Thanks for stopping by to check out my Appen review. Worrying about money is not fun. If it keeps you up at night, you're not alone. I've been there too. You may have a medical issue making regular work difficult, or someone you're taking care of and working at home is your best option. Is Appen your solution?
You may have also noticed there’s some cruel reviews about Appen, many calling Appen a scam. So, what’s the deal? Are they a scam?
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Appen. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is Appen?
Appen is a data collection company that uses information (gathered from human interaction) to make machine learning programs act more “human-like”.
They do this through independent contractors (you) and employees who perform tasks online like speaking phrases into a microphone or having you evaluate social media and search engines.
This type of work is great if you need to work from home, but like many online "jobs" they usually don't pay very well. What you need is peace of mind.
The question is... can Appen provide it?
Medical issues may be a challenge... young ones to look after or maybe there's no jobs. It's stressful.
Peace of mind is what you want and although Appen may be one source of income... getting it from multiple sources online is what you need to get what you want.
In addition to these money-making strategies, doing things like online surveys with companies like Survey Junkie are a great way to put some quick cash in your pocket. Swagbucks is another way to make some extra money by doing things online like watching videos, searching, and visiting websites.
How Does Appen Work ?
The information you provide to Appen (spoken phrases, media evaluations, etc.) are fed to artificially intelligent systems to help them become more human.
Machines are getting smarter, but you still have the advantage. When it comes to understanding things like intent and ambiguity, machines need you.
For example… when you open a book, it only takes you a few sentences (maybe only a few words) to recognize the tone and emotion; to understand what the writer is trying to convey. Is it suspenseful... or is it funny?
A machine (or algorithm) sees blocks of text with individual words, but understanding how those words relate to one another and what they are trying to convey is difficult.
Another simple example of where artificial intelligence can get it wrong is...
When you type the word apple into a search engine, do you mean the apple you eat, or the Apple that builds your phone?
So… working for Appen is really about doing things humans do, so that machines can observe and become more human.
Is Appen a Scam?
That’s a good question, and the short answer is no, Appen is not scam.
Important Update: I've been getting quite a few comments and questions about Appen asking for personal information like debts, credit cards, phone bills etc. It seems these requests also come with a claim that Appen provides you with an Apple computer, iPhone and other equipment required to do the job.
You may also be told they're going to deposit funds into your bank account so you can purchase software.
I've spoken with Appen about this and the above requests (and claims) are coming from someone who is not associated with Appen. Here is their official anti-spam statement.
***Official statement from appen***
Appen recruiting will only contact candidates with a verified @appen.com or @connect-mail.appen.com email address and will never ask them for money or gift cards. There is no charge to join Appen. We encourage you to report any messages you receive from unverified accounts as fraud and discontinue the conversation. If you’d like to read more about safety tips for your job search, please visit the Life at Appen blog.
As you know, most face-to-face employers don't give new employees Apple computers, iPhones and cash to buy software. And they certainly don't ask you for personal information such as debts and credit card numbers, so something is obviously going on here.
Whoever is doing this is running a phishing scam and pretending to be from Appen.
If you go to Appen's frequently asked questions page they specifically say you must provide your own equipment.
So, if someone is claiming to be from Appen and promising you thousands of dollars worth of equipment and cash (to purchase software) they are trying to scam you. You can read more about this from others in the comments section below this review and you can also refer to Appen's official statement above.
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Sydney Australia, Appen now operates in 130 countries and employs up to 400,000 work-at-home contractors.
They are a real company, with a real address, and a real CEO.
The flat-out scams you may be thinking of have none of those things. They use fake address', fake CEO's, vague contact information (nothing more than an email).
In most cases they’ll also ask for money up front and make ridiculous claims and promises.
That is not the case with Appen. In fact, Appen holds the top spot in Flexjobs list of Top 100 Companies with Remote Jobs
Having said that, some of the Appen reviews online are… for lack of a better word… disturbing. I’ll discuss those reviews more in a moment, but for now it’s important to be clear that Appen is a real company… not a scam.
So... why are some reviewers calling Appen a scam?
This is where it doesn’t look so good for Appen.
Most of the bad Appen reviews are related to poor support, low pay, and not getting paid at all.
Low pay is one thing, not getting paid at all is another.
There’s no way to validate these complaints, but we can learn a little about the people who are reporting them.
For example, here are a couple negative reviews from Sitejabber.
The first reviewer talks about not getting paid for going back and forth with email.
How would that work?
Would you bill Appen for your time going back and forth with email? Maybe charge them per email?
Do you get paid while waiting for a reply?
I don’t mean to pick on the reviewer, but clearly there is a misunderstanding here.
A lawyer might charge their client for individual emails, phone calls etc. But, as an independent contractor working for Appen, I don’t think you can bill them for email communication.
It's difficult to comment on some of the other complaints.
