The Top 3 Alternatives to Amazon Mechanical Turk in 2023

Are you considering moving beyond Amazon Mechanical Turk for your crowdsourcing needs? You‘re not alone. Many companies are finding Mechanical Turk to be limited when it comes to data quality, support, and overall value.

The good news is that today, there are some great alternatives to Mechanical Turk that deliver higher-quality results, more insightful analytics, and better overall service.

In this post, we‘ll compare the top three MTurk alternatives available in 2023. I‘ll share key insights after evaluating each platform extensively, so you can make an informed decision on the best platform for your business needs.

Let‘s get started!

Why Consider Alternatives to Mechanical Turk?

First, let‘s recap what makes Amazon Mechanical Turk such a popular crowdsourcing marketplace.

Launched in 2005, Mechanical Turk provides businesses access to an on-demand, global workforce to complete various microtasks online. The types of jobs run the gamut from data annotation to surveys, content moderation, transcription – you name it.

Over the years, Mechanical Turk has been used by companies like Facebook, Google, Snap and more to develop machine learning datasets quickly.

But Mechanical Turk isn’t a perfect solution. Here are some of the key drawbacks and limitations users have experienced:

  • Lower data quality – With a low barrier to entry, workers vary greatly in skills and commitment. Additional validation and quality checks are needed to ensure high-quality data.
  • Limited worker demographics – Most workers are concentrated in the US and India. Accessing native speakers and niche worker groups can be challenging.
  • No skill verification – Qualifications like "Master" have opaque criteria. True skills testing is minimal.
  • 20% commission fees – Amazon takes 20% of fees paid to workers, raising total costs.
  • Communication challenges – Little opportunity to communicate directly with anonymous global workers.
  • Steep learning curve – Amazon‘s platform has an unintuitive interface for requesters.

According to one survey from Gridium, 38% of companies found crowdsourcing via Mechanical Turk to be more difficult than expected.

Many have found it worthwhile to evaluate alternative crowdsourcing marketplaces that can deliver:

  • Higher quality data and workers
  • Increased transparency into worker skills
  • Lower fees and overhead costs
  • Superior collaboration and communication

Next, we‘ll explore the top three leading alternatives to Mechanical Turk available in 2023.

Clickworker – A Leading MTurk Alternative

Clickworker is considered one of the top global crowdsourcing marketplaces and a leading alternative to Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Around since 2005, Clickworker provides access to crowdsourced skills across a variety of categories:

  • Data collection and annotation
  • Surveys and market research
  • Content creation
  • Data processing and entry
  • SEO and web research

Some of the key advantages Clickworker offers compared to Mechanical Turk:

A Much Larger and Diverse Crowd

Clickworker touts a crowd of over 12 million qualified workers across 200+ countries. Workers are fluent in 50+ languages.

In comparison, Mechanical Turk has around 500k workers concentrated primarily in the US and India.

This global reach gives Clickworker an edge accessing specialized worker groups like native speakers and niche demographics.

According to Clickworker, their workforce includes over 80,000 data labelers and linguists available on-demand. This specialization helps ensure higher quality datasets.

Skills Qualifications and Assessments

Unlike Mechanical Turk where worker skills are largely unknown, Clickworker provides proprietary skills assessments across 100+ categories.

Advanced qualifications testing verifies abilities from writing to foreign languages to data entry.

Businesses gain transparency into worker skills upfront instead of playing a guessing game. This aids assigning appropriate tasks to qualified workers.

Lower Commission Fees

Amazon Mechanical Turk imposes hefty commission fees – charging a 20% fee on top of the amount paid to workers. There are also additional fees for tasks with 10+ assignments.

This can significantly increase the total project cost on Mechanical Turk.

By comparison, Clickworker discloses that they charge a lower commission rate while keeping the exact percentage confidential. Their lower overhead costs enable more competitive pricing.

Superior Platform for Requesters

Many users find Mechanical Turk‘s interface and tools unintuitive. Monitoring projects and tracking results can be a major hassle.

Clickworker offers user-friendly dashboards, analytics, and collaboration features purpose-built for requesters. Their platform simplifies management and provides greater visibility.

According to customer reviews, Clickworker‘s platform is far more intuitive with better requester support compared to the complex Mechanical Turk tools.

Based on these advantages, it’s no surprise that Clickworker is considered a top alternative – especially when quality, transparency, diversity, and support are priorities.

If you want to learn more about their specific crowdsourcing capabilities and use cases, check out Clickworker‘s website.

Next up – another popular Mechanical Turk alternative for data annotation and collection…

Appen – Specialized Data Annotation Solutions

Founded in 1996, Appen has over 25 years of experience providing high-quality training data for machine learning and AI systems.

While Appen offers some general crowdsourcing services, they specialize in advanced data annotation and linguistics capabilities such as:

  • Image, video, text and speech annotation
  • Search evaluation and optimization
  • Speech recognition and natural language datasets
  • Product taxonomy and categorization

Appen combines a crowd of over 1 million skilled contractors with AI-assisted annotation tools for efficient dataset creation.

Compared to Mechanical Turk, some of Appen‘s differentiators include:

Advanced Linguistic Vetting

Appen boasts one of the most rigorous recruitment and vetting processes in the industry – including fluency assessments, educational checks, and more.

Their workforce includes linguists, translators, language instructors, and teachers covering 180 languages.

For tasks involving subtle linguistic nuances, Appen‘s highly qualified crowd is a major asset compared to Mechanical Turk‘s unknown labor pool.

