I check my inbox each day for blog comments; they cheer me when they're there. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
But every so often, I'll get a spam comment from a company selling "research papers." I got a couple of those today, so I clicked over, hoping there was a way to do something about it. There may be, but I didn't really look long enough to figure it out because I started seeing basic grammar and punctuation errors in the ad copy. The grammar feels off in the way it does when someone who's pretty good at English as a second language sometimes writes. The basics are there, but just a bit off.
Sadly, students who are most likely to buy a paper from that site are least likely to notice the errors, I bet, or to proofread the paper they buy.
I looked at their pricing, and it seems a little out of reach for a lot of my students, so I wonder who's buying these. (Yes, my students mostly have ipods and such, but those are one-time purchases. If you're doing the research paper purchasing thing, I bet you aren't doing it just once a semester.)
The pricing gets more expensive as the time gets shorter, so for a 24 hour turn around, it's just under $25/page, but for a one week turn around, it's about $15 a page. A 5 page paper, with a week's turn around is about $75.
I'm not in denial that some of my students will plagiarize or buy papers, but I can't see them affording these prices often. (I think most of my students' plagiarism is the quick grab off the web, cut and paste without fixing the font even, with a smaller helping of "hey, my roommate has a paper on that topic from last semester!" thrown in to keep things interesting.)
Who's writing these papers? Seriously, if you think of a page taking half an hour or less with no research, then I can imagine lots of folks being willing to do it. That's $30 an hour at the worst, and if you have the university of Google, then even the "research" isn't going to be that difficult (not like you'd actually have to take out the books; you just list them). But if there were actual research involved, then even $25 a page is a poor way to make much money. Once you have to get up from your computer and actually go to a library, there's no point. So I'm guessing the papers are written somewhere with a lower wage structure than the US. That would fit with the non-SWE feel of the site. There's got to be profit in it and customers, or they wouldn't stay in business, right?