The Reasons Why Amazon Mechanical Turk No Longer Accepts International Turkers
As many of you may have heard, Amazon is not approving international Mturk accounts anymore. In 2012 Amazon put a hold on accepting new worker accounts for a couple of months. When they started accepting new workers again, it was only for workers in the United States.
There are three reasons for this:
Fraud - Amazon was having a difficult time verifying these accounts and a lot of fraud was occurring from outside the United States. Multiple accounts, sweatshops, money transfers and other Amazon TOS violations were occurring on these international accounts. Amazon would close the worker account and then they would simply open a new one. If you want to see some of this fraud, take a look at this forum- Romanian Mturk Forum. Over 300 pages long and 6000 posts. Almost every page of this forum has discussions on how to break Amazon's TOS. It is no longer active forum because of the halts on new international accounts.
Complaints - Requester complaints about the quality of work is the second reason. I personally know quite a few workers outside of the US that are excellent turkers and speak and write English better than many Americans. Because of the constant stream of complaints to Amazon about the poor quality of work from international IP addresses, something had to be done. Since fraudulent workers outside of the US were not required to verify their accounts, they could just make a new account and get back to work under a different user ID.
Blocks - Blocks are a way Amazon to monitor worker accounts, although Amazon does not tell requesters this. When a worker account starts accumulating blocks from requesters, the workers account is suspended and reviewed by someone at Mturk. A requester could block a US worker and over time if that worker is not preforming well, they are removed completely from the worker pool and cannot make a new account. With the international accounts, a worker would simply change IP address and make a new account and set up a click script to automatically cheat HITs until blocked .
Since Americans are verified using Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit cards and addresses, American workers would protect and guard their accounts to ensure they are not suspended. This is NOT to say that international workers do not have a professional work ethic or are all out to cheat the system, it is just an additional restriction on American workers have to ensure that they can never make multiple accounts.
Requesters are starting to take notice of this. The worker pool of cheap labor is getting smaller every day. Some requesters feel it is ethical to pay a worker $1-$2 for an hours worth of work. American workers, for the most part, will not work for this pay. New workers, international workers and naive turkers were the ones completing these tasks. Now, this substandard work is not being completed in a timely fashion anymore.
For instance, CastingWords is now making their own interface because they need these international workers.
So please, people in India, Pakistan and other foreign countries, please stop sending me emails asking me how to get your accounts verified. It is not going to happen. And to all the workers out there, protect your accounts no matter what country you are from.