Toloka's Three Muskateers: Stories from Around the Globe

by Toloka Team on May 27th, 2021
social media monitoring


Tolokers hail from all over the globe, from a multitude of age groups and occupations. We already introduced you to some of them a while back. This time, we have three personal stories to share from Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

We love learning about ambitious Tolokers and finding out why individuals join Toloka. As it turns out, some use Toloka as a stepping stone to their professional goals, like Damaris, a smiley 20-something South American who splits her time between earning a Master’s degree and managing a store. Some have decided to get on the “crowdsource express” after seeing its full potential in the context of the AI boom, like Nguyen Diep, an active businessman from Vietnam. Yet others are earning money to help with expenses while they’re getting a degree, like Alfred from Nigeria. Our three contributors agreed to sit down for a talk to explain what attracted them to crowdsourcing in general and Toloka in particular, and what exactly they get out of being Tolokers.


Please tell us about yourself

Damaris: My name is Damaris Elizabeth Briones, I’m 24 years old, and I come from Argentina. I’m in the middle of earning a university degree, and I also manage a computer repair shop — in addition to being a dedicated Toloker, naturally.

Nguyen Diep: My name is Nguyen Quang Diep, I’m 40 years old, and I’m from Vietnam. I’ve been focused on business for quite a while. I’m basically attracted to any industry that can get me cash. These days it’s IT.

Alfred: My name is Alfred Mathias, I’m 19 years old, and I’m from Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, where I’ve recently started college. I’m a big tech enthusiast, and for the past several months I’ve also been a Toloker.


How did you find out about Toloka and why did you decide to join?

Damaris: I was looking for a part-time job to moderate online content or do something related to website management and telecommunications, because this is what I want to pursue professionally in the future. When I found Toloka, I knew that it was the perfect fit because of Toloka’s involvement in content research and data labeling. I immediately discovered that I liked the topics of the tasks, how easy the tasks are, and how quickly they can be completed. That and how the whole platform is organized.

Nguyen Diep: Before Toloka, I did some crowdsourcing and web surveys on other platforms. What attracted me to Toloka is its reliability, and also the fact that the tasks are thought-provoking and even educational. I was genuinely surprised that what Toloka was offering was so different, particularly when compared to what else is available out there, which is often extremely boring, to be honest.

Alfred: A good friend of mine told me about Toloka. What caught my attention is the fact that — unlike many other crowdsourcing platforms — Toloka doesn’t make you put up any money upfront to join. And what’s more, the service is totally transparent, without any hidden fees or other unpleasant surprises: you get paid precisely for the work that you’ve done, and always on time.


When did you start doing your first tasks?

Damaris: In the beginning of last year.

Nguyen Diep: I’ve been involved in crowdsourcing for over 6 years now, and the last 3 years I’ve devoted most of my time to Toloka.

Alfred: I joined Toloka in December of last year and haven’t looked back since. So far, so good!

What types of tasks do you prefer and why?

Damaris: Obviously, I prefer the tasks that pay better. But aside from price, I really like to classify pictures, posts on social media, and articles. I also enjoy classifying web searches, in both English and Spanish.

Nguyen Diep: I do many different data labeling tasks for Toloka, but I particularly enjoy hands-on field tasks and surveys, because they give me a reason to go somewhere. I like to be able to explore a specific industry or work environment, be it a supermarket, taxi company, or delivery service. On the other hand, I like to be able to express my opinion and provide useful feedback.

Alfred: There are a number of them, but I prefer mainly voice annotation tasks. To me, those are quite engaging, which makes the whole process easy and enjoyable. I don’t mind them at all. I’d also like to do more website optimization and robot voice tasks in the future. The latter, in particular, pushes the envelope of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence development. I find it very exciting.

How often do you work and how do you spend the money you earn with Toloka?

Damaris: I try to put in at least a couple of hours daily. Provided I keep up the pace, I end up with quite a bit in my pocket at the end of every month, which I use in any way I like, really.

