LLet’s face it, academic ghost-writing is a trade in a black-market economy. There are no government regulations to worry about and no third-party quality control standards. Because of that, essay-writing companies generally have to police themselves and as a customer, there isn’t much you can do other than count on the honesty of these companies. Unfortunately, the internet is littered with a myriad of self-congratulatory essay-writing company sites claiming that they had hundreds of PhDs and they only hire the best. For a lack of a better name, we could call these shady organizations “essay-mills” because they are fully committed to churning out volumes of essays with little regard for quality or the well-being of the customer.
It is no secret that most essay writing companies hire scarcely competent writers many of whom are in India or haven’t even obtained their Associate’s Degree. Our enterprise is different because over 90% of our clients get a B+ or higher with well over half of them earning As. The testimonials on this page clearly bear testament to this fact and those of you who have used our services can corroborate our claim regarding this matter. We only hire writers with a proven record of performing well in even the most challenging of writing-intensive courses and writers who fail to produce results our clients need are promptly terminated.
How are we different from them? We are a small organization and over 90% of our business comes from returning customers. That is why our rates are considerably below the industry average. As you are probably aware, the average essay-writing company charges well over $25 per page and we’re willing to complete most assignments for under $20.
We have only one website and our marketing campaigns are limited to a small number of craigslist posts. Suffice it to say, the word of mouth is our most reliable way of procuring and retaining customers. Returning customers are the backbone of a long-term success of any enterprise and ours is no exception. The livelihood of our writers depends on your loyalty and that is why quality is always going to be our top priority.
By contrast, the conventional essay-mills have well over ten websites and their prices can start at $25 per page and can hike up to $40 and above per page . All of our writers have worked for essay-mills before and they can attest that such organizations have very few returning customers. They are able to prosper despite this because they do their marketing through massive Search Engine Optimization, they are focused on quantity rather than quality. In other words, they are able to invest thousands of dollars into SEO Marketing and this approach works very well for them because the cheesy images on their sites unfailingly attract hundreds of callow students with minimal experience in this market . In other words, the essay-mill sites have been created with the explicit purpose of exploiting the naivete of the nation’s callow student-body.
The following tips will help you identify and steer clear of essay mills:
1) When you see a website that seems too good to be true, it probably is. For example, if they say they have hundreds of writers with PhDs, they are probably lying. Although there are writers who have PhDs, most of them generally do not work for large essay mills. Such companies generally have seedy reputations and seasoned writers either work alone or work for much more reputable companies.
2) Too many spelling and grammatical mistakes. A significant percentage of essay-writing companies have been founded by writers who reside overseas and have not been educated in an English speaking country. Such writers rarely have the opportunity to employ subcontractors who have college degrees from accredited American or Canadian academic institutions. Although a lot of sites will have subtle stylistic and grammatical errors, an abundance of crude English mistakes should definitely raise some red flags.
3) Avoid a hodgepodge of cheesy and flashy images. Essay-mill sites have been developed with the express purpose of exploiting the impressionability of very young college students. Thus, such sites will have an abundance of flashy images of students with ear to ear smiles wearing graduation gowns and the sites are generally full of overly exuberant, bright colors and flashy images. Serious companies generally have more professional sites with plain colors and the content is easy to follow.
4) When you contact an essay-writing company, ask to speak with an owner, manager or a chief writer. If this person is not going to be available, it is very likely that the site is a scam or the company is a foreign essay-mill. When you start corresponding with that person, pay close attention to how they communicate. If they do not appear to display considerable depth and breadth of knowledge about various academic topics, they are probably a scam. Most legitimate writers have a basic understanding of the theoretical frameworks used in various academic disciplines, a relatively broad range of factual knowledge about these disciplines and can easily prove that they know what they’re talking about.
There is no surefire way to avoid all essay-mills because many of them are operated by scam-artists who earn a living by passing themselves off as legitimate essay-writing companies. However, these tips will help you understand the key differences between essay mills and legitimate essay-writing enterprises. At the very least, you’ll avoid falling for many of the most notorious scams that continue to besmirch the essay-writing business.
