Honor Among Thieves


I happened to stumble (literally) across a website offering students essays for sale. Having taught at or been a teaching assistant at several universities, I know how seriously they take plagiarism: many schools will expel students caught turning in a paper not their own.

That’s why the this particular site, which claims to be among the “legitimate” essays companies, has guarantees that ring a little hollow: “Your Money Back And A Free Rewrite.” Right. You can mail in that rewrite to the degree mill you’ll be attending next. There’s dark humor about how this site touts its legitimacy and excellence, and indeed it is a slick site, with a video introduction and offers of live telephone support. There’s even a long section warning potential customers against their unscrupulous competition.

You should also be aware that some services also indulge in fraudulent activity. The main source of this problem is that some companies seem to take the attitude that their customers are cheats and that they deserve to be ripped off.

Message: we don’t rip off our cheats.

I imagine that turning in this kind of essay works only in classes where there are too few papers during the term to recognize a student’s style, or there are too many students for the professor and teaching assistants to keep up with. That’s because you would recognize a marked improvement in writing and investigate it more (plagiarism is to academia what terrorism is to airports).

Or maybe it works better than I think, as the time I caught plagiarism wasn’t even like that. The author of a paper I was grading had forgotten to remove another student’s name from the table of contents page. In another example a colleague showed me a plagiarized paper in which the student had left in the top margin the URL of his source. It makes me wonder how many smart plagiarizers actually get away with it.


  1. One paper mill gives the following justification for selling papers: “Although we support education and feel it is a priceless commodity, we also feel it cannot be attained by teacher giving the same assignments year after year that only force the student to lose sleep….Cyber Essays is here to challenge the lazy teacher into helping her students and give assignments from which the students can learn.” Bet you didn’t realize what a noble endeavor plagarism might be.

  2. Teachers probably have a variety of motives in assigning an entire class a paper, but I bet laziness is never among them.

  3. I’ve had some fun with Stumble Upon too. You never know what’s going to turn up. A fun add-on.

  4. I think only the “dolts” will fall for that. who knows, they might be taking these essays from somebody else? This is a blatant plagiarism. And, I’m like fooling myself purhasing that.

  5. Hi. I happened upon your website this morning. I have been trying unsuccessfully to find the origin of the phrase “honour among thieves” but no luck. I bet you are just the fellow to tell me and let me get some sleep.

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