largest problem I see facing Mechanical Turk today is the poor pay that many requesters offer to workers. Mechanical Turk has a minimum percentage that will be accepted to allow requesters to use the platform. Why can’t you set a minimum that is paid to workers? I am not asking for much, but when a requester posts a task that takes two minutes or more for a penny it is offensive. Even though most of us choose not to work on the task, it is insulting just seeing it posted. Since Amazon has a minimum commission, will you please set a minimum payment for workers as well. I’d like to see this for all workers, but at the very least for requesters who are utilizing master workers who have proven their skills.

Another problem I would like to see addressed is the poor communication and support available through the customer support team. There have been numerous occasions when I have had an issue that I needed resolved, and it has taken up to seven emails to receive a resolution because the customer service team has not paid attention to what I’ve said in my first six emails, and sent me automated responses when I needed personal attention paid to my account. This is a very poor way to treat the people who are the lifesource behind this particular Amazon venture.

My last concern is about the platform itself. It has been in beta since inception with no sign of an update. Currently us workers must rely on multiple outside scripts and extensions running in our browser to maneuver Mechanical Turk in a user friendly fashion. There are many aspects of the platform that need to be updated including the search function and worker statistics. It would also be very helpful to have access to more than just 45 days of our history, and also have a user friendly way to print our history onto one page. This was promised to be emailed to master workers by a worker support person on the master forum over two years ago, and to date has still never happened.

Overall, I am very grateful to you for this platform; however, in all fairness to us workers there are several things that need to be updated and changed. From pay and customer support to updating the platform, these are things that will not only benefit workers, but also keep Amazon in the competitive crowdworking market as it expands into the future.

I thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter. Have a happy holiday season.

Sincerely,
Rachael M Jones
CrowdBulletin@gmail.com


Response:
Hi Rachael,

My name is Lisa and I work with the Mechanical Turk escalations team. Your recent e-mail to Jeff Bezos was forwarded to me for review, and I wanted to take some time to address the concerns you raised regarding your experience with our team, and also to thank you for the feedback you provided regarding the platform.

Let me preface this by apologizing on behalf of my team for the inconvenience and frustration you went through. I’m truly sorry for the difficulty you had getting the correct answers, and that it took so long for the correct info to be provided.

Regarding the issue you reported with your approval percentage decreasing, and rejections appearing on your account, we have reviewed your account and we do not see a record of either your approval rating decreasing, or 200 rejections being added, in May of this year. We are, however, continuing to investigate and will be following up with you directly should these investigations reveal an issue. In the meantime, if you by chance have any screenshots or timestamps showing the rejections or the approval change, that would be beneficial in helping us. Screenshots and other attachments can be sent to our team via the following e-mail address: aws@amazon.com

As mentioned above, we would also like to thank you for the feedback you provided us regarding how the platform can be improved. While these suggestions have been forwarded to our product and development team for consideration, please feel free to continue sending us your thoughts and suggestions via either contacting our support team, or by posting to the Masters forum as you have done in the past. We are constantly striving to improve Mechanical Turk, and your feedback is a very important part of this process.

If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and participation in Mechanical Turk.

Best regards,
Lisa A. Amazon Mechanical Turk

Bezos account Rachael M Jones
Bezos account Carey

Dear Sir,
Firstly, I have to say that I love Amazon. I have been a Prime customer for 3 years, and I buy a lot of products for my family from there. When things go wrong, as they have on occasion, I have experienced the best in customer service. This lack of high quality service leaves me scratching my head, however, when it comes to another division that falls under your umbrella - Amazon Mechanical Turk.

At the age of 39 I packed up my life and moved 8500 miles to be with my husband. An unexpected miracle pregnancy followed shortly thereafter. A new legal immigrant who is pregnant and with has no US work experience doesn't get a lot of interview requests, so I turned to Amazon Mechanical Turk as something I could do at home. At first, I anticipated making $5-$10 a week as a way to a) relieve boredom, and b) buy little extras for my upcoming child. But you know what Mr Bezos? I am really good at this, and that $5 a week quickly turned into several hundred.

