Offerpal Uses Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to Provide Online Work for Earning Virtual Currency

Offerpal Media, the virtual currency monetization company best known for its advertising offers in social games, is expanding to let people earn virtual currency through online labor. The service is beginning to launch now.

Any game or other app that uses Offerpal’s offer wall — presumably including Zynga’s monster, FarmVille — will be able to funnel users to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, an online marketplace for “human intelligence tasks.” To get into Offerpal, companies with simple work needs enter jobs into Mechanical Turk.

Here are some examples of job types that it offers:

  • Rating search results
  • Categorizing, proof-reading and moderating web content
  • Answering questions
  • Data cleansing
  • Transcription
  • Tagging photos

From a user’s perspective, you would first click on the option within the offer wall, and then go into Mechanical Turk, where you’ll be able to select from a list of more than 50,000 categorized jobs. When you complete the jobs, you’ll earn Amazon Payments credit, which you can then use to buy the virtual currency — however, this also means that the service only works on offer walls where the developer has opted to use Amazon Payments in the first place.

Another limitation, for now, is that users have to go to Amazon.com, rather than being able to complete the tasks within an iframe in the offer wall.

We caught up with Offerpal’s Matt McAllister today, and he shared a little more about Offerpal’s plans here. He explained that a typical game developer might monetize about 2-3% of users via offers, another 1-4% via direct payments (through a range of mobile and pre-paid card partners), and little more through surveys and shopping. The overall goal is to use Offerpal’s market position to expand the ways that people can pay for virtual goods — the company uses its widely-deployed offer wall as a way for to launch additional services — and Tasks is just the latest example. McAllister tells us the company is aiming to monetize 10-15% percent of users, eventually. Tasks is another step in that direction.

Offerpal’s partnership with Amazon is, in some sense, going up against Crowdflower, a startup that offers an online work marketplace of its own, and has been working with offer provider Gambit since last fall. Crowdflower has developed its own work-sourcing system but it also sources jobs and puts them in to Mechanical Turk (among other places) — so Offerpal is actually using Crowdflower jobs through Amazon.