FNPL Podcast Uses Mechanical Turk for Listener Feedback.

June 15, 2006

We weren’t the first to do this.  I believe the folks at Nerdblurb beat us to the punch.  I have to say though that we arrived at the idea independently of them and we are doing it on a larger scope.  The concept is simple:  we’ll pay you 2 cents for your 2 cents.  Mechanical Turk allows you to “hire” people throughout the world to perform tasks for you.  You create HITS – Human Intelligence Tasks and people sign up for them and complete them and respond to you.  We set this up for people to listen to FNPL and then give us comments.  Then we pay them $.02.  Amazon gets 20%.  We set up 4000 hits. 

So far, we’ve had 15 comments.  Here are some of them verbatim:

“Great show, I like the way you guys explain stuff. The WoW story was funny. I used to do some podcasting and vidcasting myself, but I don't have the right equipment to do it. Great job guys, I think I'll keep listening.”

“I was a part of podcasting way back in the beginnings, and I enjoyed doing it for quite a long time. Your show was pretty darn entertaining. I like the feel of it. Very casual and friendly. The sound quality was better than I expected. The only downside was the speed of the download. On my 1.5mb sdsl connection with no other downloads it did take quite a long time. Of course when I subscribe (which I will now), it won't matter much because the download will happen in the middle of the night. Just a heads up. I know you asked for 2 cents, and I think I've given you about 20, so I'll leave you with just this: Stick with it! Keep doing it and I'll keep reviewing it when I can. Things seem to be working well and I look forward to more. P.S. – Skype is sounding better these days, I'll have to check it out again.”

“It was a pretty good show. I felt that perhaps the equipment could be improved, like the mics, but they were still far better than many shows that I have listened to. Overall, I don't think it's the sort of show I would personally listen to, but there is certainly a large audience for such shows and it could probably be successful with a bit more work and tinkering.”

“The promo/bumper music was obviously from garage band– so be careful about that (using loops, i gather?). Episode 11. Decent questions, I would use something that moves a little quicker. There were times when the show really dragged. If you made things a little faster paced and less "morning show" like, it'll be better I think .”

“IF you really want an honest comment, ~25MB download, another hour spent listening, another 15 minutes typing a decent and intelligent comment for 2 cents does not make sense. If I was your regular listener and followed your casts, I may be willing to pay 2 cents for download but as far as HITS go it totally sucks. Just a couple of minutes ago I stopped submitting HITs from another requester and I could complete 200 HITS/hour @ 2 cents. Why would I want to spend time, almost 90 minutes, for 2 cents? I agree the nature of the HIT is interesting but come on, how about 15 cents so one can justify onself to complete the HIT? This is my 2 cents, or tuppence worth as we Brits say. By the way I will listen to episode 7 as it sounds interesting :-)”

People are leaving legitimate comments, so in my mind this is wildly successful for us.  It will both boost our exposure and give us good feedback to help us improve the show.  (I didn’t understand the Garage Band comment though.  Of course we use Garage Band for the music.  That’s what it’s for.)

If you want to try out Mechanical Turk, give our HIT a try and get our $.02 for your $.02.


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