The BBC reported yesterday that Google will shortly be banning paid essay-writing services from their list of advertisers. In addition to their existing ban on "weapons, prostitution, drugs, tobacco, fake documents and "miracle cures". While advertisers have been quick to criticize the ban for punishing legitimate business, educators are obviously far more enthusiastic.
"We [a UK universities group] 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."
According to the article, the group, UK Universities, cites "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 extended work." These essays generally have the advantage of being far harder to detect as plagiarism using existing software and web applications.
The advertisers, on the other hand, claim that many of their students are non-English speakers and use the essays as a guide. Sure, and my students don't cut and paste their reports from Google's top 3 hits either.