Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Essay Inc Comment

Usually when someone comments on this blog, it's a day or two after I post—except in the case of the horse trailer scam where the scammers keep trying and folks keep Googling them and sharing their experiences. So, when I received this comment the other day. . .

. . . for "Two Memoirs About Writing" that  I'd posted a year ago, I was more than a little suspicious. For one thing, I'd written about two non-fiction books, not a "novel with a passionate look to it," and—while both were lovely books—the two books were not "such lovely novels."

And a student helped the scammer commentor "write my essay for me" (and "the quality was phenomenal") "helped me gather fictonal content"—Whoa! Fictional content for an essay?! Plus the rest of the sentence makes no sense. Obviously, English is not the commentor's first language.

The link in the comment leads to Essay Inc, which is supposedly based in the UK but has an Austin TX area code. Against my better judgment (Will malware infect my computer?), I went to the essay mill's site, and took a few screen shots of part of the home page:

Note that the writing on the website is no better than what's on the comment. Who would be desperate stupid enough to buy a "plagiarism free" essay in which "the authenticity of our work is never challenged" from this company?

Just in case a student is having second thoughts, the scam "essay site" attempts to play his fears:

Apparently these scam writing services services are popular ways to separate students from their (or their parents') money. There are even warning sites about which writing services not to use, like EssayScam's list of fake "essay website reviews" sites created by fraudulent term paper companies—because students who are trying to dupe their teachers certainly don't want to get duped themselves. 

There are even sites that recommend the best writing services, like this one. After all, if you're going to cheat, you certainly don't want to deal with a service that'll cheat you. And if you deal with any of  the multitude of sites that aren't even in America, getting a refund for services not rendered will be well nigh impossible.

During my Eng 101 teaching days more than a decade ago, a few freshmen attempted to hand in essays I knew they hadn't written themselves, and it was fairly easy to Google up selected parts of their essays. Now teachers have more sophisticated ways to detect plagiarism, such as this one. But Googling worked for me. In fact, I blogged about this topic last year on "Sarah Hill Shill."

But, back in those days, there were plenty of "free" essay sites to choose from. There still are. One is eCheat, which features an example of a personal essay that begins, "Three times a week after school I go visit my dad. When I enter the hospital room where he has lain in a coma since his accident. . . ."

Is that opening line a grabber, or what? Surely no English instructor would suspect a student who loves his poor, unfortunate dad so much of cheating!

But wait, there's more. "The Importance of a Father" is also on the essay sites Write Work, Essay Edge, and Kibin. And more. Plus the exact essay was published in 2008 and again in 2013 in a self-published book, How to Write Creative Non-fiction on p. 27 (When I Googled the opening two sentences of the essay, Googlebooks coughed up that title as one of the sources.) And the author of that book got it from a website about parenting. 

I used Amazon's "Look Inside!" feature to get this screen-shot.

Given the number of times this paticular essay appears on the Intenet, if a student turns it in as his own work, it won't take a professor long to find out what a low-life cheating scumbag the student is. All it takes is a little Googling.

If a student "borrows" an essay from the 'Net, he's likely to get caught. If he tries to buy one from a "writing services" site, he's likely to lose a pile of money. Either way, he's a loser.

Sometimes honesty is, after all, the best policy.

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