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1#contractcheating
Contract Cheating And The Essay
Writing Industry
Where Does The Money Go?
Presented by Dr. Thomas Lanca...
2#contractcheating
Exploring Academic
Ghostwriting, Essay Mills and
Thriving Marketing
Campaigns
3#contractcheating
Contract Cheating – Defined Through
Examples
4#contractcheating
5#contractcheating
My Background And Credibility
By trade and enthusiasm, a Computer Science educator and
student experien...
6#contractcheating
http://www.slideshare.net/ThomasLancaster
http://thomaslancaster.co.uk/blog
https://www.youtube.com/use...
7#contractcheating
Your Involvement Is Much Encouraged!
Twitter Please tweet observations, comments,
quotes, photos, discu...
8#contractcheating
Today’s Presentation
A work in progress!
Not an attempt to repeat the last 10 years of contract cheatin...
9#contractcheating
A Recent UK Development –
The Quality Assurance Agency
10#contractcheating
Three Main Recommendations
• “Universities, colleges and sector
organisations should work in partnersh...
11#contractcheating
Times Higher Education Report
“Thomas Lancaster, associate head of the School of
Computing, Electronic...
12#contractcheating
Mixed External Reaction
13#contractcheating
Does money to research
contract cheating and to find
solutions to this problem?
14#contractcheating
How Big Is The Essay Industry?
15#contractcheating
It Was Already Substantial In 2006
“Our turnover for 2005 was £1.6m. In one week in early May
we took ...
16#contractcheating
Recent Figures Have Become Yet More
Substantial
Annual revenues
above $100 million
Owings, S. and Nels...
17#contractcheating
Contract Cheating Marketing
Techniques
18#contractcheating
Assignment Service Marketing Funnel
New Student Lead Collected By
Assignment Production Service
Studen...
19#contractcheating
Exploring Four Sites Found In
Google
20#contractcheating
Paid Advertising
(Google AdWords)
21#contractcheating
The Paid Advertising Route
22#contractcheating
The First 4
Paid
Advertisers
on Google
23#contractcheating
Lead Capture And
Discounts
24#contractcheating
Live(?) Chat
25#contractcheating
Convincing
Testimonials
26#contractcheating
Video Testimonials
27#contractcheating
Sample Pricing
28#contractcheating
Assignment Site Revenue And
Associated Worker Pay
29#contractcheating
International Writers Can Be Salaried
“Workers are employed on salaries of 45,000 rupees (£324) a
mont...
30#contractcheating
Essay Mill Aimed At Chinese Students In
The UK
Students in the UK pay essay companies £100 to
£300 per...
31#contractcheating
http://www.thebestschools.org/resources/ghostwriting-business-
trade-standards-practices-secrets/
32#contractcheating
Standard Pay Scales
EssayWriters.net
33#contractcheating
Work Available In Major Essay Mills
Uvocorp Writerbay
34#contractcheating
Alternative Promotion
Through Social Media
35#contractcheating
36#contractcheating
A Recent
Promotional Post
37#contractcheating
38#contractcheating
39#contractcheating
Recent Projects for Marklai
40#contractcheating
Tracking Information
Available About A Well-
Known Assignment Production
Service
41#contractcheating
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ukessays.com
What Information Is Available About The
Market Leader?
42#contractcheating
43#contractcheating
There Is Demand For “Highly
Paid” Writing Accounts
44#contractcheating
Whole online
communities exist to
help people to
become “academic
writers”
This enables them to
work i...
45#contractcheating
https://www.damongo.com/Business/92/buy-registered-academic-writing-accounts
46#contractcheating
A Lucrative Business Venture?
“Serious writers could make up to
$1,000 per week while others would
app...
47#contractcheating
Or, You Can Set Up Your Own
Business…
48#contractcheating
http://essaylancers.com/
Connect To Individual Writers
49#contractcheating
https://wordpress.org/plugins/academic-writing-ordering-system
WordPress Plugin
Easily Operate Your Ow...