My husband earns enough with his job to pay the basics, but this income literally puts food on our table. It pays for school outings, Christmas presents, birthday gifts and vacations. It bought us a second car so that I did not have to have our kids out in the snow to drop my husband off and pick him up from work each day. It paid the massive medical bills we got from the pregnancy when things went wrong and I became very ill during the final trimester of pregnancy. It has been a lifeline that has dug our family out of a financial hole on more than one occasion.

I am a human being, not an algorithm. My last position before AMT was as a paralegal that earned over $65,000 a year. I have worked since I was 16 years old. I am intelligent, funny, vibrant, and real. Requesters need to be more aware of who we are, what we are working for, and they need to realise that when they treat us badly, we hurt just like you.

Please allow the solid, real workers to help you take the AMT platform to a higher level of service and accountability. You would be truly amazed by the number of outstanding people you have waiting to make this system better for your company. After all, we do have a very vested interest in it being profitable.

Thank you for your time and Merry Christmas.


Response:
Dear Carey,

I'm Miranda Keelin of Amazon.com's Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your e-mail and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about improving the Mechanical Turk experience for workers. We're always looking for ways to get better, and we appreciate customer thoughts on how we can do so. I've shared your email with our Mechanical Turk team, and they've assured me they'll take your feedback into consideration as they work to enhance the Mechanical Turk program.

Thanks again for writing to us.
Best Regards,
Miranda Keelin
Executive Customer Relations
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com
==========================
There’s a brief survey at the bottom of this message to let us know how we’re doing. We’d appreciate you taking the time to fill it out.

Hi Jeff,
I am from India, I am so grateful that you build such great platform for online jobs, it makes my life little more easier than others.

I am not just writing for me or Indians, but every single turker who are so much depended on income from AMT. It is time to upgrade your system, countries other than India and USA, only have payment as gift vouchers, which is not enough, please try to introduce new ways to get paid or improve Amazon Payments. If you can introduce Direct Deposit methods for us, it will be great.

Create a better platform for the workers, AMT need both Requesters and Workers, so make it equal. Try an inbuilt review system for every Requester, so that we can avoid cheaters.

And lastly, introduce a minimum wage system, all of the workers in AMT are well educated and experienced people, we deserve the right pay for quality work we provide.

That's all from me, once again thanks for everything you have done for us.

Wish you a great December.
Regards

Bezos account Bayon
Bezos account Crystal S.

Dear Mr. Bezos,
My name is Crystal and I am a 32 year old Mother of 3 beautiful little girls. I have only been working on Mechanical Turk for a short time. I have to say that in my time here, I have grown to love it. I've grown to love it not because of the site itself, but because of the many helpful, warm and friendly people I've met because of this site by joining a select few forums. There is someone from nearly every walk of life and if you took a moment to realize it, these wonderful people have incredible and vast knowledge and skills that keep this site running on a daily basis. Without them, where would you be? That's something definitely worth pondering.

Now, I'm sure you've heard stories and personal accounts of various workers who are unhappy with the pay they receive from some Requesters, so I don't necessarily feel a need to go into that. Your conscience should tell you what is right in that regard. What I would like to focus on is the people behind the computers. These thousands of people whose skills and abilities and life experiences are worthy of praise. They SHOULD be thanked and praised for what they do. They're not sitting for hours searching for jobs on the off chance they might have enough money to go get an ice cream cone. No, they're sitting for hours searching and doing jobs hoping that they make enough money to provide their families their next meal, to prevent their home from being foreclosed, to help pay to further their educations. They're real people with real skills and real feelings. They want to be recognized for the hard work they do each and every day.

I personally started working for Mechanical Turk not for myself, but for my children. I want them to have the opportunity to choose their own path in life. I don't want them to just "get by", I want them to have a career. Something they can be proud of. My Husband has a full time job which pays for everything we need, but leaves little left when thinking in terms of the future. Mechanical Turk has given our family that opportunity. Thanks to you and your company, I can feel a little more secure about my children's future. I sincerely thank you for that.

