David Strom has an interesting post on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (which I blogged here). The Turk supplies a way to do menial computer-related jobs (called HITs or Human Intelligence Tasks) that require some kind of human stewardship. Basic tasks can be performed quickly and net you $.02/task (that’s two cents US).
What amazes Mr. Strom is the community that has sprung up around the Turk. He says:
What is really going on here is how Amazon has created this entire cottage industry overnight, with no mainstream media attention, using their lackluster internal PR, and with an assortment of casual developers and other hangers-on. It turns the whole notion of peddling influence on its head. It is an entire subculture, industry, partner program, and developer community that is roaring along, all with just a few devoted souls and a beta collection of tools. Think about that for a moment. What could really be accomplished if more resources were put in place, and people really were serious? What if a real software vendor with a bona-fide developer/partner network like Symantec or Microsoft or Adobe got behind something like this?
The lack of reporting on the Turk is odd. A balloon of excitement floated over the blogosphere for a weekend when I originally posted (November 5), then deflated. As Mr. Strom states, from good old MSM (mainstream media), we hardly heard a peep. A current search at Google News shows some tech site articles but not much more. Yet here’s a startup looking to leverage the Turk as part of their business model.
(Check the Wikipedia article for background on the Turck and some links to the Turk community.)