50#contractcheating
What The Customer Sees What The Writers See
51#contractcheating
Customer Referrals Are
Another Viable Business
52#contractcheating
Referral Options At EssayPartner
Choice of
$21 per order
or
16%-25% per order
$100 for every new affil...
53#contractcheating
Russian Affiliate Programme
(Writing Provided in English)
Essay affiliate program: 75% of each new ord...
54#contractcheating
The Available Options Create
Possibilities
55#contractcheating
New Business Models Are Emerging In The
Contract Cheating Field
Services offering multiple sites
aimed...
56#contractcheating
The Financial Flows Can Get Complex…
1
• Affiliate bids for essay traffic on Google AdWords sent to a ...
57#contractcheating
Everyone Gets Their Cut!
And this is just one of many
assignment site models to be
considered!
Student...
58#contractcheating
Does an understanding of how
essay sites develop and serve their
market help the sector to address
the...
59#contractcheating
More Resources Of Interest…
60#contractcheating
References For My Main Contract
Cheating Publications
Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2015), Contract Ch...
61#contractcheating
Upcoming Engagement
Thursday October 13, 2016
Curtin University, Australia
https://registrar.curtin.ed...
62#contractcheating
Speaker Bookings and Further Information
Dr. Thomas Lancaster Contact Details
Email: thomas.lancaster@...
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Contract Cheating And The Essay Writing Industry - Where Does The Money Go - International Center For Academic Integrity Inaugural Mediterannean Conference - Athens, Greece - 8 September 2016

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The essay industry is a booming business, with annual profits valued in the millions. The marketing flows behind the essay industry are complex. As well as writing staff to pay, there are advertisers, affiliates, student referral commissions and more. The whole essay writing service business is supported by ready-made websites, prepared writing services, tried-and-tested business models and hearty profits. The slides from this talk from the ICAI conference expand upon the research base into contract cheating and help to demonstrate why this thriving industry is so difficult to shut down.

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Contract Cheating And The Essay Writing Industry - Where Does The Money Go - International Center For Academic Integrity Inaugural Mediterannean Conference - Athens, Greece - 8 September 2016

  1. 1. 1#contractcheating Contract Cheating And The Essay Writing Industry Where Does The Money Go? Presented by Dr. Thomas Lancaster at ICAI Inaugural Mediterranean Conference, Athens, Greece on Thursday, 8 September 2016 http://thomaslancaster.co.uk @DrLancaster
  2. 2. 2#contractcheating Exploring Academic Ghostwriting, Essay Mills and Thriving Marketing Campaigns
  3. 3. 3#contractcheating Contract Cheating – Defined Through Examples
  4. 4. 4#contractcheating
  5. 5. 5#contractcheating My Background And Credibility By trade and enthusiasm, a Computer Science educator and student experience advocate By current employment, mainly an academic manager, focused on marketing and student recruitment Joined Coventry University in May 2016 as a Principal Lecturer, previously worked at Birmingham City University for many years as a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader Other areas of academic interest including student employability, professional online presences, social media promotion, supporting software startup companies, hackathons and entrepreneurship Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Not the best at publishing traditional academic research! BBC South East Today– BBC1 Dispatches – Channel 4 Fake Britain – BBC1
  6. 6. 6#contractcheating http://www.slideshare.net/ThomasLancaster http://thomaslancaster.co.uk/blog https://www.youtube.com/user/DrThomasLancaster “Celebrating” 10 years of contract cheating research (2006 to 2016) And 16 years of plagiarism and academic integrity research (2000 to 2016)
  7. 7. 7#contractcheating Your Involvement Is Much Encouraged! Twitter Please tweet observations, comments, quotes, photos, discussion topics #contractcheating @DrLancaster Live Please join in the discussion, ask questions and contribute stories
