This presentation from Plagiarism Across Europe And Beyond 2019 looks at how contract cheating writers and providers are using Fiverr.com to connect with students. It provides comparative data from 2016 and 2018.
Thomas Lancaster, (2018) “Profiling the international academic ghost writers who are providing low-cost essays and assignments for the contract cheating industry”, Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-04-2018-0040
Students have direct access to academic ghost writers who are able to provide for their assessment needs without the student needing to do any of the work. These ghost writers are helping to fuel the international industry of contract cheating, raising ethical dilemmas, but not much is known about the writers, their business or how they operate. This paper aims to explore how the ghost writers market their services and operate, based on observable information.
This paper reviews data from providers actively offering contract cheating services available to the public on Fiverr.com, a low-cost micro outsourcing site. The search term write essay is used to identify providers, finding 103 Gigs from 96 unique providers. Visible information, such as provider marketing, advertised services, pricing information and customer reviews, is analysed.
The results demonstrate that bespoke essays are readily available to students at a low cost. The majority of providers operate from Kenya. Revenue calculations indicate a price point of US$31.73 per 1,000 words, below the cost of traditional essay mills, but show that these 96 providers have generated around US$270,000 of essay writing business between them.
This study affords a look into a complex and established industry whose inner workings are normally kept private and for which little published information currently exists. The research adds to what is known about the extent, location and operation of the contract cheating industry.
This video blog posts looks at a method that students are using to get essays written on their behalf, often for as little as 1c per word. This technique for contract cheating uses the micro outsourcing site, Fiverr.com which has seen little coverage in the research literature.
As well as services for writing outlines, proof reading, creating programming code, solving Maths problems and the like at $5 a time, the video also shows an essay writer with 251 positive reviews from previous work. That’s at least 251 essays, assuming that not everyone leaves feedback.
There’s some very good feedback about the service and it’s interesting to see how the seller can sometimes produce multiple essays in a single day. That suggests that the quality may be lacking (and there is a suggestion in some of the feedback that there may be some plagiarism), but there are also some very high marks showing, including students with 95%.
One piece of recent feedback stood out to me, with a student noting $100 of repeat business (around 10,000 words in total across multiple essays).
This suggests that students are continuing to cheat regularly and to get away with it, especially when using dirt cheap contract cheating opportunities as is facilitated using sites such as Fiverr.com.
And that’s just one person using one seller on a single site.
There is certainly room for continued investigation of Fiverr.com and other low cost micro outsourcing sites for other instances of contract cheating.