Students are being warned that using quick-fix “essay mill” websites puts them at risk of being scammed out of hundreds of pounds, as well as failing their degree if they are caught cheating.
Experts have warned of a spike in websites taking students’ money in exchange for bespoke essays and then disappearing, not delivering work on time, or providing poor quality papers. The National Union of Students (NUS) said they prey on the vulnerabilities and anxieties of students to make money.
There are more than 100 essay-mill websites in operation in the UK, according to a report from the independent university regulator, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). They offer written-to-order essays, charging varying amounts from hundreds to thousands of pounds based on deadline, topic and length.
Sorana Vieru, the NUS vice-president for higher education, said they homed in on “students’ fears that their academic English and their referencing may not be good enough”. She added: “We would urge those who are struggling to seek support through their unions and universities rather than looking to a quick fix, and be aware that using these websites could cost not only money but jeopardise their qualifications.”
The NUS added that it was easy for these sites to “con” students.
Prof Thomas Lancaster, an associate dean at Staffordshire University and one of the UK’s leading experts on cheating, echoed these concerns. “There are horror stories out there about students who have paid for dissertations and essays that haven’t arrived, so they have nothing to hand in,” he said.
Lancaster added: “There are plenty of scams operating in the academic writing space and I’m sure that some people just set up essay writing services with the intention of closing them down without sending an order as soon as the money comes in.”
It comes as hundreds of thousands of students hand in final dissertations and essay projects this month. In the lead up to these deadlines many who have fallen victim to these fake sites have made desperate appeals online.
One student claimed their dissertation was due at the end of the month and the website that had promised to write it had been deactivated. “I had a dissertation purchase and I have lost all my information. The website doesn’t seem to exist and I am on a tough deadline to submit my work by end of this month,” they wrote on an essay scam website.
They added: “The websites are not accessible, neither are the email links they sent going through. I called PayPal, [and] they claim the account still exists. The telephone contact they have as well as what was sent to me as part of their email never goes through. Have these guys rebranded? Or have [I] been banned? Nothing seems to be coming out clear.”
Another student claimed the person they had paid £150 to write a 3,000-word essay for them had disappeared, leaving them with a tight deadline. They asked if any one else could help them, offering £200 but only when the work had been done. “Please contact me ASAP if you think you can help or if you have an offer,” they wrote.
These websites are now in their busiest period, with students handing in final-year projects and dissertations. The Guardian was able to access several dissertation-writing websites, many of which reported seasonal “price surges”. One website, which describes itself as a dissertation-writing service, said a dissertation would cost more this month and offered discounts in June and July. Another global website said it increased prices by 20% in April, but they had now fallen.
British institutions are currently free to set their own plagiarism policies. But the QAA recommended new laws to make it illegal to help students “commit acts of academic dishonesty for financial gain”. They suggested those in breach of this could be punishable with fines of up to £5,000.
Ministers announced a crackdown earlier this year, saying they constituted cheating. But three months on an amendment to the higher education bill to make selling essays illegal did not go through.
The Department for Education was unable to comment due to general election purdah rules. However, they sent a link to a statement released in February demanding universities and students create new sector guidance. They said this was expected to be made available for the beginning of the 2017-18 teaching year.
Simon Bullock of the QAA said: “The QAA is working with universities and student representatives on measures to identify and discourage the use of essay mills.”
Lancaster said students buying essays online were putting themselves in a risky situation as these sites “skirt around the law”. He added that people had “no comeback if what they pay for isn’t delivered or is of poor quality”.
He said he had also heard cases of students purchasing work and being blackmailed by sites. “They have been asked to send more money to avoid having their names handed over to their university.”
A spokesperson for the University of Bristol said: “To avoid any disciplinary procedures or being conned by fake sites, we urge students to seek support from lecturers, personal tutors and wellbeing services if they begin to feel overwhelmed. As a university we work with our students to guide them through the examination period and ensure they leave with the qualifications they have worked so hard towards.”