I've seen it before where a company did not respond to emails, not because they were ignoring the person, but because the person was being abusive or unreasonable in their requests.
It's also possible when people are not getting paid at all, there was quality of work issue.
I'm NOT saying that is the case here, and that these are not legitimate complaints, but it's not fair to discount the positive reviews either.
In many cases, these issues arise because people have a misconception of how the contractor/client relationship works.
Let me explain...
Appen Employee vs. Appen Independent Contractor
An Appen "employee" receives a regular salary and benefits. And... like most traditional “jobs”, they have a manager they report to.
This is different...
What we’re talking about is being an independent contractor for Appen, which in many ways, is the opposite of being an employee.
Doing Appen work at home jobs (or any work at home job) with an “employee mindset” will always lead to frustration, because you are NOT their employee.
As an independent contractor (freelancer), you effectively become your own business. You are selling a service.
Appen is your client, and they are buying a service from YOU, not the other way around. They do not owe you anything other than what they’ve agreed to pay you for your services.
In many cases, contractors claim that "pay" is not enough, but smart work-at-home contractors earn money from multiple sources.
Working With Appen
I’ll meander away from Appen for a moment to give a big business example of this relationship (for anyone who is interested), because succeeding as a freelancer requires the same attitude and understanding.
If a company that manufactures car speakers wants to sell car speakers to Toyota (just as an example), they would have to present Toyota with a proposal (comparable to applying with a resume)... and prove they could meet Toyota's demands for quality, quantity and service.
Toyota would then agree (or disagree) to buy the speakers, and tell the manufacturer how much they would be willing to pay.
The speaker company would then look at Toyota's offer, run their numbers, and decide if it was profitable to take Toyota on as a client.
When dealing with Appen, your application and resume is your proposal. You are telling them these are the services you (your business) are willing to provide.
They accept your proposal (hopefully) and make you an offer.
They might be willing to pay you $40 for what will be approximately 4 hours of your time (just an example). You decide if forty bucks is worth your time… with the understanding that any additional expense (or additional time) is your responsibility, not theirs.
Some jobs might pay well and others won’t but that’s the life of an independent contractor and over time you’ll filter out the bad ones and keep working with the good ones.
My apologies for getting too far off topic, but if you’re reading Appen reviews, you’re probably also reading other work-at-home reviews. And, it’s important to see them through the proper lens of the independent contractor/client relationship.
A lot of negative reviews are legitimate, but many are unfair because the reviewer is judging Appen (and their experience) as an employee…
But, they are not employees...
And, in most cases you won’t get paid for unproductive work… which includes going back and forth with email, training, or taking tests.
Another reason it’s important to think of yourself as a business with clients, is because a business does not have only one client.
If you want to work at home full-time, you need multiple clients.
And, for the record... there are positive Appen reviews out there as well.
Appen Work at Home Jobs
The most common job people are interested in is the social media evaluator position because like surveys, it's a simple way to make money.
Minimum Qualification include:
- Access to a computer (with sound card and speakers), and/or access to a smart phone (less than 3 years old).
- Access to high-speed internet and distraction free (non-public) work environment.
- Strong English writing skills.
- The capability of working with programs and apps, troubleshooting, and following instructions.
- Social Media Evaluators work part-time, up to 20 hours/week.
- The work is flexible and you can work it into your schedule.
- 1-4 hours of work each day for 5-7 days (per week) is common.
An Appen social media evaluator provides feedback on ads, news feeds, and search results.
Other Appen Work at Home Jobs
Most of the work at home jobs offered at Appen have similar qualifications and schedules (as the social media evaluator position).
Crowdsourcing – projects include user experience research, audio transcription, and content evaluation.
Voice Data Collection - reading and recording short phrases into a smartphone app.
Annotator - Semantic mark-up of transcribed text (various languages).
Appen also has higher education jobs for Linguists, Language Engineers and Contract Trainers (below), as well as strict 8-hour Monday to Friday jobs like Helpdesk Specialists
How Much Does Appen Pay?
The hourly rate at Appen varies by job. In general people have reported salaries in the $12-$14 per hour range and depending on where you live, that may be good… or not so good.
There are also some anomalies (for example, $30/hr for a data collector), but at best, these reported examples are just a guide and you won't get rich working for Appen.
Also, as mentioned above, Appen work-at-home positions do not come with benefits (and the salaries reported are before taxes).
If you're not able to get hired for the higher paying jobs, there are other opportunities to making money online.
No job is perfect, and whether it’s a work at home job or regular job, people are going to complain.
You shouldn’t overlook the negative Appen reviews, but you also shouldn’t let them to hold you back from what might turn out to be a great opportunity (and learning experience).
It might feel like your options are limited, and it’s true… finding a job you can do from home isn’t easy.
And it's stressful trying something new and unknown.