I guess the basic point I'm trying to get across here is that the people who work on mTurk are real people, with real lives. They do real work and would like recognition for what they do. They feel undervalued, unappreciated and unsupported. They look to you for guidance and recognition. It is my sincere hope that together we can come to an understanding and a solution that fits the needs of all involved.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you, Sir, have a good day.
Sincerely,
Crystal S.


Response:
Dear Crystal,
I'm Laura Wallace of Amazon.com's Executive Customer Relations team. Jeff Bezos received your email and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about improving the Mechanical Turk experience for workers. We're always looking for ways to get better, and we appreciate customer thoughts on how we can do so. I've shared your email with our Mechanical Turk team, and they've assured me they'll take your feedback into consideration as they work to enhance the Mechanical Turk program.

Thanks again for writing to us.

Regards,
Laura Wallace
Executive Customer Relations
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com

Dear Jeff sir,
I am a student, working from India about 4 years on MTurk platform.I haven't get any blocks last 2 years and my MTurk account was suspended without any reason one hour ago. I worked for "Sticky" a requester in MTurk lastly, and they confirmed that they didn't send anything against of me as I did all well in their HIT's.

I really beg you to help me regarding this issue. I got this account after number of hacking activities and now nothing like that happens in my account. I am working with peace.

So please re-enable my account after verifying what mistake I did (I am confirm that I didn't any thing obvious on MTurk site.

I will wait for your reply, without studying my books (BE/Aeronautical Engineering).

Thank you.

Bezos account Pravin
Bezos account Christina

Dear Mr. Bezos,
My name is Christina Moring and I am a 29 year old hardworking mother of five children living in the small town of Sedalia, Missouri. I have worked at banks, worked as a server and now mostly I work as a Mturker. I have been working since September 25th, 2014 and have over 1100 hits completed. I work very hard to earn every dollar I make for my children. My husband is in college and works full time on a military base as an Independent contractor which takes him from home a lot. Because of this I am required to be at home as much as possible to be with my children and make sure they are being taken care of. Mturking has been incredible for my family. I have been able to help pay towards medical bills, and our rising electric bills that we are finally able to not feel incredibly stressed every month when we open that dreaded letter. My husband and I both work really hard to provide for our children but at some points it feels like we are being defeated. I find myself spending 8-10 hours a day (whenever I have a spare minute between doing household chores, and taking care of children) to sometimes earn $10.00 a day. Which I am incredibly thankful for, I can't stop. I have to keep going is all I can think because I never know what the next months bills will bring, or when my children might get sick and need to go to the doctors.

Some days I have earned $20-$27 which made me feel so proud and excited. Getting the occasional hit that is more than $1.00 is always such an amazing moment for me. I work very hard to answer all questions honestly and accurately and I do the best work I can possibly do. However the other day I completed a hit and received a rejection. I have very few rejections but they do occasionally happen. This one was different. Not only did I receive a rejection but I assume they blocked me as well for "not answering a question correctly" Because the next thing I know I received an e-mail from Amazon threatening to freeze my account if I receive any more blocks in the next few months. I was in shock, devastated. I couldn't understand how this could have happened. I became panicked and afraid because I need this money. I need to work. I can't go back to being afraid of all of our bills because we only have my husbands paycheck. I began to search around on forums and found that lots of people have been frozen out, not necessarily for anything they have done wrong but because the Requester's didn't want them doing more hits of theirs. That moment I realized how much this Mturking means to me, I need to do this for my family. I am so beyond thankful for the opportunity to work with and for this organization even if it is only for pennies or lucky dollars. I am just so incredibly grateful.

