How microwork helps the world, but does not improve your site’s reputation

Have you heard of the new buzzword in outsourcing: microwork? It’s the act of outsourcing pieces of work over the Internet to those who need jobs, often to disadvantaged youth, women, and refugees in developing countries.

In a few years, microwork is predicted to turn into a global phenomenon. It supports sustainable development and helps people find their income in challenging circumstances. The idea is to empower the poor: “give jobs, not aid”.

Outsourced tasks vary a lot. Microwork was used, for example, in crisis communication during the earthquake catastrophe in Haiti for translating emergency text messages. Other examples are creating digital handicrafts, such as online greeting cards, Google map analysis, and transcriptions.1 In one of the most popular microwork services, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, typical tasks are short translations and finding information on the web.

Unfortunately, microwork can also be misused to manipulate surveys and polls, or to spam. Some use it for buying likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Over the years, we have witnessed several cases where microworkers were hired to rate sites in WOT.

Our tip to site owners who are planning on doing this: Hiring microworkers to rate your website does not improve your site’s reputation.

Why? The WOT rating system is designed to detect manipulation attempts: Each user has to earn the system’s trust before it gives weight to their ratings. The rating behavior in these cases is highly unusual and easy to detect.

Microwork assignment example

An example of a microwork assignment recruiting people to rate a site. Click to enlarge.

WOT tells how much users trust your site, and the best way to improve the rating is to find out what causes the lack of trust and solve the issues. Below some tips that you might find useful.

Tips to improve your site’s reputation

  1. You can reply to comments on the scorecard and request a review on our forum by claiming the site. You can claim your site by following the “Click here if you own this site” link on your site’s scorecard and completing the verification process.
  2. Contact the users who left comments through their boards and ask them to review or explain their comment and rating. Try to find out if there are some issues to be solved.
  3. Ask you friends and customers to rate your site. This means people who really know that your site can be trusted, not people who are paid to do so.

1To learn how microwork can be used well, read this inspiring article Microwork is the new, new buzzword in global outsourcing.

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