Last updated on July 18, 2020
Today’s crisis like the Coronavirus has interrupted many people’s income flow and allowed openmindedness to earn income doing brief hourly stints online. These types of “work from home” jobs come from enormous companies that have sifted aside micro tasks which they expect potential hirees to complete in minutes or hours depending on the quantity. Appen is one example.
Appen is a micro-tasking website, and a publicly traded company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, and they are under the APX Code. Appen is an outsourcing company that connects various clients and agents by providing projects to agents.
Appen envisions contributing to technology companies in providing the people a more diverse product that adheres to their preferences.
Appen provides or improves data used for the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence products. Data types include speech and natural language data, image and video data, text and alphanumeric data and relevance data to improve search and social media engines.
Appen’s customers use machine learning for a variety of use cases including automatic speech recognition (ASR), computer vision, increasing conversions in eCommerce, delivering more meaningful and personalized advertising, enhancing social media feeds or improving customer service capabilities with tools like chatbots and virtual assistants. (According to Wikipedia)
Ways To Earn
Other jobs like Research, Data Entry, and Language Translation explains itself.
There comes a time when there is a special project created for individuals with specific talent sets like Linguistics, Data Science, and Project Management. These positions pay more and can lead to full-time positions. They hire only one or two individuals for these positions, and these positions are available only about every six months. I haven’t encountered one myself. Most likely because the positions fill fast – within hours which is no surprise considering the international appeal of the company.
There are also opportunities for managerial positions in Appen as projects may need a project manager to overlook a specific group of workers and guide those workers into delivering tasks on time. Not meeting deadlines void the tasks and makes the job ineligible for payment.
Also, some jobs may only require applicants from specific countries, depending on what group of people they are searching for.
To earn on this website, you need to qualify for their tasks called projects. Projects are a list of tasks assigned to you either daily, weekly, or monthly. Projects range from Data Collection, Research Language Translation, Data Entry, Transcription and Social Media Evaluation.
Going to the unfamiliar ones, Data Collection requires you to gather up a specific sample or group of people wherein their preferences, hobbies, product buying pattern, etc. are collected and monitored for a week/month or year.
Social Media Evaluation requires you to partake in a Facebook Interests Survey where distinct types of content from their respective media are presented to you and your task is to evaluate this content according to your preferences. These will determine what type of content you see on your timeline or social media profiles.
How long do I need to wait to earn here?
Unlike other micro-tasking websites, you must wait every month to earn your money here. They still pay you, though. It depends on the project you qualify for. Most survey projects take you 30 to 60 minutes before you can finish all the tasks, and the most tough one would be projects requiring specific skill sets. These are projects that require management, linguistics, and even fluency in various languages. If you’re up to it, you can earn just as much as a minimum wage worker makes per month.
How Much Effort Is Needed?
It doesn’t really take a lot of your effort once they accept you for a project because they let you work however you want to. I have been in Project Clover for 10 months now and they are not strict about you finishing your tasks. It isn’t a requirement here to give your all. They have an international pool of people who will pick up the jobs. This is a website solely for side income. Then again, your effort depends on the tasks you get and what type of project you belong to. Projects here range from Search Engine Evaluation, to Language Translation, and then Research, Data Collection, Transcription and Linguistics projects. Not all the jobs here are for everyone’s income expectation.
Compensation for the Projects
When you accomplish the assigned tasks or meet the deadline for your projects, you receive an invoice for each job you took for the month. These invoices include the projects you are working on, the tasks you accomplished, and the hours you worked. In my experience, I have worked as a Social Media Evaluator for a project called Clover and they compensate me $4 a month for a survey that I only need to take once a month.
At the writing of this review, Researchers make about $85 per day. Translators are $3-$6 per hour. Data Collectors make an average of $30 per hour. Social Media Evaluators make $4 a month since this is mostly survey tasks, and Linguists make $17-$19 per hour.
All payments go out on the first week of the next month. Say you finished the tasks for April. You will collect your payment on the first week of May. The reason is that invoices generate manually for each agent. Some projects auto-generate, still there is payment consistency.
Are There Issues Impacting Agents?
