Thursday, July 06, 2017

Essay-writing services fraught with problems

There has been a proliferation of essay- and dissertation-writing services on the web in recent years, and there at now quite literally hundreds of them, with names like,,, etc, etc. I have even advertised some of them in an inconspicuous way on some of my own websites, as they were offering quite good money and they seem to be very light on demands and requirements.
That in itself maybe should have alerted me that something is not quite right. Athough at first blush many paper-writing services do seem to be legitimate and fulfilling a genuine academic function (and I do sympathize to some extent - student life today seems way harder than it was in my time), a bit of research has revealed that perhaps I might have been a little more discerning in my choice of advertising partners.
The problem is that not all essay-writing services are created equal. You might argue that paying for someone else to write your essays for you is just plain cheating, and from a purely moral point of view you would definitely have a point. At best, you might say, it is sheer laziness. But even if you do accept that such a service has a moral right to ply its trade, there is a huge range of quality in providers, and no real way to tell in advance which is good and which not so much.
Many such essays are actually well-written (apparently, many are written by teachers and college professors, which is a bit strange and perhaps a whole other blog subject in itself), but you can never be sure of this, and many of the heart-felt reviews you read on a particular website may not actually even be real. Because thet are custom-written, these kinds of essays do not get picked up by automated plagiarism-checkers, and, depending on your definition, they may not actually be plagiarism. They can certainly save today's stressed and over-worked students a whack of time (for a price!), and they may even help the student understand the subject and how a good essay should be structured and presented.
Some of these services, though, appear to be just plain scams. There are scams throughout the internet of course, in all sectors and areas, but there are now whole websites devoted to outing scams in the essay-writing sector (and it is rumoured some of THOSE sites may even be scams!) Many people have paid good money, and then not received the service, or the quality of service, they expected. Caveat emptor, as always, you might say, but the caveat seems to apply disproportionately in this particular sector.
Setting that aside, a good professor or teacher may pick up on the fact that your essay is in a quite different style than your usual work, alerting them to the likelihood that you have availed yourself of some kind of professional service. You may be able to commission an essay and then just reference it as a source in an essay that you write yourself, although different institutions have different views on that particular ploy. The bottom line is: if you are found out, you may wave goodbye to your course, and possibly even your whole college career, and that is worth some serious consideration.
Anyway, I am thinking that I will probably not be renewing those essay-writing ads on my won websites when renewal time comes up. Several of my websites are routinely used as essay and project sources for students, and I should probably not be encouraging these students to cheat. Because, make no mistake, that's really what it is.

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