Google bans essay writing adverts
Google is to ban adverts for essay writing services - following claims that
plagiarism is threatening the integrity of university degrees.
There have been complaints from universities about students being sold
customised essays on the internet.
The advert ban from the Google search engine has been "warmly welcomed" by
But it has angered essay writing firms which say this will unfairly punish
From next month, Google will no longer take adverts from companies which sell
essays and dissertations - and the internet company has written to advertisers
to tell them about the policy.
Google's forthcoming ban on adverts for "academic paper-writing services and
the sale of pre-written essays, theses, and dissertations" means that essay
websites join a blacklist of "unacceptable content" including adverts for
weapons, prostitution, drugs, tobacco, fake documents and "miracle cures".
The move has been applauded by universities which have struggled with the
problem of students dishonestly submitting material copied from the internet.
"Making life harder for these cynical web 'essay mills' is a step in the
right direction," says Professor Drummond Bone, president of Universities UK.
"We welcome this move. Essay writing sites claim that students pay hundreds
of pounds for model answers - but do not then submit these as their own work. We
all know this claim is absurd."
The universities organisation says that in particular there have been
difficulties with essays bought by students from companies which sell
tailor-made answers, where fees can be up to £5,000 for a single piece of
There have been reports of up to 12,000 essays being sold to students in a
year, says Universities UK.
These essays and assignments can be written by freelance academics or other
students - and it is less easy for plagiarism software used by universities to
detect such work.
Google, commenting on the change, says its advertising policies are
"developed and evaluated based on multiple factors, including legal and cultural
considerations plus user and customer experience".
And a spokesperson said that the advert ban was expected to be applied across
Google's global network.
But one of the UK companies fearing that it will be prevented from
advertising, Essaywriter.co.uk, is angry at the threat to its business - with
80% of its customers coming through Google.
Managing director Matthew Wilson says this will punish the legitimate,
transparent companies, which sell essays, but which warn students that they must
not be used dishonestly.
Mr Wilson says that such a bespoke service, selling tailor-made essays at
short notice, with prices around £70 and upwards, can be used as a guide for
students wanting extra assistance.
Overseas students are frequently customers, he says - but the firm makes
clear that essays should not be passed off as being written by the student.
And he says that such a blanket ban will not stop the search engine from
generating links to rogue essay selling companies, which have been accused of
scamming customers by providing poor quality material.
By Sean Coughlan (BBC News education reporter)
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|Tech News:||Updated: February 2008|