Thank you for your time and the opportunity to share my story.
Sincerely,
Christina

Dear Jeff,
At the very beginning of this letter, I want to say thanks a lot for creating such great platform that changed our life and I really appreciate it. I've started with Amazon Mechanical Turk in 2009, since I started I have spent most of my time enjoying by working on Mturk. When it comes to Amazon Mechanical Turk it means a lot to me, it gave me different way to live life, it gave me freedom, it gave me a feeling that we're connected to an eCommerce giant Amazon.com company, and it gave me a sense that we're connected with you. Mturk helped me to meet a new world of great and very kind people.

I'm from India, working with Amazon Mechanical Turk since the last 6 years, since I started I haven't had any serious issue with Mturk rather than delay in payment cheque in 2011, but now I'm getting my cheques on time, thanks to Mturk team working behind the scene. We all have fear somewhere inside us, that someday we might get suspended, may be cause of some unfair requester put block on us. May be they don't know how blocks are serious for us. Workers need some protection for their really hard work.

We spending years and years to get on this level on Mturk and someday workers getting email that they are suspended. Mturk must have to care for loyal and honest workers they have. We're running our house hold using Mturk, paying mortgage, paying for food, supporting family and you know needs are endless and in this if we lost our accounts, that we spent almost half decade to made it and burned our blood by working all day night long. So please take worker protection seriously. Give us some safer feeling when we work at mturk.

I would like to also mention that there must be some pay standards or average hourly pay system that make requesters to pay fair rate to workers.

Hope you would consider and care for us too.

Looking forward to hear from you.
Thanks and Best,
Chandrashekhar

Bezos account Chandrashekhar
Bezos account M.Anandakumar

Hi sir,
I am anand from India, it is great to work on Mturk because I can work in flexible timings and I am earning $150 per month, it might be less than the other turkers but it means a lot to me and my family.
Please try to provide access to the new account creation in Mturk so that people would get a great chance to earn money.

Thank you,
Sincerely,
M.Anandakumar

Dear Jeff Bezos,
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
I have copied and pasted the comments below for your review about the masters and the default settings that sends requesters hits automatically to the masters. This post is from the turkernation public website. I have not been one of the lucky AMT workers that was "granted" the masters qualification. The work/hits that I am more than qualified to do has decreased significantly and my pay has decreased when the default to the masters was implemented by the AMT team. I know AMT workers personally that was granted the masters and these workers do not have the long term (8 years) of experience that I have on AMT. Nor did they have the high approval rating (99.8%) that I have maintained through out my 8 years on AMT. Over the long term (8 years) I have completed and been approved for over 140,000 hits. Quantity of jobs/hits has very little to do with quality of work unless the number of jobs/hits has been accumulated over many years. Being a AMT worker for 8 + years has allowed me to do a very large variety of hits from many different requesters. After 8 years I still have to fill out the captchas. Only those workers that are granted the masters qualification has the privilege of captcha free hits. I hope that AMT will look into why the system is flawed and strongly consider new policies and implement a better system that works for all parties, e.g. requesters, AMT and the workers. The AMT site has flaws but the site also has good points. The AMT site has given me the opportunity to pay some bills and save for emergencies . I hope that Jeff Bezos and the AMT team can come up with some good ideas and plans for improving the AMT site in 2015. Thank you once again for your time.

Link for your review:http://turkernation.com/showthread.php?14830-mTurk-WebUI-defaults-to-using-Masters-costs-20-extra-how-to-turn-it-OFF Thank you,
Sincerely,
Denise

Bezos account Denise
Bezos account Julie

Hello Mr. Bezos,

I've been turking since April of this year. I find it challenging and infuriating at the same time. I enjoy it and it makes me want to smack my head - sometimes simultaneously.

My name is Julie and I am a 53 year old college educated, veteran, co-owner of a physically demanding business. My husband is older that me and in fact has started collecting Social Security. I started looking for a way to supplement to his Social Security so that we could sell our business to some younger, more energetic people.

I began looking for opportunities for extra money but it seemed that scams were all I could find. Then I heard that my favorite company on the internet, a company I had trusted and purchased from way before I trusted any other internet vendor, had a way that I could make some money. Amazon is the one company on the internet that I have trusted and used for years and years. I had so much respect for Amazon until I started turking.

