A Brief History
Amazon Mechanical Turk launched publicly in 2005 as Earth's first crowdsourcing platform for microtasks. These are small jobs that are often extraordinarily difficult for computers, but simple for humans to answer. Completing these jobs at scale helps solve a range of problems including categorization, moderation, sentiment analysis, data de-duplication, and tagging. As an example, in order to classify storefronts for a mapping application, a task might ask, "Is there a pizza parlor in this photograph?" This helps improve the accuracy of the map. In a typical week, millions of tasks are processed via the Mechanical Turk marketplace, and Requester customers, such as Twitter, Gilt, Acxiom, and comScore have all taken advantage of Mechanical Turk to get work done. This is made possible by the efforts of over a million Workers around the world that power Mechanical Turk.
Since launch, Mechanical Turk has helped solve a range of data processing, analysis, and moderation tasks. But it hasn't stopped there. Workers have helped search and rescue operations, translated books in unique ways, trained robots to make coffee, and collaborated to create new types of art and music. We continue to be amazed with the novel, innovative ways our Requesters use Mechanical Turk.
Growing the Value of the Mechanical Turk Marketplace
To make it easier for Requesters to leverage the power of Mechanical Turk, we enhanced Qualifications to give Requesters additional flexibility to qualify Workers and help match work with a Worker's location. We also collaborated with other Amazon teams to launch Mechanical Turk's first-ever smartphone based HITs to let Workers earn money by taking pictures of specific products. And earlier this year, we enabled Workers in India to disburse their earnings to a local bank account in Rupees, giving Workers a more convenient and faster way to get paid. We're grateful for the continued contributions from our Worker customers and innovations from our Requesters, and feel there is even more we can do together to build on the success of this marketplace.
Examining our Commission Structure
To continue growing Mechanical Turk, we are analyzing possible changes to our commission structure for Requesters. These changes would be intended to allow us to increase our investment in the marketplace and bring future innovation to Mechanical Turk that will benefit both Requesters and Workers. Mechanical Turk has not changed its commission structure since launch in 2005. As part of this, we are considering changing our base commission to somewhere between 20% and 35%. Today, our base commission is 10%. We will share the outcome of this analysis in June.
The journey to this point has been exciting, innovative, and fun. Looking ahead, we will continue to innovate on behalf of our Requester and Worker customers. For Workers, this means making it even easier to find and discover work that matches their skills and interests. For Requesters, this includes improving the process of purchasing prepaid HITs and making it even easier to get high-quality work done at scale. We will continue to invest in growing the Mechanical Turk marketplace overall, benefitting both Requesters and Workers. The entire Mechanical Turk team looks forward to the next ten years of growth and invention.