Yes. I hate to break it to you but with my experience, there are several note-worthy issues when it comes to opportunities, payment, and the technical sides of the website. This website used to be good.
- Long Wait Times to Get Acceptance on a Project
Really, we are not talking about days or weeks. We are talking months before you get accepted for a project here in Appen. In my own experience, I did get qualified for 2 jobs here in Appen because at the time which was a year ago, people were on-demand and they wanted as many people qualified as possible. I was one of those who was accepted and made around $20 in my first 3 months of working in Appen.
- Unresponsive Project Customer Support
It used to be very responsive. The reason they became so unhelpful with people’s issues was when Appen Connect came into play about projects and their qualifications with their projects. No one bothered to reach out anymore, even me, when I was waiting for acceptance in a translation project. The project was worth $5 per hour, and they were looking for candidates that has a minimum educational background of a High School diploma.
- Your Application Will Not Be Updated If You Are Rejected From the Project
I once applied for a translator project that I was eager to get into. I put in my application details and sent my application to their hiring team and was told that I was qualified for the project. The only thing I needed to do was to wait for them if there were any upcoming projects. I waited 120 days for the project and no one reach out to me.
- Website Layout is Confusing to New Users
You could not determine where to look when finding a job. They have three ways to let you determine if you are eligible for a project. You can indicate your interests in “Projects that I’m qualified for”, “Projects that I’m not qualified for”, or “All Projects”. The sad thing is that when they email you a project and they tell you to look it up in “All Projects”, that project is already gone.
- Referrals Are Often Untrue About The Job They Are Offering You
When people refer others to their website by offering a simple job (let’s say translator), you don’t get the job you clicked the link to. Sometimes they give you projects with different requirements that do not match the job offered to you in the referral link. Sometimes, the projects you can apply for are not even in line with your expertise. You put in your profile as “No experience” in terms of linguistics, yet you get a list of linguistics projects.
- They Don’t Bother About The Number of Duplicate Users on Their Website
This could be an issue for agents because not only will it mess up their logins, but cause job assignment issues.
- Sometimes You Are Not Given Work
Failure to assign work is one of the main issues of this website because of poor employee management. Mostly when they accept you in a new project, they would just give out the tasks and collect the results later on. There is no communication between the clients and the agents. They assign a task as needed. They don’t tell you about the plans for the project or even the breakdown. Then they could terminate you from the project without notice.
- Invoicing became very confusing
Their previous invoice system was much easier because you could withdraw any amount from your account. Recently they changed the rules so that invoice must be a minimum of $5 or else they would not process it. This is a big frustration for projects with auto-generated invoices as this could not be changed. For example, I am in a project called Clover where I take a Facebook Interests survey for 30 minutes and get paid $2 per month. The issue is that their invoicing is auto-generated. You cannot manually add your tasks and rates on a blank invoice, therefore delaying you of your payment until customer support gets to your issue.
These many issues don’t mean that Appen is not legit. These are the difficulties micro-tasks workers are expected to get used to when it comes to these types of websites. I started out using this website to help with my school expenses but it’s definitely hasn’t shown that it can provide the type of income I now need.
It was promising that agents were being assigned tasks and the process worked for some users. This gives those agents assurance that they will be fully compensated when they finish the tasks. A year prior, clients and agents were very communicative. The proposed plans and deliverables by the project manager were properly handed delegated to each agent. Tasks and agents were kept in check and customer support was friendly.
But, I stopped using Appen for a year because it’s not how it used to be. Appen was good for inexperienced people looking for extra income and the tasks were easy. Over the past few months, projects have been declining and most of the jobs now require a degree. This is the case with these companies. They have some tasks or job opportunities because they need the particular help. Depending on your needs, it could be income to get you a book but not likely to pay your other bills during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Better Business Bureau
Complaint Type: Problems with Product/Service
12/17/2019Appen Connect project Dayton; you had to record videos of yourself and up load them. $250 incentive. I did all of the work as requested, but their app would not upload. Constantly turned off. When reactivated, the app would say that all videos were uploaded. I tried to contact their support team, but they took a week to get back, to say that it didn’t work, and to try again (and keep the app on in the background). When I reached out again because it continued to not work, it was another week before a reply, and I was told that it was too late for the project and nothing could be done. When I escalated again through their support, they replied that they could confirm it didn’t work, and it was too late to do anything (also 5 days later).