  8. 8. 8#contractcheating Today’s Presentation A work in progress! Not an attempt to repeat the last 10 years of contract cheating research Looks at available quantitative data associated with the essay writing industry Extent of the industry Costs incurred by students looking to buy original work Advertising costs, paid/free marketing techniques and referral commissions Payment available to writers Alternative methods that individuals use to make money through the essay industry
  9. 9. 9#contractcheating A Recent UK Development – The Quality Assurance Agency
  10. 10. 10#contractcheating Three Main Recommendations • “Universities, colleges and sector organisations should work in partnership to tackle custom essay writing services” • “The possibility of legislative approaches should be investigated” • “Companies selling advertising space should reject approaches by sites selling custom essays, and search engines should limit access to these sites”
  11. 11. 11#contractcheating Times Higher Education Report “Thomas Lancaster, associate head of the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics at Coventry University and an expert on essay mills, said that the QAA report was a ‘very positive move forward’ but added that universities had an important role to play too, through course design.” Bar essay mills from advertising and search engines, says QAA By Chris Havergal August 18, 2016 https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/bar-essay-mills-advertising-and-search-engines-says-qaa
  12. 12. 12#contractcheating Mixed External Reaction
  13. 13. 13#contractcheating Does money to research contract cheating and to find solutions to this problem?
  14. 14. 14#contractcheating How Big Is The Essay Industry?
  15. 15. 15#contractcheating It Was Already Substantial In 2006 “Our turnover for 2005 was £1.6m. In one week in early May we took £90,000. One of our customers has spent £17,000 with us. My overheads are pretty low because we work from home and our writers work on commission. So I take about a third of £1.6m.” Barclay Littlewood All Answers Q: How do you make £1.6m a year and drive a Ferrari? A: Sell essays for £400 The Guardian, 29 July 2006 https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/jul/29/highereducation.education
  16. 16. 16#contractcheating Recent Figures Have Become Yet More Substantial Annual revenues above $100 million Owings, S. and Nelson, J. (2014). The essay industry. Mountain Plains Journal of Business and Economics, General Research, 15 The EssayWriter boss believes that the industry is worth £100 million a year Daily Telegraph, 29 May 2016 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/29/essay- writing-industry-booms-as-students-demand-tailor-made-cour £200 million a year business (quoted based on UK Essays figures) Dr. Thomas Lancaster on UK TV Channel 4 Dispatches http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/dispatches- investigation-reveals-extent-of-student-plagiarism Writer states that they produced more than 4000 essays between 2000 and 2010 http://www.thebestschools.org/resources/ghostwriting- business-trade-standards-practices-secrets Two writers stated $10,000 a month earning at peak times The New Cheating Economy The Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 August 2016 1.5% of invoices said to be over £5000 http://www.academicknowledge.com/becom e-a-writer
  17. 17. 17#contractcheating Contract Cheating Marketing Techniques
  18. 18. 18#contractcheating Assignment Service Marketing Funnel New Student Lead Collected By Assignment Production Service Student Buys Original Assignment Student Submits Original Assignment
  19. 19. 19#contractcheating Exploring Four Sites Found In Google
  20. 20. 20#contractcheating Paid Advertising (Google AdWords)
  21. 21. 21#contractcheating The Paid Advertising Route
  22. 22. 22#contractcheating The First 4 Paid Advertisers on Google
  23. 23. 23#contractcheating Lead Capture And Discounts
  24. 24. 24#contractcheating Live(?) Chat
  25. 25. 25#contractcheating Convincing Testimonials
  26. 26. 26#contractcheating Video Testimonials
  27. 27. 27#contractcheating Sample Pricing
  28. 28. 28#contractcheating Assignment Site Revenue And Associated Worker Pay
  29. 29. 29#contractcheating International Writers Can Be Salaried “Workers are employed on salaries of 45,000 rupees (£324) a month to work in two shifts — from 9am to 6pm, and a night shift from 6pm to 3am. Required skills include ‘excellent English writing skills in terms of language’. To mask its Pakistani origins, Nexus set up a British company called Nexuscorp Ltd with an address in a Folkestone business park.” Thousands of nurses cheat in exams The Times,19 July 2016 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/thousands-of-nurses-cheat-in-exams-zzz2kzm77
