How do I get the best result when outsourcing boring web research and data entry


I am planning to build an outsourced web research/data entry team via Odesk.

In my opinion the job will be pretty boring - it will require researching certain types of websites, copying information onto an excel spreadsheet. This will be a large job and need several people probably over a number of months.

I am considering making the roles part-time (say 4-5 hours a day) rather than full-time (8 hours a day) in the hope that this would make the work more efficient.

Is my thinking correct? And are there any other pitfalls I should be aware of? Does anyone have any tips for the best way of engaging an outsourced team via a freelance site like Odesk?

Thanks in advance, Trish


asked Apr 23 '11 at 07:15
186 points

3 Answers


All types of work may be looked upon as boring and repetitive. All types of work may also be looked upon as challenging and interesting. Using ODesk you do not really need to care of whether the person is motivated by the money or the task itself, and it is difficult to know even if you try asking, so I would not worry about it.

What I would say is that you accept a certain error percentage, and if your review shows that the worker is above this level, then no part of the deliverables are accepted as you cannot trust the rest of the deliverables if some parts of have serious faults. Whether you actually go through with not paying for any part of it is a different issue, but I prefer setting harsh criterias and being soft in the resulting communication, that is far better than the other way around. You also exclude those that are not really interested in doing a good job, if you make harsh requirements.

answered May 1 '11 at 06:23
1,567 points
  • Thanks David. I'll use your advice in setting the criteria. Trish – Trish 13 years ago


Seriously look at Amazon's mturk offering to see if it could work. It takes some presetup, but if you can get your tasks into a spreadsheet and the end result is that the person input something back related to that task, you probably can use them. I used it to have people research the Web to find lyrics related to certain songs when I built my site.

answered May 1 '11 at 14:45
Ho Wi Web
31 points
  • Thanks Ross. I'll check it out. Trish – Trish 13 years ago


What type of data will you be pulling and from what type of websites? there are a number of software packages that will do the work for you with a bit of pre-configuration. look at If you will be using the data in a database like I can only assume you will be you may also want to look at EMS Data Import for MySQL I'm working on a similar project that will require a lot of leg work pulling data of the web, maybe we can bounce a a few ideas around.

answered May 4 '11 at 14:27
1 point

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