Amazon's indifference to mTurk boggles my mind. Still in beta after nine years, come on! With even a bit of attention, this could be a money maker and another world changer just like Amazon was many years ago.

You're wasting a great opportunity. The beginnings of a great platform, a need for crowdsourcing in so many areas, and a great contract workforce that's only demand is to be treated fairly await the vision of someone to push it forward and change the world.

Please give Amazon mTurk the attention it needs to become great.

Sincerely,
Julie

Respected Sir,

I am from India.I am really very happy to work in Mturk.com. I have really no words to say. Half of my income comes by working for Mturk.com.
Thanking you,
Yours truly,
Sridhar

Bezos account Sridhar
Bezos account Laura

Mr. Bezos,

I've just begun working on mTurk (2/27/15) but I can tell you that, in my short time working, this is not a living wage by any means, if I lived in a undeveloped country this would be a fantastic source of income but not for someone living in the US. The stark reality is, in the past two weeks, I've earned approximately $0.75 an hour (yes, that's 75 cents/hr), however, that will be reduced by 15.3% when I file my Federal taxes next year (Self Employment Tax), as for my state, I haven't confronted that aspect as of yet.

I'm a married homemaker, mother of three. I have one child heading to college in the Fall, hopefully to MIT, Cornell or Carnegie Mellon, one child in 9th grade, and one child smack in the middle of Middle School. My husband is a Machinist by trade; he's upgraded to CNC Programmer in the past three years but is still very much underpaid for his line of work. I chose to stay home with my children while they were growing up, a much easier decision when we lived in upstate NY (cheaper living) as opposed to where we currently live (better schools but expensive living). We live frugally, our house is about 1,000 sq. ft., I clip coupons, we heat with a woodstove to save on heating oil, we wait for sales, etc.

I know my family is fortunate to have health insurance, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and the choice to live where we want but that doesn't mean I shouldn't also be upset over poor wages, after all, this isn't the 19th century with sweatshops, robber barons, and no unions, although, it seems like it more and more with the richest 1% of the world soon to own 50% of the world's wealth.

One of my greatest fears is not being able to help my children go to college, especially for my oldest child who falls into the Gifted range. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, don't you agree?

Sincerely,
Laura

Mr. Bezos,

When I first started using Mechanical Turk it was because I was unable to work due to mental illness. I was skeptical. I had done surveys in the past and earned basically nothing. As I looked into MTurk more, though, I realized that there is a great community of people behind it.

When starting I was offered some great advice, such as which HITs to do and which to avoid. It is true that there are many that are not worth doing. These are hurting the MTurk economy, in my opinion. I know at least one person who immediately stopped working because the top HIT was tedious and worth only a penny.

I don't think there should be a "minimum wage" per se, though. For example, there is a community on Reddit where people offer links to HITs that pay $0.10 per minute. I tend to do these slower, so effectively I make less then what they would consider "worth it." However, I also make up to $40 on weekdays if I work all afternoon. There is also a community of people who provide ratings to various Requesters.

Providing a service that is completely opt-in is ideal for someone like me who cannot reliably work always. Generally most of my income comes from academic surveys. I think there should be some way to look at those who consistently get poor reviews. Amazon has built in ways to rate its sellers? Why shouldn't MTurk?

More steps should be taken to improve the service as a whole, but even as it is I think it can be a great opportunity for people to make money at their own pace.

-- Andrew

Bezos account Andrew
Bezos account J. Smith

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I am a turker, and at the present time I rely on Amazon Mechanical Turk as my sole source of income. I hold a bachelor's degree, am a conscientious worker and find myself in a situation where I am unable to locate a conventional job. Just because people like myself work from home, this does not mean we are not intelligent, hard working people who deserve to be paid a living wage. There should be some way that turkers can demonstrate their skills and abilities, and that workers who take their turking seriously should be paid wages commensurate with the quality of work they provide.