Better Business Bureau, Inc.
Subject: Response Letter – Complaint
In response to the letter received by our office on December 27, 2019 referencing complaint ID: ********, we would like the opportunity to close this complaint. While we are understanding of the time and effort put forth by those that we consider, we have a clear qualifications process in place for all projects that is necessary for acceptance. This is a universal process and we strive to address nay issues vendors may have in a timely fashion. Please assist in closing this matter. If you need anything further, please let us know.
I am rejecting this response because:
With all due respect, none of what the business stated was shown during this process.Ms K**** states there were clear qualifications, which I met, as I did all of the required work for their study. The point of failure came from their software, which did not upload the information in a timely fashion, displayed confirmation messages that all files had been uploaded, and did perform as advertised.Ms K**** states that they strive to address issues in a timely fashion, which also did not occur. I reached out during the allotted time frame, less than 24 hours after I completed (but apparently, could not submit) the assignment, and tried to confirm my submissions. Appen support was anything but timely, and did not reply for a week, after which there was no time to remedy the situation. When I attempted to follow their support team’s instructions to submit the files, I was unable to follow their instructions because the study was already closed. When I reached out again, it took an additional five days to receive communication again.Every failure along the process involves Appen. Their software did not work. Even their own support teams stated that the app should have been uploading in the background with no additional effort from me, which it clearly did not do. Their service teams did not address anything in a timely fashion.I cannot accept this response, as I cannot allow a company to suggest that this is a proper method of doing business, to blame the customer for their shortcomings.
03/04/2020February 24, 2020
Dear *****,In response to the letter received by our office on February 24, 2020 referencing compliant ID: ********, we would like the opportunity to close this complaint.
We’ve been in contact with this vendor and have agree to pay in FULL for all work completed after our investigation. Payment was issued in FULL on February 20, 2020.
Please assist in closing this matter. If you need anything further, please let us know.
Better Business Bureau:
I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.
Apr 7, 2020
Not sure what the point of Appen is to…
Not sure what the point of Appen is to be honest, except being a massive waste of time. Don’t even bother. I created an account and applied for a few of the jobs that were available. I heard nothing for about two months then finally received an email asking me to qualify for a particular job.
I spent just under an hour taking the exam, passed, and then had an email come through telling me I had been accepted. Great! Time goes by, the job is sitting in my qualified projects but I can’t work it. Apparently I have to wait for another email with a link to start the project. Nothing happens.
Three weeks later I get an email saying thanks for your time, but the project is now full. Apparently I’m off the project even though I qualified and was accepted. I send a message through their ticketing system to get clarification and not surprisingly I get zero response. To add insult to injury, they then start sending me emails every week explaining that the same job is open, but for people with a different accent.
Why would I want to waste my time trying to qualify again for something I already qualified for, for an accent that doesn’t apply to me?
Then out of the blue, I get another email saying I had been accepted on to a different project. Again, I can’t work the job because I have to be emailed a link to access it. It’s been almost three weeks and no link. They say that if you don’t receive a link that you should contact them explaining the situation. So I went on to the internal messaging system, sent another ticket and, you guessed it, zero response.
I have no idea what you are supposed to do here. Nobody responds to your messages. Jobs don’t work. It’s utterly pointless. They clearly don’t care, and neither should you.
Don’t waste your time.
The Good & the Bad
PRO #1: Lots of opportunities for earning
PRO #2: Simple tasks for people looking for side income
PRO #3: Easy to register
CON #1: Website is now poorly managed and does not prioritize relationships with workers
CON #2: Hard to qualify for a project
CON #3: Unresponsive customer support
CON #4: Invoice system is confusing
BBB, December 17, 2019, trustpilot.com/review/appen.com
Matthew, Trustpilot, April 7, 2020, bbb.org/us/wa/kirkland/profile/information-technology-services/appen-1296-1000053526/complaints