Amazon's mechanical Turk service is hard to explain, until you hit on the proper example.
Being in the publishing business myself, the service hit home when Jeff Barr, web services evangelist with Amazon, showed a transcription service that offers to transcribe audio files at insanely competing rates. Simply because it's far less than the rate we currently pay to have large interviews transferred into written text, offers quick service and taps into a vast amount of workers.
The Mechanical Turk service allows you to tasks performed cheaply that you just can't find the time to do yourself. Amazon itself used the service to sort out millions of pictures that it's A9.com service took of storefronts.
If I'd want to manipulate Digg.com, I could offer a few cents for people to digg a certain story, pushing it to the front page.
In a live demonstration here at Linuxworld, Barr created a poll that offered people two cents to answer the multiple choice question: what is Linux? It took only one minute for the first two answers to come in.
The Mechanical Turk challenges you to rethink the way you do business and approach outsourcing. It was first unveiled as a beta last November. The service is scheduled to be launched within the next two months.
What tasks would you outsource for 2 cents if only you had the platform to do it?
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