Amazon’s Online Sweatshop
Zittrain emphasises the ideas of both the amplification of low paying work and new opportunities for people with niche skill sets to capitalise online (2009). Mechanical Turk utilises Crowdsourcing, a mass collaboration that trusts “the world to do the right thing (Zittrain 2009).” Intense global competition has driven wages so low that people labour for hours on repetitive tasks, turning employment opportunities into online sweatshops (Mittchell 2010). This is fuelled by Timeless time, defined by the use of new technologies in an effort to annihilate time compressing years into seconds (Castells 1999, 405).
It’s these idea of Timeless time and the addictive nature of Mechanical Turk that are constructing digital sweatshops. With 16 years of journalistic experience Mitchell from PCPro tested writing a blurb about an online retailer for $4.25 on Mechanical Turk which took 30 minutes and was rejected as it “didn’t meet standards (2010).”
There are steps being taken to improve Turkers rights by reporting neglectful employers and there is a Turker Bill of Rights (Drysdale 2011). Rates for performing certain tasks meant that Turkers were only making sixty cents an hour (Mittchell 2010). This form of New Media work needs improving as workers are unaware of employers and outcomes of their tasks, samkcb206 explores this issue of ethics further in their blog.
Castells, Manuel. 1999. “Chapter 21: An Introduction to the Information Age.” In The media reader: continuity and transformation.398-410 Edited by Mackay, H and O’Sullivan, T. London: Sage Publications. Accessed April 20, 2012. https://cmd.library.qut.edu.au/KCB201/KCB201_BK_272673.pdf.
Drysdale, Rhea. 2011. “Increase Your Productivity through Crowsourcing.” Rhea Drysdale, January 7.
accessed April 22, 2012. http://outspokenmedia.com/online-marketing/increase-your-productivity-through crowdsourcing/.
Mitchell, Stewart. 2010 “Inside the online sweatshops.” Accessed April 21, 2012. http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/360127/inside-the-online-sweatshops.
Zittrain, Jonathan. 2009. “Jonathan Zittrain: Minds for Sale.” Accessed April 22, 2012.