I’ll make about $700 this month for cleaning up Google’s search engine. And Yahoo’s search engine. And Bing’s.
And the best part? Most of it is done while sitting at home in my pajamas.
What am I doing? Let me explain…
Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. For example, if you type “Steve Gillman” into a Google search box a half-million possibly-relevant web pages will be narrowed down using various criteria until a second later you see my smiling face. You’ll also see links to my personal website, my blog on the Huffington Post, and LinkedIn profiles for a bunch of guys who share my name.
But the search engines don’t always get it right…
They are full of errors, so they need real humans to look at the results and judge them for quality, relevancy, and usefulness.
Then they can take this human input and design better search algorithms, ones that will even know “bieb jail” means the searcher wants to see mug shots of Justin Bieber.
How it works…
The job is called “search engine evaluator.” When I was hired I signed a non-disclosure agreement that limits what I can reveal about the specifics of the work and pay. But a quick search of publicly available information shows that most companies pay workers in these positions between $12 and $15 per hour. You’re hired as an independent contractor, not an employee.
There are also qualifying tests you’ll have to take. I’ve done several of them, and they aren’t too difficult, but they can take a couple hours and you won’t be paid for this time. Some companies also interview you by phone.
Without revealing too much I can tell you some of the good and the bad things workers in these positions have said about the work. I can also tell you what like and dislike about it.
1. You get to work at home. The internet is full of false claims for stay-at-home jobs, but these are real positions that allow you to work in your pajamas if you want to. I love the ten-second commute from bedroom to office in the morning.
2. You can work when you like. Some companies want you to work certain days, but usually you set your own hours and take days off whenever you want. I put in a couple hours when I feel like it and then get back to my writing.
3.You can work a little or a lot. You generally have to work a minimum number of hours per month to stay enrolled, but it isn’t too much. Also, you can work for ten minutes on a task, log out for a break and then work twenty minutes later. I like to put in at least an hour at a time.
4. Many search engine evaluators have said they like the pay. It’s certainly better than minimum wage, and you don’t have any commuting costs.
5. You learn a lot about the world. In the course of doing evaluations I am always discovering things that are new. Recently I learned about American Dingoes (wild dogs in the south) and how to create presentations for free online.
1. There are no job benefits. You are hired as an independent contractor, so you do not get health insurance, vacation pay, or even unemployment coverage. You can be fired for any reason.
2. You have to pay your own taxes. As an independent contractor you’ll be responsible for all taxes. You may have to make quarterly estimated tax payments, and you’ll have to file a Schedule C at tax time. You can probably write off some computer-related supplies as business expenses, but you need to keep track of everything.
3. You have to track your hours. If you don’t keep close track of the hours you work you won’t be paid for them. You’ll login online, but this is just used by the company to check against the hours you submit on your monthly invoice.
4. You’ll probably be paid only once each month. Some workers complain about the slow and infrequent pay. Typically you work for the month, then you submit an invoice, and then you wait several weeks to get paid.
5. The work is hard on the eyes. This is my own complaint and not one I’ve heard from others. Staring at a computer screen can be tiring. I limit my sessions to no more than three hours to avoid the eye strain.
6.The work is irregular. Sometimes there will not be any work for you to do. At the moment there seems to be no shortage of tasks, but lack of work is a common complaint. This is not a full-time regular job.
Where to Find These Jobs
Here are a few companies that hire search engine evaluators. Some of them also have other job offerings that allow you to work at home.
Appen Butler HillI’ve seen nasty things said by former search engine evaluators about the companies for which they worked. But their complaints are almost always related to things they could foresee when they applied. In other words they knew they might only get fifteen hours of work some weeks, and they knew they wouldn’t be paid for training time, yet they complain.
I also recently read a post by a woman who has been very happy working for Leapforce, and she has had the position for four years. If you know what it means to be an independent contractor (tracking your hours, dealing with tax payments), you don’t need to be paid weekly, and you are okay having fewer hours some weeks and more others, this work can be a great way to make some money without leaving the house.