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?
Or is Appen legit?
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.
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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. Inbox Dollars 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, social media evaluations, etc.) is fed to artificially intelligent systems (A.I.) 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 (but the gap is closing fast in 2023).
For example… when you opened a book, it only took 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?
With human input (and large language models (LLM) like Google's Bard and Open AI's ChatGPT), A.I. in 2023 has that capability.
A machine (or algorithm) use to see blocks of text with individual words, but understanding how those words relate to one another and what they are trying to convey was difficult.
Another simple example of where artificial intelligence used to 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? Appen workers have been essential in helping A.I. understand the difference.
- Appen is a data collection company that helps make machine learning programs more “human-like”. It was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
- A new CEO and President was appointed in February 2023 named Armughan Ahmad.
- They employ independent contractors and employees to perform tasks such as speaking phrases into a microphone and evaluating social media and search engines.
- Appen is a legitimate company, not a scam. It has been a significant employer for remote workers worldwide.
- One reason some call Appen a scam is that they are a popular target for scammers impersonating them.
- Positive reviewers say they like working for Appen and enjoy the flexibility. Also, previous payment issues seem to have been solved in 2023.
- Negative reviews are related to low pay and inconsistent work.
- Appen independent contractors are not employees and do not receive regular salary and benefits.
What Does Appen Do?
So… working for Appen is really about doing things humans do, so that machines can observe and become more human.
Just a few of the things Appen does with your help are…
- Search engine results evaluation
- Cataloging data types such as images, video, audio, text, and multimedia
- Point-to-point navigation verification
- Evaluate ads to ensure content and landing pages are relevant
- Audio, video, and image annotation, transcription, pre-labeling, and classification.
- Text annotation, evaluation, and post-editing
And those of you who have worked remotely at these types have jobs for Appen and similar companies have had a massive impact. Just watch the following video for an idea of how far A.I. has come in 2023.
Is Appen a Legit or a Scam?
That’s a good question, and the short answer is no. Appen is not a scam.
Appen is 100% legit and has been a significant employer for remote workers worldwide. But they've been the target of scammers, which has caused some confusion. The following update explains, and Appen also reached out to with an official statement (see below).
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.
Therefore, whoever is doing (or asking you) this is running a phishing scam and pretending to be from Appen. But they are NOT 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 (at the bottom of this review) and you can also refer to Appen's official statement above.
So, if you find comments or complaints suggesting Appen is not legit, just know that they were founded in 1996 and are 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.
In fact, Appen appointed a new CEO and President in Feb 2023 named Armughan Ahmad.
The flat-out scams you may be thinking of have none of those things. They use fake addresses', fake CEOs, and 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.
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. Although they are legit, does that mean Appen is a good company to work for?
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, which I'll discuss more about in a moment.
First, I'll go over some of Appen's reviews from 2023 which give us an idea how they've evolved over the years.
I have not seen any reviews about payment issues in 2023.
However, In Sept 2022 an Appen Search Engine Evaluator review indicated that there were some issues getting paid. These complaints are far and few between it seems, and Appen employs hundreds of thousands of workers, so it shouldn't be concerning.
Overall, they've seemed to have gotten much better over the years.
Some recent reviews and complaints from Glassdoor do mention some issues, mainly that work availability has been inconsistent and onboarding slow.
However, on a positive note, people generally like working for Appen and enjoy the flexibility.
Again, one of the issues comes down to pay and the employer/independent contractor relationship.
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.
But there are many more jobs that Appen offers.
Before I go over a list of Appen jobs and their unique requirements, the following are common qualifications for most of the jobs Appen provides…
Minimum Qualifications 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 such as web browsers and search tools.
- Basic troubleshooting skills and the ability to follow instructions.
- Ability to work independently with minimal supervision
- Good attention to detail
- Flexibility to learn from changing standards and tasks
- Social Media Evaluators and other remote work is part-time, generally 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.
Job Descriptions and Specific Qualifications
As mentioned, the search engine evaluator is the most popular Appen job. Social media evaluator, which involves providing feedback on ads, news feeds, and search results is also popular.
Below are the common Appen jobs most often posted on job boards, along with current qualifications unique to the position. HOWEVER, not all positions are available at all times, and post-specific qualifications may differ depending on when you're reading this.
Also, I just want to make a quick distinction between data entry and data collection. We get the occasional email asking if we know of any Appen Data Entry jobs, but Appen is not a data entry company.
There are data entry jobs you can do, but what Appen needs from you is generally more than simple data entry.
