How can I use Amazon Mechanical Turk outside the U.S.?
July 11, 2008 12:35 AM   Subscribe

How can I use Amazon Mechanical Turk outside the U.S.?

Their FAQ say:
Can international Requesters use Amazon Mechanical Turk to get tasks completed?

Requesters must provide a credit card, debit card, Amazon Payments account or U.S. bank account and a U.S. billing address in order to submit a request for tasks to be completed through the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site.

Is there a simple solution? (I can't transfer my residence or start e complex procedure to open an U.S bank account. Maybe a U.S credit card can be enough, but I don't know how to obtain it and I'm looking for a simpler solution.)

I tried to ask this to Amazon, but they answer me after a lot of time with a pre-made text valid for workers, not for requesters.

If working with AMT is really, really impossible, do you know a similar automated and cheap solution?

posted by Carl Mentor to Work & Money (11 answers total)
I've not used this service, but the major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) are usable internationally. There's usually a charge for currency conversion and a commission on the same, although I think this depends on the card issuer. So if you have one of these credit cards, you should be able to pay Amazon using that.
posted by xchmp at 2:26 AM on July 11, 2008

this might be a grammar question - does the 'and a U.S billing address' belong only with 'U.S. bank account' or does it go with all the other payment methods as well? Have you tried just entering a credit card number?
posted by altolinguistic at 3:32 AM on July 11, 2008

Hmm. Googling for "mechanical turk" international use comes up with this and this both of which suggest that you need a US billing address.

So, the answer is no. You might be able to figure something out with a US P.O. Box and a prepaid credit card, but I'm not sure how you'd go about getting either from outside the US.
posted by xchmp at 4:13 AM on July 11, 2008

xchmp, I regularly use my credit card online to buy in any currency. The problem is Amazon don't wants my credit card (or my residence).

altolinguistic, I found a blog post with an email Amazon sent some months ago:

Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,

You are receiving this email because you registered with Amazon Mechanical Turk as a Requester with an address outside of the United States. We regret to inform you that Amazon Mechanical Turk will no longer support international Requester accounts starting October 1, 2007. On this date your Requester account will be closed. Any money you have earned through Mechanical Turk will still be available through your Worker account, which will be unaffected by the closure of your Requester account.

This remove ambiguity...
posted by Carl Mentor at 4:19 AM on July 11, 2008

xchmp, we found the same sources.

Anyway, it's a very strange behavior. Why Amazon do this?
Maybe a law/fiscal problem...
posted by Carl Mentor at 4:25 AM on July 11, 2008

What you can do is you can answer questions until you have enough money to run requests from your account. That's going to take a little time though most likely. I used to be quite involved as an answerer. Probably earned about 1500 dollars over the year and a bit I was in.
posted by Iteki at 7:45 AM on July 11, 2008

I think it's not a money problem. I can't be a requester without their requisities.
posted by Carl Mentor at 7:57 AM on July 11, 2008

There are many ways to set up a mailing address in the US via forwarding services, I suspect that would be enough to meet the requirements above.

I keep getting asked how can be an MT worker outside the US. Apparently they only pay into US bank accounts or Indian rupees (!?), but won't send checks or make Paypal deposits for workers in Central America or Eastern Europe.... two markets that I know are chock-full of Internet-connected people happy to work for 30 cents an hour.

Don't mean to thread-hijack, but if you folks who have been investigating know anything about this, I'd appreciate your advice.
posted by rokusan at 10:18 AM on July 11, 2008 one can be.... etc.
posted by rokusan at 10:18 AM on July 11, 2008

Anyway, I think the best solution probably is to ask a friend/relative in U.S. to subscribe and using his account.

But it's not a good solution for a long term project, and I don't have good friends or relatives in U.S.

Some solutions related to this new idea?
posted by Carl Mentor at 12:52 AM on July 12, 2008

NEWS: Amazon answered to my new support request:

I'm sorry, but at this time we only allow individuals with a valid U.S. address to participate as Requesters within the Mechanical Turk Program. Since our program is rapidly growing, we expect to expand the address base that we accept to operate as Requesters, but as of this time we do not have an estimate of when this will happen.
We do appreciate your interest in becoming a Requester within our program, please keep in mind that you are still welcome to participate as a worker within our program.

So they planned to open the service...
posted by Carl Mentor at 7:26 AM on July 12, 2008

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