  30. 30. 30#contractcheating Essay Mill Aimed At Chinese Students In The UK Students in the UK pay essay companies £100 to £300 per thousand words The hired ghostwriters in China are paid £20 per thousand words Online essay mills targeting Chinese students http://shine-a-light-on.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/online-essay-mills-targeting- chinese.html
  31. 31. 31#contractcheating http://www.thebestschools.org/resources/ghostwriting-business- trade-standards-practices-secrets/
  32. 32. 32#contractcheating Standard Pay Scales EssayWriters.net
  33. 33. 33#contractcheating Work Available In Major Essay Mills Uvocorp Writerbay
  34. 34. 34#contractcheating Alternative Promotion Through Social Media
  35. 35. 35#contractcheating
  36. 36. 36#contractcheating A Recent Promotional Post
  37. 37. 37#contractcheating
  38. 38. 38#contractcheating
  39. 39. 39#contractcheating Recent Projects for Marklai
  40. 40. 40#contractcheating Tracking Information Available About A Well- Known Assignment Production Service
  41. 41. 41#contractcheating http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ukessays.com What Information Is Available About The Market Leader?
  42. 42. 42#contractcheating
  43. 43. 43#contractcheating There Is Demand For “Highly Paid” Writing Accounts
  44. 44. 44#contractcheating Whole online communities exist to help people to become “academic writers” This enables them to work in this field (providing contract cheating services)
  45. 45. 45#contractcheating https://www.damongo.com/Business/92/buy-registered-academic-writing-accounts
  46. 46. 46#contractcheating A Lucrative Business Venture? “Serious writers could make up to $1,000 per week while others would apply for the account and sale it at a cost of $750 - $2,000 depending on the level of the account.” http://www.mybusinesstricks.com/2013/08/uvocorp-discriminates-kenyan-writers-in.html
  47. 47. 47#contractcheating Or, You Can Set Up Your Own Business…
  48. 48. 48#contractcheating http://essaylancers.com/ Connect To Individual Writers
  49. 49. 49#contractcheating https://wordpress.org/plugins/academic-writing-ordering-system WordPress Plugin Easily Operate Your Own Essay Mill
  50. 50. 50#contractcheating What The Customer Sees What The Writers See
  51. 51. 51#contractcheating Customer Referrals Are Another Viable Business
  52. 52. 52#contractcheating Referral Options At EssayPartner Choice of $21 per order or 16%-25% per order $100 for every new affiliate who refers 10 sales
  53. 53. 53#contractcheating Russian Affiliate Programme (Writing Provided in English) Essay affiliate program: 75% of each new order, 35% of each rebill and 5% Referral commission r/affiliateprograms
  54. 54. 54#contractcheating The Available Options Create Possibilities
  55. 55. 55#contractcheating New Business Models Are Emerging In The Contract Cheating Field Services offering multiple sites aimed at difference audiences Sites taking orders, which are then plugged into an existing service to complete Sites taking orders, which are then outsourced (sub- contractors) Individual writers, who have their own contacts for when the workload gets heavy or is outside their specialism And many more…
  56. 56. 56#contractcheating The Financial Flows Can Get Complex… 1 • Affiliate bids for essay traffic on Google AdWords sent to a fake review site • Affiliate pays £3 a click 2 • Student clicks through “reviews” to essay mill sites, with 1 in 10 (10%) students making a purchase • Site pays 40% commission for the referral 3 • Student orders a 2000 word (8 pages) reflective report • Normal cost of £20 a page, site offers a 50% coupon 4 • Writers inside the site “bid” for the privilege of writing the reflective report • Winning bidder proposes £3 a page, total earnings £24 5 • Reflective report is returned to the site, checked for plagiarism, reviewed by an editor • Student receives the report and submits it for academic credit • The student receives 60% and passes the module
  57. 57. 57#contractcheating Everyone Gets Their Cut! And this is just one of many assignment site models to be considered! Student -£100 Affiliate +£10 Writer +£24 Google AdWords +£30 Essay Site +£36
  58. 58. 58#contractcheating Does an understanding of how essay sites develop and serve their market help the sector to address the £200+ million per year business in contract cheating?