Data “collection” differs from data entry in that it requires a decision and a specific response from you. For example, you may have to answer multiple-choice questions.
Search Engine Evaluator
Judge ads, evaluate queries, and provide feedback on search products.
Job-specific qualifications – Strong written and spoken fluency in English and Spanish.
Search Ads Evaluator
Contribute data to improve internet-based search results.
Job-specific qualifications – This job often requires that have lived in the United States for a number of years.
Search Engine Rater
Judge ads and provide feedback on search products.
Job-specific qualifications – May require long-term project commitment (10-15 hours minimum/week).
Social Media Content Evaluator
Share thoughts and feelings on various images and social media content to enhance user experience.
Job-specific qualifications – May have to work 10-20 hours per week using a laptop or desktop computer equipped. Google's Chrome browser is preferred.
Math Experts (Current Pilot Project)
Compile and check math word problems for a pilot project.
Job-specific qualifications – Experience in math education and ability to design and explain math word problems.
Web Results Evaluator
Evaluate and analyze content to improve search results accuracy.
Job-specific qualifications – Must be a resident of the United States.
Give feedback on the Avatar feature of Messenger.
Job-specific qualifications – Willingness to create and test a personal animated avatar.
Transcript Data Collector
Share transcripts of voice commands given to smart home speakers.
Job-specific qualifications – Ownership of Google Home smart speaker and/or Amazon Echo.
Voice Evaluation Project
Evaluate the naturalness of machine-generated voices.
Job-specific qualifications – You'll need to be a native English speaker and have a good headset.
Creative Text Contributor
Create “prompt pairs” for an open-domain chatbot.
Job-specific qualifications – Appen will make sure you have strong language skills, creativity, and resourcefulness for this gig.
This is a freelance gig where you submit videos of various actions and activities as per Appen's needs.
Job-specific qualifications – Consent from participants as well consent from the parent or guardian of minor participants.
Certified Web Accessibility Tester
Detect bugs and determine if websites meet accessibility guidelines.
Job-specific qualifications – This is a little more advanced than some of Appen's other jobs. You'll need web accessibility certification and familiarity with WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 guidelines.
Virtual Assistant Validator
Help tune virtual assistants by writing and validating queries.
Job-specific qualifications – Appen often advertises this position's requirements as a fluent speaker of various languages (e.g., Norwegian, Russian) and familiarity with smart assistants.
Contribute voice data to improve voice recognition technology.
Job-specific qualifications – iOS device (iPhone 8 or newer) or Android devices from 2017 or newer are currently required, and the ability to record in a quiet indoor environment.
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 and others listed above).
Some of these jobs include,
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, but some have said they've been paid in the $18 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).
With that said, if you're question is does Appen pay well, there are some suggestions that pay is decreasing, not increasing. One person commented in their review that their pay has dropped in 2023 from $13.75 per hour down to $9.00 per hour.
This is unconfirmed, but it is possible. AI language models have become extremely intelligent this year beating many humans on tests, so it's not out of the question that Appen needs fewer workers to train AI models to be more “human-like”.
They are already eerily human-like.
At the same time, there may be an increase in the number of people who need remote work.
So an oversupply of potential workers and an undersupply of jobs will likely lead to lower wages. That could be the situation we find ourselves in 2023 and beyond. Maybe…
If you're not able to get hired for the higher paying jobs, there are other opportunities to making money online.
There are several alternatives to Appen you might consider. To be clear, Appen is legit and a good company to work for as far as remote goes, but there are also work-at-home jobs and side hustles.
Some of the specific alternatives include,
Who is Appen For?
Appen is for people who want (or need) a flexible, remote work option. This can include stay-at-home parents and people with other dependents.
Those with medical issues who need to work from home are also well-suited to Appen, as are students, part-time workers, and anyone else who wants to earn extra income from home.
No job is perfect, and whether it’s a work-at-home job or a 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.
Depending on your reasons, whether it’s your health, kids, or just a bad economy… if you don’t have financial stability, you'll spend far too many nights lying awake and worrying.
Getting peace of mind is definitely something you want, and earning income online can provide it, but it's not easy. I've been there too… and I can tell you this…
It is possible.
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I hope this Appen review was helpful and if you have any comments or questions, please share in the comments section below.
You can search for Appen jobs here.
If you need to earn a few extra bucks, it might be exactly what you’re looking for. Especially if you combine it with other money-making methods like Survey Junkie and Inbox Dollars or my top recommended strategy.