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Amazon Mechanical Turk Launches New Web-Based Tools That Bring the Power of an On-Demand Workforce to Businesses Worldwide

July 30, 2008

Amazon Web Services LLC (“AWS”), a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), today launched a new set of web-based tools for Amazon Mechanical Turk that make it easy for businesses to use Mechanical Turk to outsource work to an on-demand, scalable workforce via a simple graphical interface–in just a few minutes and without writing any code. The new web-based interface guides business users through the process of designing Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs), publishing up to hundreds of thousands of HITs simultaneously, monitoring worker activity, and retrieving work results. Previously, businesses without software development expertise or who didn’t have software development resources to spare either needed to individually enter and retrieve each HIT (which was time-consuming) or could not leverage Mechanical Turk for the thousands of tasks they needed done. These new web-based tools are now available in addition to the existing set of APIs software developers have been using to integrate Mechanical Turk into their applications. Businesses can take advantage of these new tools by visiting http://www.mturk.com.

“Until today many businesses were unable to take advantage of Mechanical Turk’s on-demand, scalable workforce because they did not have programming skills or their developer resources were committed elsewhere. With these new web-based tools, any business, in just a few minutes, can submit work that requires human intelligence to a workforce of hundreds of thousands workers from over one hundred countries,” said Sharon Chiarella, Vice President of Amazon Mechanical Turk. “This is an opportunity for businesses to get important work done quickly, inexpensively, and with quality.”

In addition to a web-based editor for designing HITs, Amazon Mechanical Turk offers several sample templates to help Requesters get started (Requester is the Mechanical Turk term for users that want to get work done). Sample HIT templates represent best practices from the past two years and cover the most common use cases of Mechanical Turk, such as Image Tagging, Search Relevance, Data Collection, Data Extraction, Surveys, Site Filtering, Image Filtering, Product Comparison, Product Categorization and Data Correction. Each sample HIT template defines the HIT’s look and feel, and allows specification of payment terms and Worker requirements (Worker is the Mechanical Turk term for humans that complete HITs). These sample HIT templates can be used as is or modified to address a different use case.

Once a Requester has designed their HIT template, Requesters can enter each task individually, but most will take advantage of the new bulk-uploading capabilities. The new tools allow Requesters to use spreadsheets they may already be using to manage the new data they are putting in and retrieving from Mechanical Turk (in fact, CSV files can be loaded directly into Mechanical Turk). Once their HITs are published on Mechanical Turk, Requesters can watch the progress of their work being done, download results, and approve or disapprove their completed HITs. This simple and non-technical process allows business analysts and other non-technical professionals to leverage the on-demand, global workforce in Mechanical Turk without any need for software development resources.

“We use Amazon Mechanical Turk for picture moderation and auto-tagging on SnapMyLife, our mobile photo sharing property,” says George Grey from Mobicious, Inc., a company that creates content, services, and applications for mobile phone users. “With Mechanical Turk’s help, we have tripled our business over the previous quarter and found clear cost benefits over in-house or other out-sourcing options. We benefit from high quality work and fast results, with scalable coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which we couldn’t do as effectively without Mechanical Turk. The new tools for loading our HITs in bulk will allow us to add even more work to Mechanical Turk while also saving time.”

“Image tagging is dramatically enhanced by the human element that Amazon Mechanical Turk provides,” said Michael Droz, CEO of Tagcow.com, a provider of image tagging services for consumers and businesses. “Algorithms can identify landscapes or even human faces, but we are decades away from computers being able to recognize a ‘cute baby’ or ‘nineteenth century impressionism.’ Mechanical Turk’s scalable, on-demand workforce provides a rich cultural and emotional depth to our image tags, making the images more easily discoverable through traditional search. This has been instrumental in delivering our high customer satisfaction. The new tools introduced for Mechanical Turk will help us respond more quickly and efficiently when the images coming into our service spikes–virtually anyone in our company can now load thousands of images that need tagging into Mechanical Turk and retrieve the results.”

About Amazon Mechanical Turk

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence. The Mechanical Turk service gives businesses access to a diverse, on-demand, scalable workforce. Developers can access the Mechanical Turk web service to programmatically access this marketplace and leverage this service to build human intelligence directly into their applications.

About Amazon.com

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as books, movies, music & games, digital downloads, electronics & computers, home & garden, toys, kids & baby, grocery, apparel, shoes & jewelry, health & beauty, sports & outdoors, and tools, auto & industrial.

Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Examples of the services offered by Amazon Web Services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Flexible Payments Service (Amazon FPS), and Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, and the Joyo Amazon websites at www.joyo.cn and www.amazon.cn.

As used herein, “Amazon.com,”"we,”"our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, significant amount of indebtedness, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, and subsequent filings.




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