  59. 59. 59#contractcheating More Resources Of Interest…
  60. 60. 60#contractcheating References For My Main Contract Cheating Publications Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2015), Contract Cheating – The Outsourcing Of Assessed Student Work, in Handbook of Academic Integrity, Bretag, T. (editor): SpringerReference. Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2015),The Implications of Plagiarism and Contract Cheating for the Assessment of Database Modules. 13th International Workshop on Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Databases (TLAD 2015), Birmingham, UK, July 2015. Hersey, C. and Lancaster, T. (2015), The Online Industry of Paper Mills, Contract Cheating Services, and Auction Sites, Clute Institute International Education Conference, London, June 2015. Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2014), An Observational Analysis Of The Range And Extent Of Contract Cheating From Online Courses Found On Agency Websites; 8th International Conference on Complex, Intelligent and Software Intensive Systems (CISIS 2014), Birmingham City University, UK, July 2014. Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2014), An Initial Analysis Of The Contextual Information Available Within Auction Posts On Contract Cheating Agency Websites, 28th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications, University of Victoria, May 2014 Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2014), Using Turnitin As A Tool For Attribution In Cases Of Contract Cheating; 3rd Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, April 2014. Clarke, R. and Lancaster, T. (2013). Commercial Aspects Of Contract Cheating; 8th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, July 2013. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2012). Dealing With Contract Cheating: A Question Of Attribution; 1st Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Imperial College, London, April 2012. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2010). Staff-Led Individualised Assessment – A Case Study; 11th Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Information and Computer Sciences, Durham University, August 2010. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2008). How to Succeed at Cheating Without Really Trying: Five Top Tips for Successful Cheating; 9th Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Information and Computer Sciences, Liverpool Hope University, August 2008. Clarke, R, and Lancaster, T (2007). Establishing a Systematic Six-Stage Process for Detecting Contract Cheating; The Second International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Applications, Birmingham City University, July 2007. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2007). Assessing Contract Cheating Through Auction Sites – A Computing Perspective; 8th Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Information and Computer Sciences, University of Southampton, August 2007. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2007) The Phenomena of Contract Cheating, in Student Plagiarism in an Online World: Problems and solutions, Roberts, T. S. (editor), Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA: Idea Group Inc. Clarke, R and Lancaster, T (2006). Eliminating The Successor To Plagiarism? Identifying The Usage Of Contract Cheating Sites; 2nd Plagiarism: Prevention, Practice and Policy Conference 2006 - Newcastle, UK, June 2006.
  61. 61. 61#contractcheating Upcoming Engagement Thursday October 13, 2016 Curtin University, Australia https://registrar.curtin.edu.au/events.cfm
  62. 62. 62#contractcheating Speaker Bookings and Further Information Dr. Thomas Lancaster Contact Details Email: thomas.lancaster@coventry.ac.uk Website: http://thomaslancaster.co.uk Blog: http://thomaslancaster.co.uk/blog LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/thomaslancaster Twitter: @DrLancaster This session’s slides are available at: http://www.slideshare.net/ThomasLancaster General Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract_cheating http://contractcheating.com Contract Cheating Special Interest Group (originally supported by the Higher Education Academy): https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi- bin/webadmin?A0=CONTRACTCHEATING

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