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  1. #1
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    Google bans essay writing adverts

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    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    They'd better start SEOing, and fast!

    Especially this place:
    Quote Originally Posted by article
    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.
    Despite that company's current reliance on AdWords, I think the universities are way too quick to applaud. Desperate students WILL find these companies, be it by AdWords and SERPs, or by whispered referral. Anyone motivated enough to drop up to 7k pounds on an essay is certainly motivated enough to find out who is selling them.

    Google is to ban adverts for essay writing services - following claims that plagiarism is threatening the integrity of university degrees.
    Actually it gives me the creeps that the real value of any important type of degree would be so heavily influenced by whether someone could write an essay
    Last edited by Leader; May 23rd, 2007 at 06:14 AM.

  3. #3
    Ride It Like You Stole It CowgirlUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader

    Actually it gives me the creeps that the real value of any important type of degree would be so heavily influenced by whether someone could write an essay
    I hear that! It always amazed me when we would have new vet grads come to our clinic and shadow for a few days at the amount of things they didn't know.

    One in particular was with me in the lab while I was working and he asked me what I was doing. I explained about stain differentials and asked "What did they teach you in vet school?"

    He said "How to hire techs to do lab work"
    Be the change you want to see in the world ~ Gandhi

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Actually it gives me the creeps that the real value of any important type of degree would be so heavily influenced by whether someone could write an essay
    You don't think that the ability to form a collection of thoughts that leads to a conclusion or a point, generally based on some kind of research or even on opinion, and to be able to convey this in an organized manner is important?

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    Affiliate Network Rep JAmieF's Avatar
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    It looks like it is back to the good old days when you had to know someone in your degree a year above you to get all their assignments
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    You don't think that the ability to form a collection of thoughts that leads to a conclusion or a point, generally based on some kind of research or even on opinion, and to be able to convey this in an organized manner is important?
    LOL.
    Actually I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years some MFA software wins Nobel Literature Prize.

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    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Despite that company's current reliance on AdWords, I think the universities are way too quick to applaud. Desperate students WILL find these companies, be it by AdWords and SERPs, or by whispered referral. Anyone motivated enough to drop up to 7k pounds on an essay is certainly motivated enough to find out who is selling them.
    Bingo! The new regluations might slow some companies down for a while, but people will figure out where to find then somehow. I'm not sure this kind of ban, unless it become a bit broader, will have any effect.
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    Since I draw part of my income from an education-theme web site that I personally operate, this is certainly an interesting development for me. Overall, I actually expect this to HELP my site, not hurt it.

    My site is a directory of "lesson plan" resources for secondary English teachers, but a large subset of my visitors are students.

    I've never linked to sites that sell essays, in part because of my personal ethic and also in part because when I created the site, I had just quit teaching High School English. I do include links to "study guide" resources, which generate a significant portion of the site's income (mostly due to purchases by teachers, not by students).

    The "good news" for me is that by "bumping" these essay sites from advertising, my own AdWords ads will probably get better placement, at least on "content" sites carrying AdSense ads. I don't think I will lose significant revenue from the AdSense ads on my site, but I suppose I'll find out in September (May is the peak month for online sales of essays, and of course all activity on education sites drops off from June through mid-August.)

    Of course, Google's enforcement of its own rules and policies is not very aggressive, so I expect that "essay ads" will continue to appear on Google. In addition, most of the essay-selling web sites will simply remarket their advertising as "study guide" materials, removing the emphasis on "buying term papers" and instead offering "writing help" or "research help."

    During my short career as a teacher, I'd had the sad experience of giving students failing grades because I'd recognized (instantly) when students had downloaded or copied an essay. (Quite honestly, in some cases the student's submission of a copied essay was the first signal all year that the student actually cared about his or her grade. In a few cases, it was clear that the student had copied all or part of another paper because of insecurity or simple expedience. In the end, however, it was plagiarism and cheating, and my policy was to give the student a zero on the assignment AND schedule a parent conference to make certain that the parents were aware of the student's situation.

  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    You don't think that the ability to form a collection of thoughts that leads to a conclusion or a point, generally based on some kind of research or even on opinion, and to be able to convey this in an organized manner is important?
    I wouldn't describe essays so rosily, even though the aspects you mention are involved. That ability says nothing about qualification for particular subjects. I think of essay-writing skill as:
    "The ability to spin a good line about something you know very little or even nothing about, sometimes without advance notice, and therefore get 'A's!"

    Essays got me through many classes. As a student I intentionally looked for essay-intensive classes because I knew they'd be GIVEAWAY "A" GRADES. Essays essentially turned every class I took into "Writing" class. It was the equivalent of turning all your merchants into your best-performing merchant!

    That is NOT to say that I didn't know anything about anything! I'm saying that essays aren't a good way to determine grades.

    Being able to think is, of course, good. But it should take a lot more than "general thinking ability" to qualify someone for a particular subject. Writing/communicating well is important--but that's what the official "writing" classes are there for.

    Rgrsgrl's example is just the kind of outcome I was worried about. That was vet school grads, but the same applies for human-centric doctors. I don't want a doctor whose degree was gained or even majorly influenced by his/her ability to spin a good essay!! Yikes! Yikes! A million times, yikes!

    There are other subjects where knowledge of hard data is important, too. Basically any career which will eventually require the person to "get specific" in order to do things right should have more of a focus on other types of tests.
    Last edited by Leader; May 23rd, 2007 at 08:31 PM.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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