The Mechanical Turk platform provides a valuable service to requesters, and yet the requesters refuse to pay a fair wage and instead post HITS at slave wages and expect that workers should be grateful to work for less than $1.00 an hour. None of these requesters would ever consider working for a wage that was less than industry standard, and yet that is exactly what is expected of turkers. Paying turkers minimum wage, while still an unfair wage, would at least be an acknowledgement that turkers are actual humans doing work that needs to be done. There is no excuse for requesters paying anything less than minimum wage.

I hope that as you read this, you can understand the plight of the turkers and will help to rectify the situation.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
J. Smith

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I'm a middle-aged woman, helping my family through difficult financial times through Turking. I've read disclosure statements from researches who state that they pay their pool of survey-takers at their university at the rate of $20 an hour.. and they pay MTurk workers $2 an hour. We are human beings, with families and lives to live... we are trying to keep a roof over our heads, and a vehicle to drive, and food on our tables. Just like everyone else. We are intelligent, useful people, with hobbies, interests, friends and family. We are not mindless, nameless, ignorant sloths seated in front of a screen in a basement somewhere, just trying to get money for beer. Please, present our case to your Requesters. Ask them to appreciate our valuable contribution to their research enough to compensate us fairly. Thank you.

Sincerely,
M. B.

Bezos account M. B.
Bezos account A distressed Turker

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I am a Tucker with a MA degree, and I am currently a PhD candidate. I greatly need flexible, extra income. I also am interested in assessments and testing. These are the reasons that I was attracted to becoming a Tucker. I am highly intelligent and a skilled worker who deserves a fair wage. I carefully and meticulously complete every task that I can. I am sure that you are a reasonable man, and I thank you for taking time to evaluate Tuckers' concerns. I ask that you require those who post HITs to pair a fair wage. To not do so truly immoral and arguably illegal. I have loved Amazon, and I ask that you stop taking advantage of desperate workers like myself.

Thank you for your time,
A distressed Turker

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I am a mturk worker that would also like to see fair wages. We are not numbers we are people and want to be treated fairly.

Sincerely,
Liz

Bezos account Liz
Bezos account Jeff A.

I fully support this campaign to increase Turkers' wages, I just do not have the time to write a well thought out letter.

Sincerely,
Jeff A.

Dear Mr. Blezos,

I'm retired and am trying to make my retirement dollars stretch as long as possible. Due to the recession, retirement was forced on me way before I'd intended. Working full time again isn't an option as my mom is having significant medical issues and I'm her primary caregiver. HITs on Mturk give the freedom to make some extra money which helps ensure I won't overdraw my retirement savings and allows me to care for my mom from home. I wish HITs paid more, but I'm okay with the "fair" rate of 0.10/minute. The student surveys have been very reliable and the creativity of the students is often delightful and their HITs can be fun and interesting. Thanks for creating Mturk and I don't feel like I'm in any way in a "sweat shop" or being exploited.

Sincerely,
Peggy

Bezos account Peggy
Bezos account Rodney

Hello Mr. Bezos!

First off, I would like to say that doing Turk HITS actually helps me unwind after a stressful day. I am a member of quite a few different sites that are somewhat similar to M-turk, but unfortunately for them, they are not quite like being an M-turker.

I am a 31 year old man with physical impairments and have to have some way to make some money just to help pay the bills. Sure, I don't work as quick as some other people on your fine site, but the little bits that I bring in still help in some way or another. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I do love being a Turker but it is my opinion that there is room for improvements. I just wish that we (as your mobile and flexible work force) had a little bit more respect as far as the amount of work that some of us do and of course the quality that we try to deliver compared to the pay that we receive for some of the hits that are completed and some of the reasons (if any are given at all) that our hits may be rejected.

If there is any way that this might be improved, it would be greatly appreciated, not only by myself, but also the many other M-turkers that are at the disposal of the requesters.

Thank you for your time and I hope you have a fine day.
Rodney Wiedemer.