End-to-End Quality Assurance

Appen utilizes multi-stage quality assurance workflows to validate data quality throughout the process. Their proprietary tools combine AI, machine learning, and expert humans-in-the-loop.

For clients like Google, this rigorous methodology ensures consistently high-quality training data.

Appen also complies with security standards like ISO 9001, reflecting their enterprise-grade approach.

Secure Managed Crowdsourcing

For sensitive client data, Appen provides secure private crowd options and managed services. Their global panel of qualified linguists can be fully provisioned within clients‘ own infrastructure.

This brings Appen‘s advantages on-premise for increased confidentiality assurance.

Appen‘s advanced data annotation solutions make them a preferred choice for enterprises, especially when precision linguistics and security are required.

To learn more about Appen‘s specialized machine learning as a service offerings, explore their website.

Now let‘s look at the third leading alternative to MTurk for enterprise-grade data solutions…

Telus International AI – Secure Data for the Enterprise

Telus International AI caters to large multinational companies needing privacy, security, compliance, and specialized expertise around AI data.

They provide end-to-end data annotation and model development pipelines tailored to each client‘s needs – from data collection to model deployment.

Some of their differentiating services and capabilities include:

Governance and risk management

Telus follows rigorous infosec policies and practices compliant with ISO 27001. Their in-house risk managers perform privacy impact assessments and data risk analysis.

For industries like Financial Services and Healthcare with extensive regulations, these enterprise-grade controls provide the needed compliance assurance.

Private bespoke data environments

Telus offers multiple deployment models for crowdsourced data annotation, including private on-premise environments within a client‘s own data center.

For sensitive datasets, this allows precision data labeling behind a client‘s own firewall avoiding cloud exposure.

Data science consulting

Telus combines expert data scientists and machine learning engineers with their managed data annotation services.

This consulting-led approach brings end-to-end model development support – from designing the optimal training dataset to tuning for maximum accuracy.

For organizations lacking robust internal data science teams, Telus provides turnkey AI enablement.

While smaller in scale than Clickworker and Appen, Telus International AI focuses on delivering secure, compliant, high-accuracy training data tailored to complex organizational needs – differentiating them in the enterprise market.

For regulated industries and large enterprises, Telus International AI offers a compelling precision data solution.

Key Differences at a Glance

Now that we’ve compared the capabilities of the leading alternatives, let’s recap the key differences between them:

ClickworkerAppenTelus International AI
Ideal ForGeneral business crowdsourcingAdvance data annotationEnterprise data services
Key StrengthLarge general crowdLinguistics and qualitySecurity and compliance
Crowd Size12M+1M+Undisclosed
Worker VettingSkills testingAdvanced linguisticsCustom per client
Geographies200+ countriesGlobal panelUndisclosed
Pricing ApproachPay for work completedPackages and volume plansConsulting model – custom quote

This comparison just scratches the surface of how these Mechanical Turk alternatives differ. But it summarizes some of the key strengths of each for common use cases.

No platform is one size fits all. Choosing the right crowdsourcing partner depends heavily on your needs.

Next we‘ll go through a checklist of factors to consider when selecting a Mechanical Turk alternative.

How to Select the Right Crowdsourcing Platform

The ideal alternative to Mechanical Turk depends on your specific requirements, budget, use cases, and more.

Here are some key factors to evaluate when selecting a platform:

Data Quality Assurance

  • What validations ensure high quality data?
  • How are worker skills and abilities measured?
  • Do they offer specialized raters or niche demographics?

Security and Compliance

  • What data protection standards do they meet? (ISO, SOC2, etc)
  • Can data be kept fully in-house?
  • How is data access controlled?

Pricing Model

  • What is their pricing approach? (Per task, volume tiers, etc)
  • How much do they charge in platform fees?
  • Is budget predictability important?

Platform Capabilities

  • Do they offer dashboards, analytics, APIs as needed?
  • How easy is the platform to use and integrate with?
  • Can tasks be assigned, monitored, validated easily?

Support Level

  • How responsive is their account management?
  • Is there consulting help for complex projects?
  • Can they meet geographic or legal needs?

Ethical Standards

  • Do they follow ethical sourcing and labor practices?
  • What measures combat bias and promote diversity?
  • Do they hold any professional certifications?

Evaluating alternatives against these criteria will help reveal the right crowdsourcing provider for your needs.

Some initial consultation calls can provide added clarity before committing. Don‘t be afraid to get proposals from multiple vendors.

Should You Make the Switch from Mechanical Turk?

Hopefully this comparison has shown that viable alternatives beyond Mechanical Turk exist today – each with unique strengths and advantages.

But should you abandon Mechanical Turk outright?

The answer depends on your specific needs:

  • For ultra high volume, basic microtasks, Mechanical Turk retains a cost advantage. Their sheer scale is hard to rival for large batch jobs.
  • If your projects require specialized skills, quality assurance, security standards, or consulting support – an alternative like Clickworker or Appen may be preferable.
  • For complex enterprise use cases under regulatory scrutiny – purpose-built solutions like Telus International AI deliver precision services.

Many adopt a hybrid model using Mechanical Turk for speed and scale while leveraging specialized alternatives for quality-sensitive tasks.

If your current crowdsourcing efforts have been underwhelming, take the time to evaluate other leading platforms. Prioritizing your "must haves" around quality, security, and service experience will reveal whether an alternative is advantageous.

With crowdsourcing now powering everything from AI to autonomous vehicles, selecting the right partner is more important than ever.

Hopefully this guide provides a helpful starting point for identifying the ideal platform for your needs. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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