Nguyen Diep: I prefer to work at a leisurely pace, approximately 60 to 90 minutes a day. Sometimes more if I have more free time on my hands, or I feel like making a bit more money. I spend what I earn mainly on gas and medication for my parents, as well as groceries, coffee, and clean water.

Alfred: This is another beautiful thing: I don’t spend more than 1 hour every day, sometimes even less. Given the benefits I get out of it, I think this isn’t a great deal of effort on my part, as it doesn’t eat up a lot of my free time. How much I make varies depending on how busy I am at college and how many tasks I can handle. And also the task price, of course. The money I earn is a nice addition towards my living expenses: I can easily cover some of my basic needs with it and also have enough left over for my education (textbooks, stationery, administrative fees, etc).

How often do you work and how do you spend the money you earn with Toloka?

Damaris: I try to put in at least a couple of hours daily. Provided I keep up the pace, I end up with quite a bit in my pocket at the end of every month, which I use in any way I like, really.

Nguyen Diep: I prefer to work at a leisurely pace, approximately 60 to 90 minutes a day. Sometimes more if I have more free time on my hands, or I feel like making a bit more money. I spend what I earn mainly on gas and medication for my parents, as well as groceries, coffee, and clean water.

Alfred: This is another beautiful thing: I don’t spend more than 1 hour every day, sometimes even less. Given the benefits I get out of it, I think this isn’t a great deal of effort on my part, as it doesn’t eat up a lot of my free time. How much I make varies depending on how busy I am at college and how many tasks I can handle. And also the task price, of course. The money I earn is a nice addition towards my living expenses: I can easily cover some of my basic needs with it and also have enough left over for my education (textbooks, stationery, administrative fees, etc).

What do you like about Toloka (other than making money)?

Damaris: I like that it fits in nicely with my lifestyle and goes hand in hand with what I’m already doing. It doesn’t take away from my job, and it doesn’t interfere with my university studies — on the contrary, it teaches me relevant skills, and all in all, keeps me on my toes professionally.

Nguyen Diep: In addition to having a supplementary income, I really enjoy getting to express my views on the world around us, which I often don’t get to do in my main business. I also learn useful things every day, an opportunity that would have been lost otherwise. And I appreciate that taking out my earnings is super easy and straightforward with Toloka.

Alfred: I really like that Toloka has no withdrawal limit, so it means I’m free to do whatever I like with the money I make, which is a big deal as far as I’m concerned. Also, it’s nice to feel that I’m contributing to a greater goal, and my efforts have a real purpose in the grand scheme of things.

What are the advantages of being a data labeler?

Damaris: I think it’s fun. It’s even more fun knowing that you get paid for it. Also, it’s a great way to stay up to date and even ahead of the curve in many regards as far as the latest technology goes. And, of course, it’s very fulfilling to know that you’re helping people and improving future user experiences on the web and with electronics in general.

Nguyen Diep: Being able to practice memory skills and develop mental agility, training listening and spelling skills, and also acquiring valuable tech knowledge in the process.

Alfred: For me, it’s mainly about convenience. I can do tasks whenever and as much as I want to. I can choose whatever tasks I prefer. And, importantly, I can access tasks anytime from anywhere.


What would you tell someone who is thinking about trying Toloka?

Damaris: Toloka is a great way to learn about the Internet and have an easy and flexible part-time job that brings in regular cash. If you like working with websites, no matter your preferred device, you can find something suitable with Toloka. It’s also a great way to rapidly acquire new skills and increase your own value on the market.

Nguyen Diep: I’d say definitely go ahead and try, but always remain diligent and honest. I never slack off and always complete all tasks on my own, to the best of my abilities, and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Alfred: Give it a shot! Toloka is not just an empty promise. It is a truly dependable crowdsourcing service, and if you put in some time, you will get paid fair and square for your efforts, no questions asked. Which tasks you tackle and how much you earn is entirely up to you.

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Thu May 27 2021 14:33:48 GMT+0300 (Moscow Standard Time)