Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has just irked a number of people all around the world mainly researchers, by raising the commission for using Mechanical Turk, a little known offering from the retailer.
Mechanical Turk is a platform that lets users assign “human intelligence tasks” to people across the globe. Hence, the platform, being in existence for the last ten years, served as an easy route for users to reach out to the available on-demand workforce.
Some of the tasks that users assigned through Mechanical Turk included finding images of specified things or copying a text from a picture on a business card. Moreover, the platform was widely used by researchers to complete their study by polling large groups of people.
But, the ease and convenience alongside the value for money got disrupted yesterday when Amazon announced a raise in commission for using the service to 20% from 10%. In case the requesters needed more than ten people for a job then they will have to pay an additional commission of 20% over the new rate. The change will become applicable starting July 21, 2015, according to the information.
Move protested by users
As soon as the announcement became public, a line of researchers and other users criticized the move using the hashtag “mturkgate”. The increased commission will mean that researchers will have to either pay more for the same work or have to cut down payments to people completing surveys in order to remain within budget. The drastic increase in the commission pushed academic researchers to ask for a discount or different pricing for academic-based research.
Amazon did not confirm if it will introduce any separate pricing for academic research though. The company responded to the Business Insider stating that the new changes will help it to grow and innovate with its Mechanical Turk marketplace. It added that the change in commission structure is designed to better serve both Requestors and Workers.